We checked for frost — didn’t see any — then looked for ice – didnt see any of that either, so before we loaded suitcases onto the baggage truck, we reopened luggage and rummaged for more clothes. Socks became gloves, neckwear became hats, multiple layers of thin tees kept the core warm with proper thinking, and anyone with a winter jacket – was looked on with envy. Welcome to Florida!
Today was day 6, and our final day of riding this segment of the East Coast Greenway. Despite the chill, it has been a marvelous ride — we got to cycle every day, we had a tailwind the entire segment of Florida, we met hundreds along the way who said ‘so cool, I’d love to do what you are doing’, we’ve stimulated the economy of dozens of local restaurants, we’ve had no rain to speak of, our conversations never got dull – and if they did we were too tired to notice – and we got be pioneers for future East Coast Greenway cyclists.
With spirits high, we weaved though light traffic along Daytona Beach. Our group stayed mostly together, one long line of riders and after miles of views of the Intracoastal waterway, we found ourselves on a busy highway and thankfully wide shoulders.
We reached mile 20 with fingers and toes numb from cold and just when the chill was demanding our full attention, a coffee shop appeared in New Smyrna-beach and we all ordered warm drinks. Many indulged in homemade pastries, and one mate defied all logic ordering ice cream.
10 more miles riding lightly traveled roads, we then picked up the East Central Regional Trail that would take us the remaining 35 miles into Titusville.
After riding far too many miles in close proximity to high speed traffic, cycling on this paved trail, far from motorized vehicles surrounded by lush palms made us all appreciate what the ECG could be when complete.
We resumed conversations once again, stopped to drop layers as the temperatures warmed to 60 degrees, and stopped to take pictures when alligators were sighted. No, we didn’t get a closeup shot, and when someone remarked that the gator seemed small, someone else suggested a mama gator might be nearby and that put us back on our saddles.
The beautiful trail ended in the Historic District of Titusville, and we celebrated the ride finale with food – at a local lunch/coffee shop that baked dozens of varieties of bread for decadent sandwiches, or lettuce wraps if bread is not your thing.
We celebrated the journey that evening at Dixieland Crossing restaurant where we learned many reasons for high fives. Our bike mate, Chris is recovering from his injuries in St. Augustine, our group of 40 cyclists raised $77k to promote more Greenways, and we will be back at this a year from now – to ride the final segment — Titusville to Key West! Cheers bike mates and see you all next year!
Be sure to read / follow fellow ECG cyclist and blogger, Sylvia.