Sunday, July 6, 2008

Let's Take A 3-City Tour This Morning

This morning I got up and took roads that just about everyone doesn't bother with - namely Hillsborough Avenue and the Courtney Campbell Causeway as part of a 71-mile Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg trifecta ride that included a pitstop at Tropicana Field, home of the new Kings of Baseball, a team called the Rays. Sounds ridiculous, but true -- 10 years of consistent and anonymous losing by the Devil Rays has given away to an exciting Devil-free team of youngsters and veteran players who have fashioned the best record in the majors.

At 7:30AM, Hillsborough Avenue is all quiet. There are hardly any cars. Just look out for jets.

It's easy to reach the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the bridge that takes you to Clearwater. Take George Road south from Hillsborough Avenue, make a left on Memorial and follow the ramp's shoulder to newly-repaved State Road 60 in Rocky Point. On a quiet Sunday morning, there are hardly any cars and it's a piece of cake.

You're looking at State Road 60 in Rocky Point, only a half-mile or so shy of the Clearwater causeway. It's easy pedaling on an early Sunday morning.

I spent 17 of my 71 miles on the famed Pinellas Trail, picking it up in Clearwater. Heading south I passed the famous "Flip-Flop Man" who runs the Trail in flip-flops and was the subject of a documentary and a story in the St. Pete Times

While on the Trail I also caught up with this speedy recumbent bicyclist. Do you recognize him? He's one of the most promiment recumbent bicyclists in the country. None other than John Schlitter, co-founder of Bacchetta who just finished RAAM and was the first recumbent cyclist to do a solo RAAM. I hope John and Bacchetta participate in this year's Bicycle Bash by the Bay, which is set for Oct 19 from 11-4 at Vinoy Park.

You're looking at the silky, smooth surface of the extended Pinellas Trail into downtown St. Petersburg. It's a terrific two-mile spur from what used to be the end of the Pinellas Trail at Gibbs High School.

The Pinellas Trail extension into downtown St. Pete goes through this cool "tunnel" just before you come to the Tampa Bay Rays stadium.

I took the two-mile extension of the Pinellas Trail to Tropicana Field, home of the Miracles, or the Rays as they're known to MLB fans. Good to see many workers bike to work at the Trop -- it's about 10:30AM at this point, about 45 miles into the journey.

Vince Naimoli tries to sneak into the Rays stadium without anyone seeing.

It's about 10:40AM -- a full three hours before today's 1:40PM game with the Royals and fans are waiting on line to get tickets. Incredible.

Amazing -- an hour before the doors open to the big flying saucer and there are fans waiting to get through the gate.

For me, this much pretty sums up the Tampa Bay area. Here are my favorite Rays fans -- a threesome ready to start grilling brats with the beers already busted out before 11AM.

Hey, who's this guy?

After chatting with Rays fans some three hours before the 1:40PM start, I hopped back on the new bike trail that is the extension of the Pinellas Trail into downtown St. Petersburg. It's terrific -- what is this? the Netherlands, or something?

I was in old Northeast and heading back to Tampa when I biked north on Forth Street to see the new Revolution Bicycles store. Bill Addler, owner of SWFBUD member store Revolution Bicycles, has moved his store across the street to 4th Street North and 30th Ave. It's a terrific looking store and I suggest you check it out.

Bill Addler striped a bike lane through his parking lot and I guess this lady thought it was a real actual bike lane. In this area, if you see a bike lane -- even one striped by a bike shop owner through his store parking lot -- you take what you can get.

1 comment:

Sharon Simms said...

Glad you're enjoying - and promoting through writing about it - the new extension into downtown St. Pete. I think it really adds to the wonderful lifestyle.