Mile 592 Spirit of America Ride for Hydrocephalus Day 10 Recap
We are convinced Florida does not want us to leave. Our Mark and Mary Bike Ride has been taking some interesting twists. After a long and very noisy ride through Pensacola yesterday, our stay out Day’s Inn had us refreshed and ready to go this morning. Mary’s bike wasn’t ready though as her bike greeted us with a flat back bike tire . I take the tire off, patch it, put it back on, and pump it up. No dice; still flat. I take the tire back off. I am thinking the hole might be around the ribbed area of the stem. I pull out our spare tube, put the tire back on, pump it up and we should be set to go. Still not right so I take the tire back off and repeat the process.
Finally we are ready to strike out on our bike ride. But 500 yards down the road, Mary says the tire doesn’t feel right. We pull into the Harley Davidson shop which has an awning so I can do the procedure one more time. We had found and packed a folding tire from our local Trek shop in Tampa before we left, so I pull it out and change out the tire. In hindsight, I realize we should have spent the extra money for a Gatorskin folding tire. They are more expensive of course but this is flat number three in 10 days and we have not even hit rough terrain yet!
After five tries, we are ready to roll! We needed to find another bike shop quickly to replace our backup tire. The first bike shop, Cycle Sports of Pensacola did not have folding tires. My phone GPS told us a Trek dealer, Bikes Plus was just a couple miles down the road, perfect! When we got there, they no longer we a Trek dealer and no, they did not have any folding tires. Not good. So while I was scanning the back wall to see if I could find another solution, there on a peg it hung! One lonely, left-over folding tire. What luck! We grabbed it, along with a couple of Mr. Tuffy bike tire linings. Mr. Tuffy are bike tire linings that when placed between tire and tube, help eliminate flat tires.
I had thought I had done a lot of research prior to our leaving Tampa but we are learning much more "bike ride need to know" as we go! Today’s lesson has been to invest in Gatorskin tires and pack some Mr. Tuffy. We do not have the Gatorskins yet but we are thinking we may need to invest the money before we hit Texas sandspurs. They can puncture a tire just as well as any nail.
Our new biking friends gave us some great advice on using alternate roads through the rest of Pensacola to avoid most of the traffic. This route took us past the Pensacola Naval base and home of the Blue Angels. It was a quiet ride with wide shoulders on which to ride.
The bridges were another story. We have crossed several the past couple of days. For the most part they are a steep ascent and long. The descents were pretty cool though. I am so glad we had Celsius with us. At one point we were just running out of steam. We took a break, downed a Celsius and then we were good to go. I don’t want to preach, but man, if you have not tried it yet, you got to give it a shot. Drinking this fitness drink has become one of our smartest must haves for the road. Ummm, right behind spare tubes and folding tires.
If you live in the Pensacola or Perdido Bay area, watch out for an older blond driving a new red mustang. She is not very nice. In fact, she is the first not so nice person we have come across. We were riding in the bike lane across one of the bridges and she shouted rather nastily, “Get off the road”…twice. I will not print my retort. But if you run across her, tell her to try breathing deep and take up yoga or something to help her chill out.
It is official. The Mark and Mary Bike Ride is in Alabama. Just as we were ready to cross the line, some fellow bikers stopped and offered to take our picture.
We stopped at Sea and Sud's to down our first Alabama-style Cajun cuisine. they claim to be the only beach front dining in Alabama. We were either extra hungry or it was simply extra good. Either way, it was delicious and the view was of course, spectacular.
We just set up our tent in Gulf Shores State Park. Florida State Park and Recreation, you could learn a lot from Alabama. Don’t get me wrong, the State Parks we stayed in Florida were beautiful but the showers at Gulf State are not only immaculate…they are air conditioned. Man did that shower feel good after a long day of bike riding.
Best news is we had no more bike tire problems after this morning's little twist!