Three Two One
Happy New Year!
For me, new years start with a double celebration due to my birthday being on January 2nd. Last year, I spent my birthday weekend on the east coast of Florida, breaking in my new Dahon Espresso 26″, 21-speed folding bike on the shores of St. Augustine Beach.
This year, I decided to try something local. 3 years ago, I started a summer tradition of riding my bicycle to a Tampa Bay Rays game. I take three days; one to ride the length of the Pinellas Trail from Oldsmar to downtown St. Petersburg (approx. 56 miles), one to spend in St. Petersburg attending the game and one to ride the trail back to Oldsmar. Well, it’s winter and that means hockey season. The Tampa Bay Lightning were playing at home on my birthday and I decided it was time to ride the Dahon to downtown Tampa.
Weatherwise, it was interesting. Tampa Bay was experiencing a rather warm holiday season, but on January 2, 2016, a cold front moved in and brought overcast skies and a 30-degree drop in temperature.
The total distance for this adventure came to 28 miles one way. Instead of a direct route, I left Oldsmar, rode along Bayshore Blvd in Safety Harbor, crossed the bay on the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail and proceeded on Cypress St to eventually cross the Hillsborough River and ride the Riverwalk to Amalie Arena.
Because this trip was shorter than the Rays ride, I decided to do the ride in two days; day one ride to Tampa and attend the game and day two to ride back. I left early enough to be able to check into my hotel and clean up before the game and stayed close enough to walk to the game.
I had a wonderful birthday doing what I love to do. The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Minnesota Wild in the overtime shootout and I enjoyed the final moments of birthday with a bourbon and a Tampa specialty dessert, cheese flan, back at the hotel.
The weather on the ride back took a turn to the wet and windy, but it was fun nonetheless.
Not ideal conditions for a ride, but the weather provided an opportunity few experience – having the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail to themselves. I personally found the wind invigorating. Sure, I could have backed out of the ride entirely and drove myself to the game, but I like the challenge of doing what most don’t consider – bicycling to a professional sports game.
Hmm, maybe next fall I’ll check the Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule. I bet I could ride to and from that game in one day.
Three. Two. One. Have a Happy and Healthy 2016!
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