Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sleepless 'n Sea-Adled

Greetings from overcast Florida. You may have noticed there was no post on Sunday. That was our travel day. You may also have noticed there was no post yesterday. I’d planned on posting yesterday evening, but Mrs. Guy (MG) had work to do and needed the computer to do it. I waited patiently until midnight, reading a book a friend loaned me, but decided at around midnight that I wasn’t going to be getting online. MG ended up working until sometime between 2 and 3 am.

But there was bicycling yesterday. My parents have rented a condo for the month on Pensacola Beach. The condo is at the eastern end of town and there is no development further east for about eight miles or so through the National Seashore here on Santa Rosa Island between Pensacola Beach and Navarre. Hurricanes have done their damage in recent years (Dennis and Ivan, most notably) and the road going through toward Navarre has been closed to traffic.

Motorized vehicular traffic, that is. I got up yesterday morning and noted that the wind was coming out of the east, so that was the direction that I knew I wanted to start out. I left the condo complex and turned out into a 20 knot headwind. Only a mile or two from the condos is where the road is blocked off. I went around the gate and noticed a lot of other bicycle tire tracks through the sand. Even so, I had the whole road to myse…

Well, that isn’t really accurate. I would say I had the whole road to myself, but that would imply that there was a whole road. There was not. Large sections of the road were intact, but there were many sections that were eroded under, crumbled, or simply washed away. Along one stretch I had the rightmost two feet of pavement I could ride on.

I rode out about seven-and-a-half miles. By that time I had ported my bike across three large sections of sand and decided that was enough for one day. The return trip was dizzyingly quick, as I now had a 20 knot tailwind to assist me. Arriving back at the condos, I decided 15 miles wasn’t enough, so I continued eastward until I got to a detour (for roadwork) and headed back. That made a total of eighteen miles, but I knew I wasn’t done.

Then MG came out to play. We came to Florida with two bikes; my road bike and our tandem. MG and I now took off for a short ride on the tandem. The plan was to go five miles out to the east (the way I’d gone before) and turn around. We rode out along the partial roadway to the turning point and headed back. We’d gotten about one-and-a-half miles when MG asked “What’s that shooshing noise?”

Sure enough, we’d gotten a flat tire. The bad thing was that we had no patch kit, no spare tubes, no pump, nothing. We ended up walking the remaining three-and-a-half miles back, but we counted it as riding miles since the bike was at least with us. And it was a nice walk with the waves crashing against the beach only a few dozen yards to our left.

We did find a bike shop yesterday evening before going over to my brother’s house for dinner. I bought a new tube, a patch kit, tire levers, a CO2 inflator with two cartridges, and a saddle bag to carry them in. The lesson has been learned.


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