A few weeks ago I met with my young friend Josh to wish him luck on his AT adventure. He was off the next day for his first time working on an ATC trail crew. As I headed to my car, I noticed a fellow about to ride off on an unusual-looking Cannondale bicycle. With fenders and a rear rack on it, I was certain that he must be a touring rider.
Before he could ride off, I asked if he was indeed riding a Cannondale bike. Bill was just returning from a 40-plus mile solo ride, and was happy to meet another touring enthusiast. We swapped stories, realizing that we had been on many of the same Bicycle Safari trips. I told him that I was new to the area, and was trying to learn where all the trails were.
We compared riding styles and notes. I wasn’t sure if he would mind riding with a recumbent trike rider that at only travels at ten to twelve miles an hour. “I’m out enjoying the ride, not seeing how fast I can go,” Bill said, so “your slow speed doesn’t matter.”
He told that he had always wanted to ride to Key West. “When do you want to leave?” I said. He smiled at first, and then realized that I had responded so quickly that I wasn’t kidding and that I would really do it. After I gave him my business cards, he rode south and I headed home. A couple of days later, after visiting this website, he sent me an e-mail. A week later we were on our first ride together.
Sandy was off at a conference, so I decided to load my trike in her Jeep. Unlike in my little Honda Civic, carrying the trike wouldn’t require the wheels to be removed, or to be folded to fit into the trunk. I could then leave it in the Jeep and avoid carrying back up the two flights of steps for a while. The Jeep could become my trike garage on wheels.
With the bike loaded, I shut our front door, realizing just as it locked that the key on Sandy’s Jeep key ring was missing. With her and the spare key in NJ, it wasn’t a good way to start the day. But the trike was loaded and I had everything I need for a ride. So off I went.
Driving to meet Bill at the trailhead, the Jeep’s power steering screamed at me as I turned onto the road to the trail. Here I was locked out of the house, driving a vehicle that wasn’t mine, and now it was acting up. My day didn’t seem to be improving.
There was only one thing to do: go out and enjoy a ride!
We started at the southernmost trailhead for the Spring to Spring Trail off 17/92 and rode a nice path to Debary Hall. We walked around, looking over the grounds and the antique carriages on display inside.
Back to the bike and trike, I asked where were the trail went from here. Bill said that this was as far north as the trail currently goes. Further north there are additional paved trails, but the connectors aren’t in place yet.
He said that he wasn’t sure how far I’d want to ride. My e-mail said something about a ‘short ride’. So here was a nice out and back seven mile trail. A ‘short ride’.
We agreed that I could probably go a bit further. After returning to the trailhead, we took the Jeep home and picked up a spare house key from a friend. Thank you, GK, for being there! Then it was off to ride another trail.
Starting at the Markham trailhead of the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, we took a short detour to its the northern terminus. Beginning from there, I would have a complete GPS track of the trail. We hadn’t ridden far until we were met by “trail closed” signs and large orange cones blocking the path. Heavy equipment was removing the old asphalt path! We couldn’t imagine why, since it wasn’t in bad shape at all. Forced off the bike path and onto Markham Roadd we rode parallel to the closed section. Since it has no bike lane, we rejoined the bike path at our first opportunity.
Riding past the McDonalds – the one right on the Florida Trail, and one where I had met Bill – we crossed the busy intersection at SR 46A and International Parkway. When we reached the junction of the Cross Seminole Trail and the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, we continued south. I was now on a trail new to me.
A left at this intersection would have led us over the I-4 overpass on the Cross Seminole Trail across Seminole County to Fort Christmas Road. The Florida Trail and and the bike path share that route from here to downtown Oviedo. I walked this section of the trail earlier in the year. I will cover it again on the trike at a later date, taking better notes and lots more pictures.
As we continued south on the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, we rode through the Lake Mary Boulevard underpass and past the Shops of Oakmonte. A quick left out of Heathrow, and the landscape shifted from urban and commercial to trees, pastures and cows.
Before long we came to “Paint the Trail,” an art gallery in the outdoors. Along both sides of the trail the neighborhood fences have become canvases for some very talented artists, with dozens and dozens of painted panels.
I’ll share more just about just the art later. I want to go back and spend more time taking them all in. I only wish that I had thought to video them as I rode by! Next time! I’m still learning the best way to share these experiences with you.
After the second tunnel at SR 434, it was back to a ride under the shade of the oaks. It’s hard to believe it, but you are riding south, parallel to I-4, on a beautiful windy, wooded path.
Arriving at the San Sebastian trailhead in Altamonte Springs, we took a short break and rode to the trailhead entrance on SR 436 for a photo.
Then it was back north. Through the tunnels, past the artwork and the cows. We stopped at Peach Valley Cafe for a late lunch, just a few steps from the bike path. Our lunch sure hit the spot along with our fill of tea and coffee. We continued on back to the Markham trailhead and the end of a great day of riding.
It’s amazing what a day of riding can do. I was over locking myself out of the house, and past the car problems. Fresh air and good company can do that.
With our first seven miles visiting Debary Hall, and the twenty-eight mile round trip on the Seminole-Wekiva Trail. We clocked in a good thirty-five miles. It was a ‘short ride’ for Bill, but one of my longest on the trike so far.
Thanks to my new friend Bill for showing me the way!