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  • Virginia Tolles

See Florida by Bicycle



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I’m following a Christmas bicycling journey through central Florida. The travelers are a grandfather, a father, and a son. Their bicycles are low-riders called tandem recumbent bikes. I’ve never seen bikes like that before, but they do appear to be comfortable, and the travelers are able to cover quite a few miles in a single day (30-40 miles on an easy day; up towards 75-80 miles on a busy day).


Along the way, they camp in tents in parks and campgrounds. The grandfather is retired Army, and it shows in how he relies on freeze-dried and other pre-packaged food. His only fresh food, so far, has been some berries from the grocery store.


On one day, they take a break from riding and follow the hiking trails through a swamp. Part of the trail is a raised wooden footpath. Signs at either end warn hikers to be on the lookout for alligators. Throughout, palmetto and live oaks draped in Spanish moss abound. It all looks quite a bit like South Louisiana, where I grew up. In fact, that hiking trail reminds me of the “big woods,” where a friend and I created Hernando’s Hideaway using palmetto leaves and Spanish moss draped on sticks between tree trunks. Those were the days!


After four nights on the ground, the bikers give in and take a hotel room. It seems that the same cold front that caused so much misery farther north made its way down to Florida. The bikers also have faced a headwind nearly all the way, from the south before the front went through, then from the north as they turned to make their way back toward Tampa. I’m sure they were ready for a warm shower by then, too.


Follow the Kellers in several videos about their trip. Here’s a link to the first one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VDl4FaxSok


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Banner photograph by Jill Wellington / Pixabay