I’m not much of a social media poster, so unless you talk to me, you probably don’t known that I have been training and gearing up to complete my circumnavigation of the US on a bicycle, by cycling up the Atlantic Coast from Key West to Canada.
My training partner, Lisa Stapley, and I rode the Tour de Tucson late last year and have been pushing ourselves longer and harder than we used to.
My favorite mechanic and friend Jay Stewart has worked his magic on my bike and replaced tires, chains, my cassette and who knows what else. He’s the pro. I just trust him.
I’m doing this ride a little differently than my past rides. The majority of the ride will be with a team of cyclists from Bike the US for MS, a non profit that raises funds for MS research, treatment and home modifications for patients. My Aunt Betty died of MS a few years ago, so my ride is dedicated to her. (Hint, Hint: Feel free to support me in this effort by clicking the donate link at the bottom of this page.)
So back to the ride. Starting April 20th, I’ll be riding from St Augustine, Florida to Bar Harbor, Maine with that team of MS fund raisers, but my goal is a little bigger than theirs. I will be riding the entire coast, including the additional distance from Key West to St Augustine and Bar Harbor to Canada on my own—another 900 miles.
The wind in the Florida Keys comes out of the East, so I’m doing that section of the route backwards, starting in Miami, then shuttling my bike back to Miami to begin riding northbound toward St. Augustine, where I’ll meet up with the MS team. After we arrive Bar Harbor, on May 26th, hopefully, one or more of that team will join me for the 1-2 day 103 mile ride to Canada.
This morning and afternoon were a flurry of activity, making final preparations for my flight. I packed my bike into a huge electric bike box and somehow thought I wouldn’t have to remove any wheels, fenders or racks, but I was wrong on all counts. Assembly will now be a bit more challenging than I was hoping it would be.
And I had to do my all important gear lay down, right? Why is there so much more gear? Well, I am anticipating more cold and wet weather on this trip than I’ve encountered on past tours. And there will be stops to do service projects for MS patients, so I am bringing more off bike clothes than I ever have in the past. Oh, and this year, I have braces, so I have a rechargeable water flosser to attempt to keep my teeth clean.
While I was fiddling around with all my gear and clothes, the time was ticking away, and that’s when a true angel arrived at my house. I had asked my friend Heather Johnson to print some little signs for my panniers and a laniard I plan to wear on her color printer, but Heather’s an overachiever. She didn’t just print them, she also delivered them. And when she arrived and saw the state of my preparation, she dug in and helped me out BIG TIME! Thank you so much for all your help, Heather! I would have missed my flight without you!
I had about 5 minutes left for a shower, after Heather left, so no shower. My ex husband Jerry was now here to take me, my 49.5 lb. box of panniers and my 49.5 lb. box of bike to the airport. I just barely had time to change my clothes and wash my face, then we were on our way to the airport, where I boarded a plane for Miami, Florida—a red eye special.
After I land, at 5:45 AM tomorrow, I’ll be assembling my bike in the airport, hopping on a people mover to take me to the rental car center, and meeting up with my good friend Ed Craft, who I cycled with on both my Northern and Southern Tier tours. Ed’s joining in for just the three day ride to Key West, which will be three solid days of cycling and camping in the rain—something we are both a little nervous about. The silver lining? It looks like we’ll have three days of tailwind! Wish us luck!