Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

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To paraphrase the misquoted American writer Mark Twain…the actual quote, which appeared in the New York Journal of 2 June 1897, ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration’, was occasioned by newspaper accounts confusing the serious illness of Twain’s cousin, James Ross Clemens with Samuel…the Century Trek Blog is not dead, and although it’s hiatus has been extremely long, 6 months by my count, it’s high time to dust off the the keyboard and get back to my verborrheic ramblings about my two wheeled shenanigans down in Southwest Florida…correction, Florida’s Suncoast.

Unlike this blog, I have not been idle, and although my relocation from Southwest Florida to the Suncoast, more specifically, Tampa, AKA “the Big Guava, Cigar City, Lightning Capital of the World”, has impacted my riding frequency, I continue to, as Phil Ligget would say, “dance on his pedals in a most immodest way” as often as I can. It’s not that Florida’s Suncoast is cycling hostile, but in comparison to Southwest Florida, it has, in my opinion, far fewer safe cycling avenues, particularly due to the greater percentage of automobile traffic. Sure, there are many roadways striped for cycling, but you’d have to be a bit crazy, strike that, suicidal, to even attempt to ride down Dale Mabry at any time. Luckily the Suncoast has a great equalizer in the form of dedicated, non-motorized trails, featuring miles upon miles of smooth rolling tarmac devoid of all motorists, as well as unpaved tracks for those of you who like to play in the dirt.

These “multi-use paved paths” are extremely well maintained and often run far from the beaten path. Many are short neighborhood trails, while some loop within wilderness preserves or parks such as Flatwoods Park, a 7+2 mile loop up in Wesely Chapel. The crown jewels though are the Pinellas Trail, Suncoast Trail and the Withlacoochee Trail, which run a combined 126.2 miles (one way) through 5 counties. With these great facilities one could almost forego riding on our traffic filled roads, but the itch of cycling out on the open road is strong for all roadies. Fortunately there are many well established cycling clubs which have found safe routes both within the city as well as in outlying rural areas, my favorite being the surprisingly hilly surroundings of San Antonio up in Pasco County, where it is not uncommon to have nearly 5,000 feet of vertical gain over a 60 mile ride…not bad for “pan flat” Florida.

So, the Century Trek Blog is officially back. As before, I’ll be updating it regularly bringing a little of my world of cycling and running into your lives. I’ll continue to hunt and peck my way around the keyboard, doing my best to keep you all entertained about our two wheeled escapades down here in sunny Florida, and hopefully toss in a surprise or two….

Surprise? Sounds like the perfect segue to announce an all new blog…you didn’t really think I could keep away from the keyboard for 6 months did you?

<insert trumpet fanfare>

Introducing VELOPRØN, an unapologetically, provocative look at the art of the bicycle and it’s rider. Just remember that art is in the eye of the beholder, which in this case is me, as well as the respective owners of the photographs, which basically means that some images may not be suitable for all, or while at work. Just click on the link to drop by for a peek. You can also find a link for it up on this sites menu bar.

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