Yesterday, shortly after starting our ride from home to the BMX track, Frankenbutt let me know that his 7th gear “was gone”; that he’d need a new free wheel. I asked if it was an immediate need or if we should continue to Tampa BMX and make phone calls. We agreed to continue on and only stop if we saw a bike shop en route. We stopped at Suncoast Trail bikes and they didn’t have the part so we continued.
Once we arrived at Tampa, Frankenbutt thought that Extreme Bicycles in Spring Hill might have one and that he could ask another BMX dad to pick it up on the way to the track. It turned out that Extreme did not have the part but the BMX dad, Joe, offered to pull a matching part off of one of his bikes and bring it. What a nice offer! In the meantime, we discovered that University Bicycles in Tampa had the exact part so we opted to wait until today to pick it up.
After a somewhat restless night (going from a king sized bed to a 7x7’ tent for 3 + Coco is an adjustment), we made breakfast (oatmeal), brushed our teeth and packed up. While the Beast was brushing her teeth, I was packing up the kitchen utensils and Frankenbutt was breaking down the tent and rolling sleeping bags, all within a 100’ of each other. The Beast texted me that 2 ladies had wandered into the public restroom in the park and each asked her if she needed help or food because they assumed she was homeless or a runaway upon seeing her brushing her teeth in the restroom. She assured them she was fine, just riding 3000 miles on her bike with her crazy parents. One asked if she was in a “bad situation” and the Beast replied, “well, my legs are a little tired.” I love that kid!
We set the GPS device to the address for University Bicycles and pedaled out of the park. We knew we’d have to ride a portion of Dale Mabry Highway in the morning rush but with changing the route to get the bike part, we ended up riding side by side with 4 lanes of traffic all the way to Fletcher Avenue, which didn’t have a bike lane. I’m so proud of the Beast for listening and keeping calm as cars whizzed by, some rudely shouting at us to get off the road. Considering the sidewalk is for pedestrians and was pretty broken up in sections, we did what we are supposed to do and rode as far right as possible, with the flow of traffic.
We arrived at the bike shop, got the part and got it installed ($41) and were on our way out when we ran into Chris, one of our Suncoast Trail acquaintances. We talked with him and his mom and then loaded Coco up and reset the GPS for Little Manatee River State Park. The directions took us through some poor neighborhoods in Tampa and eventually through 3 roundabouts (circles) which we negotiated rather well. Eventually, we ended up on Route 301 South where there was construction. There was no sidewalk, no bike lane, no room for us but we followed the rules of the road and stayed far right without much issue. Frankenbutt noticed a paved path on the opposite side of the road after 2 motorists made large hand motions in that direction. It was a paved sidewalk but we opted to use it since there was no room for us on the road. It worked out well and we road it to where the sidewalk ends, well past the construction zone.
Route 301 got progressively less congested as the temperature progressively rose. We pulled into Little Manatee River State Park around 3:30 and confirmed our reserved location and rode in. We didn’t expect to have to ride another 2.5 miles back to the camping area so we all moaned about that. Upon arrival at our site, we re-filled our water bottles, used the restrooms and pulled our bedrolls off the Beast’s bike. Our site doesn’t have much shade but we took over a shady section at the far corner for some R&R. My phone rang and the Editor complained to us about trying to register for her fall classes at University of Hawaii. It’s a pretty good school with a lousy registration process. She managed to get 4 of the 5 classes she wanted after tracking down the right authorities. She’s a bloodhound when it comes to getting what she wants and deserves. I like that about her!
Right now, Frankenbutt and the Beast are setting up the tent and I’ve got one load of laundry to do so that we’ll have clean clothes for our weekend at Sarasota BMX track’s Easter Classic National. We plan to have pancakes for breakfast and be on the road by nine a.m. tomorrow to ride the 30 or so miles into Sarasota. We figure we’ll arrive in time to register the Beast for her weekend racing, set up our tent and get some more R&R. This evening, we’ll plot our riding directions on the GPS and then search out SMOOTHIE KING locations that are close to or on our route. The Beast loves smoothies and we figure we deserve a treat after putting in two good days of riding.
How to track online where we are
At the moment we are at our first destination, Tampa BMX in Lake Park, Lutz, FL. We rode 30 miles (only 2970 to go!) and we are posting a midday update so that our readers can track us as we travel.
Bear in mind that I am not a techie. You may have to figure this out a little more on your end but here’s the basics:
In order to see where we are at any time during our EPIC bicycle journey, Go to https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=friendview&passive=1209600&continue=https://www.google.com/latitude/b/0&followup=https://www.google.com/latitude/b/0 and either sign in with google or create a google account (don’t worry it’s free and easy!)
Once you are signed in, follow the instructions until you get to the “stay close with your friends” window.
To begin using Latitude with friends AND to see where we are, you’ll need to share your location to get started. Remember, you can always hide your location or remove friends later from the privacy settings. Once you “ACCEPT”, you’ll automatically be taken to the Google Latitude map page with 3 tabs: “friends”, “history” and “apps”.
You should automatically be on the “Friends” tab. Once on the “friends” tab, click on “add friends” . When the “add friends” box pops up, type firstname.lastname@example.org into the “invite a friend by email address” block and then click “send invite”.
You will see a blue message that pops up confirming your invite has been sent to us. Once we review the request and agree to share our location back with you, you’ll receive an email stating that “Ride the Nation” has accepted your sharing request for Google Latitude. There will be further instructions and a link that will show you right where we are.
Visit often and remember, what takes you an hour to drive in your car, takes us about 6 hours to ride on our bikes.