You never know about long-distance bicycle rides of 100 miles or more because rides always take you -- not the other way around.
What I mean is that today I rode 100.1 miles and visited 13 Dunkin' Donuts stores in the metro Tampa Bay area to celebrate bicycling and the Rays' unlikely playoff clinching while also having some fun with Dunkin's delicious Rays promotion that allows anyone to get a free donut the day after a Rays win at a Dunkin' store in the Tampa area.
Back in June whe the Rays' winning ways were seen as novel and unexpected, I vowed that if the Rays clinched a playoff spot, I would bike 100 miles the very next day following the clinching and hit as many Dunkin' Donuts stores along the way.
Well, that day was today and I made good on my promise. I started at 5:45 a.m. and hit about five stores when Toby Srebnik, Dunkin' all-pro public relations whiz, flew to Tampa from south Florida this morning and caught up with me at Dunkin' store No. 5 on the great Rays Victory Donut bicycle ride.
All in all, it was a wonderful day. It was great hanging out with Toby at the stores, cycling 100 miles with very good weather conditions and hitting 13 stores along the route. I met a slew of very fascinating people as I handed out cards for free Dunkin' Donut coffee, donuts and flatbread sandwiches.
The truth is that I ate only a couple of donuts during the day and ended up handing out the free Rays victory donuts to people who needed them a lot more then me -- the homeless guy at the end of the Dale Mabry Highway ramp that leads onto Hillsborough Avenue who appreciated a pair of chocolate donuts; the newspaper hawker in new Tampa on Bruce B. Downs who gladly accepted a coconut donut; and the homeless woman at the Gandy Avenue store who sported a smile when I gave her free coffee and sandwich coupons.
Toby saw a homeless guy with an Ohio State ballcap at the Fowler Avenue Dunkin' Donuts store -- the same exact he saw a few months ago when he visited the same store. He, too, handed out the free food and drink cards to the guy.
Fox Channel 13 and CBS Channel 10 came out for coverage and I tried to explain that combining bicycling and baseball and donuts can be a good time.
This is one of my most favorite photos. At this store, three Dunkin' employees posed with Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir. As you can see, Kaz is looking a bit stiff.
The look on this fella's face tells you what it likes to work the early morning shift on a Sunday. It's 6 a.m.
I don't what to say except this photo says, "Tampa," on Busch Blvd. at 6:20 a.m.
A Rays moment -- at a Dunkin' Donuts on Busch Blvd. around 6:45 a.m., I met this Rays fan who was wearing Rays blue, not Bucs red, on a Bucs football Sunday.
At the Dunkin' Donuts in new Tampa, I met this pair of future rappers who wanted to pose next to my wheels.
This newspaper hawker enjoyed his free donut and used his St. Petersburg Times as a burkha.
Eyeing the donut goods.
Toby handed out free Dunkin' Donuts towels to these three lovelies.
A newspaper hawker with his mode of transportation.
More happy customers.
100.1 miles later -- Rays stadium.