Old Fart Run Part Six: Haphazard Road Hazards

Racing our shadows w/ the "Old Farts" from the Caloosa Riders Club

It’s Wednesday and time for another “Old Fart Run” with my cycling friends from the Caloosa Riders. Today’s turnout of nearly 40 cyclists was surprisingly good considering most of the winter residents have already flown the coop and migrated back up north. This is particularly noteworthy since winter apparently did not show up this year, truncating many snowbirds stay here in the sunshine state. In fact this was overwhelmingly the topic of conversation during the always quick recovery ride down to Coconut Point. It seems as though the general consensus for returning home is “after Easter”…I’m sure our numbers will be greatly thinned by then.

As usual, the day was spectacular. Our temperatures are creeping up, but although hot, they are still far from the “OMG I’m melting” heat we have in the summer months. The predominantly southern wind was breezy but manageable, bringing with it the first signs of the heavy humidity we all love…ok not love, more like learn to tolerate. The refreshingly cooler mornings are definitely behind us, as we all have to begin to aclimate to cycling in the heat again.

The senior member of the group (a mere 84 years young, yet can out ride most people half his age) lead us out, quickly speeding away and setting the riding tempo at around 22 MPH. The ride to the mid point break at Panera Bread was unremarkable, but in a good way. Just quick fun cycling and lots of jovial banter between the riders.

After everyone had refueled, we all mounted up and headed out for an anticipatedly fast, wind favored, return ride back, but, as misfortune would have it, many riders ended up on the side of the road fixing flat tires. This of course is part of cycling, but we had a total of seven flats on the ride back home…that’s nearly 20% of the riders!

The high flat incidence was due to a surprisingly large amount of road debris on our normally pristine boulevards, the majority being loose gravel from uncovered dump trucks, which basically left a non-stop path of gravel in the bike lane from the Alico Road intersection all the way to the airport turn off. Five of the seven flats occurred in that four mile stretch! The other flats were due to glass shards from broken bottles…which leads me to a little rant.

This bridge span had so much glass on it that we actually had to carry our bikes across it.

Folks, the great outdoors is not your personal garbage dump. Tossing a bottle out the window of your car might seem like a cool thing to do, but it is utter stupidity on your part. The glass shards are dangerous to all forms of wheeled transport and can result in not only property damage, but also physical harm. It’s a danger to our wildlife, it’s unsightly, and in the long run, it increases those city costs you love to complain about. Please think next time you are tempted to throw something out your window. If you are so fascinated by the sight of glass breaking, then by all means, break it in your own frikkin’ back yard…and feel free to play in it too! Same thing goes to all the commercial companies that don’t tie down the covers on their transports. Do your job correctly!

The cities within Lee and Collier Counties do an admirable job of keeping our thoroughfares clean and safe. It’s not their job to pick up after lazy, inconsiderate, idiots who have no regard for others or the environment. So think next time before doing something stupid.

OK, rants over…and to think, my tires came out unscathed…my rant would have been far longer and more, shall we say “colorful” had I gotten a flat. Regardless of all the “avoidable” flats, we still had smiles on our faces and enjoyed the ride.

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:05:42
Stopped Time: 48:10
Distance: 38.42 miles
Average: 18.34 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.78 mph
Ascent: 372 feet
Descent: 548 feet
Calories: 1697

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