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Sunday 17 July 2011

Day 69 - BPTSIIASOBS Award

Todays mileage: 72
Total mileage: 3,590
End point: Starke, FL

I will admit I was quite concerned by these spiders which were lurking around my picnic area down by the river. I'm normally quite happy with spiders, but this one with its scary colours, claw like arms and skull like face didn't look altogether safe. I battered at least two to death, but there were more. I'd be interested in knowing more about it, anyone know what it is? Is it poisonous??!

Spiders bad news, good news is that this campground actually had a little cafe less than a minute from my tent and so I was able to avoid pop tarts this morning and had the mighty sandwich pictured above. Probably as many calories as a mcdonalds breakfast but maybe a few less additives. Out of the campground and a couple of miles back on myself till I reached highway 27 again to Branford.

I felt a little guilty as I refuelled in Branford; a rather large lady bounded towards me and asked me how far I was riding after proudly announcing that she had just done 6 miles. If this was a poker game she went in with jack high and I had the royal straight flush, fortunately it wasn't and I offered some words of support, good for her getting out there. She seemed rather concerned about dogs and I offered her my tactics of ignore, water, foot, mase, murder... no I left out the murder bit, she had no need to know of my dog murder fantasies many moons ago. I also got chatting to a couple of harley riders out for a Sunday cruise. I was wondering about their lack of helmets and they were telling me florida has changed it laws so you can now pay an extra insurance premium not to were a helmet. Not sure about that one, but I'm sure they were safer than crotch rocket riders,  although they claimed they weren't much slower.

Today has been a bit of a drag. I was looking forward to a shorter mileage but unfotunately I got NOK'ed. NOK is my codeword for heavy winds = Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas. Recently I have been able to get into a flow of about 15mph which averages outs to about 14 mph with stops, turns..etc. Today I was barely pushing 11mph, and for those of you who have been concerned with the state of my bottom, well today it was time for some ibuprofen gel which I have been keeping in reserve.

From Branford I headed to Fort White and then to Lake Butler, from this ride I have a suprise announcement regarding the BPTSIIASOBS award (Brian Peers Transamerica State Investment In and Support of Bicyling Special Award). Myself, the New York Times and USA today all expected that such an award would go to either Oregon or Washington with potential outside bets on Idaho or Wyoming. Bookmakers have refused to accept any more bets after potential inside dealing. Well I am happy to announce that this century's award goes to Florida - no one saw that coming not even a Gator's fan. A last minute 3-point from the halfway line on the buzzer - boom! The award is formally going to Jeb Bush as he never got in the Whitehouse, and I think even Republicans would agree we have had enough Bushes. So how did Florida win this award, well for most of todays roads I have had bike paths wide strips of tarmac running parallel to the road with very little traffic and a smooth surface. I didn't even notice it to start off with! What was more impressive was that the second bike path was next to a pretty old county road.

The roads without seperate bike paths are also now mandated to have bike lanes at least 3 foot wide where possible and at most junctions there are signs saying these are bike lanes with priority. Floridian drivers have also been pretty good, even if they don't think they are. What's more intresting is the big hoohaa around bike lanes. Florida also passed a law saying you must ride in a bike lane if its available, this pissed off a lot off serious road bikers who argue that cycle lanes actually make things less safe because you aren't being treated as a proper vehicle. The debates are long and statistics are thrown around on eitherside, from my point of view things are less stressful in the bike lane, it maybe false psychology but I just feel a bit safer and out of the way. I think the reason is that the think I must scared of is an angry motorist, and a motorist is less likely to be angy if you are in a bike lane ;)

One thing I wanted to mention was a $1 bill I picked up with stamped on it. This is a project to track the movement of $1 bills for educational purposes, sadly I'm the first person to register my $1 bill since it was stamped. I'm going to spend it in Kentucky and I'll get an email if anyone else registers the movement of my bill. Don't worry there won't be a blog tracking its movements!!

So I finally got to the town of Starke where I had planned to stay at the KOA - but you can't camp at this KOA -what!! It turns out the city government banned camping after some wild behaviour at the country fairground. The owners were mighty upset about this as it potentially threatened their KOA franchise and they are one of the only KOA's in the country in this situation. I'm sure the city government could have figured out a less Draconian solution. After some negotiation I managed to get the military rate on a cute little cabin which is opposite the swimming pool which meant I got a quick dip in the pool.

I'd spent quite a bit of the day chatting to Pam and her maid of honour Christie who are were enroute to Jacksonville Beach as well! They should be arriving any minute, I will be arriving tomorrow fingers crossed. The end is nearly here and I can see Jacksonville Beach on my map. For those of you who were waiting for me to finish before sponsoring me, it could be time to get that wallet open!

P.s. I've inlcuded a last car hoarding photo, one of the biggest road side memorials of the many I see everyday and a tubing rental shop for people wanting to float down the river.


  1. Brian, don't kill anymore spiders. They are argiopes and harmless to humans. A gardeners friend since they eat insects.

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