Bike Florida: One bad ride

John, Stuart Larry David and I went to Bike Florida after having several friends recommend it. We won’t go back.

Give me the choice between riding flat, windy stretches and mountains, and I’ll take the mountains every time. But the season is just getting started and the idea of getting in some easily base miles under warm, sunny skies seemed appealing. So off we went.

The riding was not such a bad thing. Even when rolling along cracked pavement that looked like the victim of serious frost heaves. Even when navigating through an unending parade of recumbents, trikes, and one very cool cargo bike with a dog aboard (a Moulton Double Pylon would be the perfect status bike for this ride). Even when rolling into mile after mile after mile of headwinds. I repeat: The riding wasn’t bad. Seriously.

But then there’s Bike Florida Inc. They’ve been at this (this being organizing a ride for hundreds of cyclists) for a while, so they should be expected to have their act together. You coulda’ fooled me.

We enjoyed the riding that wasn’t such a bad thing, but we quickly tired of the lack of organization and the almost non-existent communication from organizers. Want to know where your official Bike Florida hotel is? Good luck — the staff and volunteers couldn’t help (hint to organizers: ask the hotel and they’ll gladly give you maps to hand out to riders). Need an advertised shuttle from Daytona Community College to Daytona Beach? No problem — just be one of the first people in a line of 50, so you can snag one of 14 seats in the van. Or, wait an hour for the next one. Want a shuttle from hotel to campground, where dinner was served? Hop on in the back of the pickup!

You think I’m kidding about the pickup? Not a bit.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Ultimately, it didn’t affect our little clan. We rode the planned routes, but otherwise followed our own program. That meant finding our own meals (and scuttling the mandatory meal plan), hooking up with other hotelers to for socializing (and we did meet plenty of nice folks — no complaints there), and otherwise winging it.

We could have done much of this on our own. Without paying more for this ride than we’ve paid for the far superior experience of Bike Virginia.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Leave a Comment