Ann & John are going to be doing BikeFlorida at the end of the month and so after originally only planning on riding out with me for a couple of miles, I persuaded them that riding further was a good idea. A quick bit of research on the bus timetable showed that they could ride up with me to Titusville and then throw their bikes on a bus to get home. When they were talking the idea over, there was definitely some initial doubt, but they really seemed to jump on with the adventure side of things. They had friends and family in the area and knew that even in the worst case, they’d somehow find a way home.
It’s such a helpful attitude to have if you want to get out and face a challenge in life be it on the bike or not. People seem to so often base their decisions on the worst possible outcomes, no matter how unrealistic they are. The way I see it, if people were to plan their lives based on winning the lottery others might think of them as strange, but those same people seem to have no problem assuming that the worst will happen every step of the way. That leads to them not being willing to get out and take those small calculated risks that can lead to the moments that we all hope for.
Ann lead us away from the house taking us through back streets and on little paths that I’d never have known about. She pointed out houses and other historical points of interest as we made our way out of her neighbourhood. Our goal was to get over to US-1 that heads up the Intracoastal, and while we rode along Ann was giving detailed instructions about where we would be going and it was a good while since I’ve followed in that way.
There were a couple of moments where she planned for us to ride on the pavement/sidewalk instead of on the busy roads, but I said we should try it out. To their credit, they were both willing. I’d lent Ann the spare mirror that I now carry and was hoping it would let her realise how most drivers really do treat you well. There was one stretch where we were on a fairly busy part of US-1 for a few blocks. Ann was up front, then it was me and John at the back. There were two lanes in each direction and while we rode, I kept looking in my mirror and noticed 7 cars that were in our lane. I was happy to see them all move over to give us the whole lane and I think that small experiences like that help you get that confidence you need to ride on busier roads.
There have been a few times when I’ve not necessarily followed every rule of the road as closely as I could, but generally I find that if you follow the rules of the road on your bike then things are much better. Some riders believe that you should zigzag while you ride to make yourself more noticeable to drivers which I think is just wrong. You could probably argue that that lack of predictability helps in one-off incidents, but it leads to drivers being unsure and also helps foster a generate a negative view of cyclists which leads to much longer term problems.
The highlight of the ride was going along Indian River Road which runs parallel to US-1 for about 15-20 miles. It let us get off the shoulder of US-1 and then I could ride next to either Ann or John and talk. Even though we slowed down, the miles seemed to go faster. We stopped for lunch outside a library, around the half way point, where I shared my tortillas & peanut butter to go with the chocolate that Ann had picked up.
A couple of hours later, we made it to Titusville and stopped at Caffe Chocolatt for a coffee and food. Ann & John were both happy to have accomplished what they set out to do and we’d done it in plenty of time that they weren’t rushing to get to the last bus. We parted ways and I did the last 20 miles with my iPod on to get to Oak Hill to meet Nancy & Roger, my hosts for the evening, and pick up my replacement Kindle.
They had hosted on Warmshowers for a while, but I was their first international visitor and so they were excited. They mentioned that apparently lots of people go straight to Kim in Port Orange, so were happy that I’d chosen to stay with them. I could really tell and they were so warm. They mentioned how previously someone had been meaning to stay with them but then found out that they are around 70 and stopped communicating. Having met some fantastic people of all ages, I was shocked and a little saddened to hear that people have that mentality.
Arriving in Titusville