I usually ride early mornings on the Brevard Coast to Coast Trail during the week. I see very very few other riders.
I’ve stopped at the Mims United Methodist Church several times along my rides. One time, I chatted with Cathy, a volunteer who has been working to turn the church into a true cycling destination along the C2C.
She and the other volunteers are doing a great job. They’ve created a covered picnic area for cyclists to stop and take a break, complete with a cooler full of cold water.
There is even parking for your vehicle, with a portable toilet nearby.
The church sponsors a breakfast for cyclists nearly every Saturday morning. I’d seen the signs set out along the trail, but being a weekday rider, never had a chance to find out what it was all about.
Until a few weeks ago. That Saturday morning was clear and we had no other plans for the day. I decided to head north to Mims to catch breakfast along the C2C as a part of a much longer ride.
Living in this area for a long time – my entire career at Kennedy Space Center – I know the back roads well. To get to the C2C from our home, I use neighborhood streets, back roads, and sidewalks. I can connect with the bike path near Chain of Lakes Park. From there, it’s a quick and easy ride to Mims.
It was time to try breakfast at the little oasis that Mims United Methodist Church had set up. When I arrived, there was a small crowd.
I looked over all the goodies they had to offer: cookies, cakes, donuts, cereal, and lots of other snacky stuff.
From the grill, I heard “how would you like your eggs?”
Teresa was cooking away, making bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes and French toast. Cathy was helping, too.
“Two eggs however you cook them and a couple pieces of bacon,” I said.
It wasn’t long before a hot breakfast was sitting in front of me. I dropped a donation in the kitty.
After a good breakfast – which included making some new cycling friends – I topped off my water bottles and headed for the Brevard / Volusia County line.
What’s nice about this ride on the C2C is that from the church in Mims, it’s a straight shot up the bike path. There are only a few road crossings.
I was happy to see the trailhead at Aurantia nearly full of vehicles. North of it, there’s no need to worry about road crossings at all.
Being the weekend, there were lots of people out enjoying the trail. I saw single riders like myself, couples, and a couple of pretty good-sized groups out on a club ride.
A few miles from the county line, a young fellow riding south had a blowout about twenty feet in front of me. His narrow front tire had went over a couple of small rocks in the trail and I could hear the pop.
I stopped to make sure that he had everything that he needed to fix his flat before continuing on. Within a mile or so to my planned turnaround point, I spotted two people, one off the trail with the front wheel off his bike.
The other fellow was Pat, who I had met and ate breakfast with at the church. Pat was waving for me to stop. The fellow with the flat tire had a problem.
After he replaced the punctured tube, he was having a difficult time getting air into the tube and wanted to try a different pump. It turned out his pump was fine. But his spare tire had a small hole right at the valve stem, a location that can’t be repaired.
Pat rode up to Maytown to Vergie’s to check on a stash of tubes that people have left at her rest stop. I turned around and began the second half of my ride, another twenty-plus miles home.
I hadn’t got far when I came across the young man who had the first blowout I saw. He was having tube troubles as well. The valve of his spare tube had broken and made it unusable.
He’d also used up his CO2 container on the broken valve. I suggested that he use the good valve from the old tube in the new tube. “Why didn’t I think of that?” he said.
Patch complete. Fortunately a couple of other riders stopped to see if they could help. They had a few spare CO2 canisters, so I continued on my way.
Not far from the Aurantia trailhead, the young man zipped by, thanking me for the help. His wife was there to meet him at the trailhead, which she did as I rode by.
On such a long ride, I had plenty of time to think about today’s events. I carry two spare tubes and a pump, but I wasn’t able to help either of the broken-down riders today.
Why? I ride a mountain bike. My tubes are much too large to fit on most road or hybrid bikes. And my pump is designed to fit a different valve stem than most of today’s road bikes use.
This Saturday ride was a good reminder that all cyclists should check your spare tubes, patch kits and your CO2 device or pump before you leave home.
If you’ve been lucky, they’ve been in your bike bag for a long time and you haven’t needed them. But that means they might have leaked or rotted. Before you ride, it’s worth checking to see if they need to be replaced.
Another tip. Be adaptable. On my bikes with Presta fittings, I have a small adapter on one wheel which will allow me to use either an standard or Presta pump for inflation.
The adapter costs less than a dollar. Keeping it on a wheel means I won’t lose it. Having it means that if my pump won’t work, I can still borrow a pump from anyone if I need to patch and fill either tire, or even use an air pump at a gas station.