Who knew that Boca Raton was filled to overflowing with bikeable neighborhoods, nature paths, large urban streets and, for those so inclined, some exceptional parking lots?
I met some very fun people on last night’s Boca Urban Ride and got in twenty miles of the city’s best bicycling routes. Led by Peter and ‘Big Dave’ (from Treasure Coast Cycling), the ride caters to people new to the sport and those in recovery. Peter looks like the model of physical fitness on the outside – in many way, he is – but just a couple of years ago his heart almost gave out post-chemo. Now he helps fellow survivors of disease and regular folk get on the bicycle for fitness and good times. I asked him if the Boca Urban Ride was really every week and he explained, “Yes. It’s not just a ride, it’s a lifestyle.” Such a cool guy.
Peter also organizes a similar ride on Thursdays in Lake Worth, the even mellower Laid Back in Lake Worth Ride. Much shorter in distance (about 10miles), a fellow rider tells me it’s fun because the shorter distance means he can keep up on his Triumph (!) Turns out Brad is a vintage bicycle collector specializing in rare english bikes. (Where do all these cool people come from?) He promises to let me come check out his workshop and take loads of pictures sometime and I take it as my duty to document it for you readers of the SFBC blog. Brad says he once considered starting a vintage bike club down here but wasn’t confident there would be enough interest. I know some of you have ideas, indecipherable old bike parts, interest in an informal vintage bicycling group. Let me know so we can get this rolling. (I love my job!)
If you would like to join this ride but think Boca is too far, I suggest you take Tri-Rail (I love tri-rail!). The route crosses right through the Boca Raton train station, making it an easy way to join the group. About the pace: it depends on who joins the ride but it didn’t really pass 12mph much this week. Don’t let that keep you, either: speedy duo Dan and Monty ride the same exact route at a faster speed (15+mph) with added loops, mini-races through parking lots and extended route to the beach. We met up with them probably 6 times in 2.5 hours so… Another great thing about this ride is you can jump in between the paces and push yourself or add in extra breaks, as needed. It’s a tested route that gives participants lots of options to grow into and out of. Either way, you’ll want to be sure to ride back to the end point around 10pm. Wendy leads stretches for everyone, Big Dave lets out the comments he couldn’t drop in traffic and Peter uncovers the watermelon that has been awaiting us in ice since he picked it up from his local farmer’s market.
What is better than riding in South Florida, being healthy and meeting new friends? (so very hokey but true.)