Life is full of surprises. I know this to be true on many levels.
Every November for the last decade or so I have trekked down to the Florida Keys for an event called BubbaFest. BubbaFest is hosted by Bubba. No surprises there, right? Well, did you know Bubba is a member of Florida Bicycle Association?
It’s true. Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers is a business member of FBA. This business enhances the bicycle tour experience by providing various services including tents, towels and a place to relax at the end of the ride called ‘the zone’. Bubba also hosts his own tours to which BubbaFest is his first. BubbaFest is a six-day bicycle tour of the Florida Keys that starts and ends in Key Largo. My role during this tour is providing the morning coffee. I suppose I could stop providing the coffee now that I have a real job, but Bubba is a friend and the organic, fair trade, dark roasted coffee that I brew fresh every morning adds to the rider experience. It’s the least I can do for a friend and for fellow coffee drinkers.
But this blog isn’t really about Bubba, to tell the Bubba story properly would require a book. No, this blog is really about a few of his participants I met this year. It seems I had met them before.
In 2013, I was the ride director for Bike Florida. The spring tour that year ventured to a new area of the state and had overnights in Lakeland, Clermont and Lake Wales. Snowbirds and families look forward to the Bike Florida spring tour as the weather is usually nice and the routes usually flat. I wish I could say that was the case for the tour in 2013, but alas, it was not. We experienced unseasonably cold weather (lows in the 30’s) and for fun, we gave the tour some hills, namely Sugarloaf ‘mountain’ in Clermont and Thrill Hill outside of Tavares.
One highlight of the tour that stood out for me was that despite the weather, cyclists were enjoying the ride. We routed cyclists by numerous farms and orange groves. Folks would come back expressing how the smells of various fruits was a real treat. Another real treat was the fresh citrus at the rest stops. Florida’s Natural was a sponsor that year and we had boxes of fresh-picked oranges and grapefruit at every rest stop.
At one rest stop a photo of our youngest participant was taken.
Cadence was about nine months old and this was her very first bicycle tour. To my surprise, Cadence and her family were at this year’s BubbaFest.
I had spent time with Sean’s riding group one afternoon during BubbaFest and did notice someone wearing a 2013 Bike Florida jersey. This group was all adults when we talked and it turns out, from Oklahoma. We didn’t talk Bike Florida 2013 as we did Bike Florida today and new executive director, Joy Hancock. Joy is from Oklahoma and this group remembers her when she was with the Oklahoma Freewheel bicycle tour. It was Cadence’s father, Sean, who brought the 2013 Bike Florida tour to my attention. Of course I remember the photo of the little girl eating an orange, but I had no idea the four year-old riding at BubbaFest was one and the same. Oklahoma, Bike Florida, BubbaFest and the two executive directors of Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association now residing in the same Florida county (Pinellas) – yes, it’s a small world.
And yes, life is full of surprises. BubbaFest for me this year was literally a blast from the past. But it was also a validation that I am currently in the right place at the right time and doing the right things for Florida bicycling. Sean himself thanked me for my work with FBA and encouraged me to keep fighting the good fight. Sean and his family love to bicycle and all they want is to be safe, no matter where they ride.
I’m with you on that, Sean. And thanks for sending the photos from BubbaFest. It’s good to know Cadence is still riding, and more importantly, enjoying the ride.
As Bubba would say, It’s all good!
Thank your bicycle hero with a 2016 FBA Annual Award nomination! Use this LINK to submit your nomination online today. Deadline for 2016 FBA Annual Award nominations January 31, 2017. Recipients announced March 1, 2017 to kick off Florida Bike Month!
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Complete Streets Savvy, or CSS, is a general bicycle educational presentation. The purpose is to provide basic information with regards to the Florida Department of Transportation’s adoption of Complete Streets policy and how cyclists and motorists can share the road safely. This presentation runs 10 – 15 minutes and is designed for legislators, civic organizations and other entities that meet regularly and need informative content. There is no fee. Make your request for CSS today!
Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association share a common cause in bicycle education for residents and visitors to the Sunshine State. Share the Road license plate proceeds benefit Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association to further these bicycle educational efforts. What’s on your motor vehicle? Get the Share the Road license plate!