Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

07 August 2014

Dawn In The Sunshine State

You haven't heard from me in a couple of days. No, I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth.  I'm visiting my parents, in Florida.

So why did I pick the sultriest time of year to visit the Sunshine State?  Well, for one thing, it's the first time in months I've had enough free days in a row to make the trip one in which I don't get back on the plane after having lunch with Mom.  For another, the fares are cheap now.  And, finally, speaking of Mom:  It's her birthday today!

I've been down here enough times that I know a thing or two about "going native".  Since arriving the other day, I've gone on two rides, both of them in the morning.  In fact, yesterday I started before dawn and so was treated to this:


and this:






and a painterly scene from Painter's Hill:


Fall--to the extent they have it here--doesn't begin for another three months or so.  But the dawn in Palm Coast tinges the trees and mosses with an odd foreshadowing of it:





As the sun rose higher, those leaves and mosses turned green, like everything else hanging from those branches.

I rode down A1A--the road that wends along the Atlantic Coast--through Flagler Beach and Gamble Rogers State Park to Ormond by the Sea, where I espied an interesting bit of landscape design:





Where else but in Florida can someone get away with a color like that on the exterior of a house?  Even in the Easter Egg Victorian areas of San Francisco, I don't think I ever saw a color like that.


Then, after lounging on the sand of Ormond Beach, I started back.  I noticed that A1A Beachside Bicycles had just opened for the day, so I stopped in to say hello to owners Ron and Diane.

There's absolutely nothing made from carbon-fiber in their shop. In fact, there are only a few new bikes.  Mostly, they do repairs, restorations and re-purposing.  As an example of the latter, a '70's Schwinn LeTour was being turned into a kind of Florida cruiser.

One of the repair jobs in the shop was this tandem sold by Sears and Roebuck during the 1960's, I think:




It's like other American bikes of the period from makers like Rollfast, Murray and Columbia that were constructed of spot-welded gaspipe tubing.  But this particular tandem is interesting because it has the twin lateral tubes normally associated with French (and, sometimes, British and Japanese) "mixte" frames:





Also noteworthy are the tires, which I believe are originals:


Those of you who are a decade or more younger than I am might find it difficult to believe that bicycle tires were made in the USA by companies like Firestone and Goodyear. Of course, none of them were lightweights.  But they made those whitewalls--like the one in this photo--you see on baloon-tired bikes of the period.

I stop at Ron's and Diane's shop because they were very friendly to me when I stopped in with a flat a few years ago.  They, like many people here, are a couple of honest folks trying to make a living in a difficult economy.  They--and their dog--remember me whenever I walk in.

Today I woke up a little later and managed not to ride quite as much. But I still enjoyed the calm of the streets and the air, so I plan to take a (possibly pre-) dawn ride tomorrow.  Some would argue it's the only way to ride here at this time of year!

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