I’m in Naples, FL this weekend, and my hotel offers free bike usage, so I took advantage of this chance to ride in great weather.
Right off the bat, I owe Naples an apology. Last year, I ranted about the apparent lack of cycling resources and the general bike unfriendliness based on my view of two blocks of US41, the main drag. While it is true the area around some of the fancy resorts I was visiting is very car centric, I saw a different side of the city this morning. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
In exchange for my room key, I was given the lock combination for bike #5 – one of several identical cruiser bikes found on the bike rack in the parking garage. These yellow beasts had extra wide street tires covered with monster fenders, and are steered using long, curving handlebars. The rider is perched on a wide, springy seat that is adjustable to suit most.
My route took me south on US41 only for a short distance, and a right turn landed me on a quiet residential street with a bike land on each side. In fact, almost all the streets I used have bike lanes, and they were not neglected. First, I saw some seniors on hybrids, followed by a few lone road riders. Then, a bigger group, and another. One easily had 30 riders in a dual pace line.
I asked one group if I had stumbled into an organized ride, and a lady answered “Every Sunday is ride day”.
One thing about the great Florida weather. With temps in the low 60s, humidity at 100%, and no wind, I was riding through some thick fog. Even though it wasn’t raining, I was soaked.
I only had about an hour for the ride, so I just shot to the “old town” area of Naples. I was expecting a quaint area with antique shops and a mom and pop coffee place. Instead, I saw mostly newer buildings housing upscale shops. After a quick look around, I headed back north.
The desk clerk had told me that the only place for a decent, reasonably priced breakfast was Perkins. So, I headed that way. Along one street, I found a coconut in the road, so I picked it up and threw it in the basket. Perkins served a great meal – just like the Perkins back home.
During the ride back, I started to notice that I was fighting the extremely upright position that this bike required. I was wishing that I could move the handlebars forward about 3 inches.
I had a great time on the ride, and I hope that my next trip includes some great streets like those I found in Naples.
Miles Ridden: TBD