Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering The Men And Women Who Paid the Ultimate Price

As I bicycled 100 miles to remember our nation's war dead, I flipped through my memory files and thought about that high school paper I did on the Gulf of Tonkin skirmish in southeast Asia that our nation's president and Congress used to justify entering the war in Vietnam.

I remember driving to eight flag planting ceremonies in tiny little villages in my home county of Rockland County outside New York City when I worked for the Journal-News in Rockland.

I also rolled back in time and thought about the story I did for the Middletown Times Herald-Record on a former West Pointer who was killed in "Operation Desert Shield" some 25 years ago.

And I think about the wounded warriors with arms and legs blown off but with enough guts and drive to pedal crafted bicycles, trikes and quads up hills and off road.

It was a brutally hot day out there on A1A as I biked from Vero Beach up to Melbourne and the last of the three bridges -- the Pineda bridge.

I checked the Eau Gallie arts district. It was quiet except for Jaws.

Saw the Foosaner museum in Eau Gallie too.

At Mile 78, I stopped atop the Sebastian Inlet bridge.

I took my time going home. Had no choice when it's 98 degrees out there.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Remembering Our Fallen Bicyclists

Back in the day when I lived in Tampa and motorists were killing bicyclists on a monthly basis, I was helping stage memorial bike rides and install ghost bikes way too often about five years ago.

It reached a point where we were cycling in memory of so many bicyclists that the official Ride of Silence event in Tampa -- held worldwide to remember bicyclists killed on our roads -- seemed like another memorial ride.

In Las Vegas, I joined a Ride of Silence and several other memorial bike rides to remember bicyclists killed on the road such as Matthew Hunt.

Now that I am in Vero Beach, I came away impressed with the bicycle mojo and spirit in this town this morning when 35 bicyclists joined to pedal a Ride of Silence to remember several bicyclists killed locally. The local bike club, Vero Cycling, is an active club for a city of this size and I enjoyed meeting the club's president, Sharon LaPoint, and great members like Tad Diesel and Malcolm Allen, who owns a local bike shop that is active with the club.

I liked the variety of bicyclists, who ranged from serious roadies to runners who hopped on their Huffys to pedal to remember bicyclists killed in Vero Beach.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Let's Visit Jack Island State Preserve

I love bicycling the Pugsley fattie in the Jack Island State Preserve, a spit of land in the Intracoastal a mile north of the Fort Pierce Inlet.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pedaling The Day Off To A Good Start

Some people need coffee to get started in the morning.

I need at least two hours of pedaling along the Atlantic Ocean, either north or south of Vero Beach.

It usually begins with cresting the Barber State Road 60 bridge spanning the Indian River/Intracoastal.

On Wednesday, I snuck in a 32-miler to Fort Pierce and back before the rains struck and washed away the rest of the day in Vero.

But the stormy weather led to stunning dry and cool conditions Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, I pedaled my 1993 Cannondale R300 road bike to the One Stop Shop in Wabasso for the unbelievable-delicious fish tacos (made from flounder) in the Mexican hole-in-the-wall restaurant inside the store.

It was fun to talk with Mark the owner again and meet this character, who JOKED with me that I shouldn't put the photo on the Facebook because the police will find him and put him in jail.

On Friday, with winds out of the north, it was back to pedaling north on A1A to get the headwinds done on the first half of the ride.

So, Bevin the owner of the Bicycle Sport shop in Vero told me the legend of an older fella who rides up and down A1A on a Trek hybrid bike while pedaling without a helmet. The kicker is that Bevin said this gentleman is the father-in-law of Trek CEO John Burke.

And lo and behold there he was this morning -- but the fella who said his name was Hans said his son is the brother-in-law of John Burke. Which kinda sounds like he's John Burke's father-in-law, but at least I found the guy pedaling his heart off along A1A.

Today, I also caught up with this threesome. It appeared the third rider was a trainer coaching the man and woman ahead of her.

She was super nice and invited me to tag along. "We're doing an endurance pace of 110-120)."

I'm thinking, "I'm doing a bike ride of pedaling my ass off for two hours."

The threesome was nice enough to allow me follow them for about five miles before I peeled off.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Racking It Up At T-Mobile Arena In Las Vegas

I'm glad Rick Arpin, his colleagues at MGM Resorts International and the folks at AEG included bicycle racks at the new T-Mobile Arena on the Strip. (MGM and AEG partnered on building the impressive new arena on the Strip between New York-New York and Monte Carlo).

As the stadium/arena reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, I used to politely remind Rick -- MGM's arena pointman -- about the fact that people can bike to the arena and avoid the traffic jams before events.

But never saw this coming. Thank you Howard Stutz (the R-J's very talented former gaming writer) for posting this photo on Twitter and tagging me.

And thank you talented photographer Sam Moris, who has worked for both the Las Vegas Sun and Review-Journal, for posting this photo on Facebook,

OK, Las Vegas, please bike so much to the arena and use the bike racks that the arena has to install even more bike racks!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Stray From Pavement And Experience A New World In Florida

After a century road day from Vero Beach to Stuart and back on Saturday, I took the Pugsley on some off road trails on Sunday.

The Jungle Trail is actually an old hard-packed dirt/sand road used by the citrus industry to transport oranges and grapefruits to docks along the Indian River/Intracoastal. About 10 miles north of Vero, there's the country's first wildlife refuge called Pelican Island and it was near there where I strayed off Jungle Trail and followed an informal trail heading on the A1A direction.


There were some open fields surrounded by trees.

I found my way back to Jungle Trail and hit Wabasso Road and the beach before reversing course and heading back to the car.