Well, I got nothing else to talk about so I decided to talk a bit about Neil’s bike rides. This is partially to give me something to write about and partially to allow him easier access later to where he rode when and how far.

The genesis of this idea was stolen from a friend travel blogger at Clark and Elaine (who is known in the blog as TLE for The Lovely Elaine) are retired full timers like us who live full time in a 1982 Newell RV…this is a Class A motorhome with no slides and simple enough systems that Clarke can do most of the maintenance himself. He records and reports on his rides and Neil thought it might be a good idea for him to do the same.

He’s currently riding a … Synapse road bike that he got about a year or two before we hit the road from the REI store in Fairfax Center near our old homestead in Fairfax VA. Before he bought it he test drove a Trek Madone…but at over $6,000 decided it was a much better bike than he needed so he downgraded to the cheaper (although not cheap…about $1,000 was the price) Cannondale. It’s a magnesium aluminum frame with a carbon fiber front fork, 18 speed standard road bike. Over the years he’s ridden it probably 5,000 or 6,000 miles  and other than routine maintenance on chain, sprocket, tires, brakes, and cables it’s been pretty solid mechanically. One thing he learned way back when he started riding a lot was that on a road bike with those really skinny tires it’s essential to buy Kevlar protection strips for the tires to prevent punctures due to the skinny tires. Kevlar protection strips are…naturally…made of Kevlar, the same stuff they make bullet proof vests out of and are simple strips about 3/4 of an inch wide. One mounts the tire on the rim, inserts the Kevlar strip into the tire outer circumference and then inserts the tube so that the Kevlar strip is between the tube and the tire rather than being between the tube and the rim. This essentially gives you a nail/glass proof layer of protection between the tire and the tube…he used to get punctures about once a month but since starting to use the Kevlar strips only gets 2-3 a year. Since a puncture means you’re stuck on the side of the road putting a patch on the tube for 40 minutes or so they’ve more than paid for themselves over the years.

He noticed at the end of 2015 that he only rode 778 miles in 2015…sort of a down year for him mileage-wise but since riding on our trip to Alaska was pretty much impossible. He’s already up to 402 miles for 2016 and it’s only mid February…averaging 16.1 miles, 15.21 mph, and 1:02:15 on his rides so far this year with a fastest speed of 29.92 mph…that was going down the only significant hill here in Fort Myers with a tailwind. Over the years he’s averaged about about 16 mph…so he’s a little down pace wise this year but it’s been a really windy winter and he is trying to up his average miles per ride.

Let’s talk about his riding routes here in Fort Myers…unfortunately there aren’t very many to choose from but he’s developed a series of variations on 2 basic routes you can go from Seminole Campground…either east or west are the only real options. 

The first route he found is what he calls the Pritchett Loop…leaving the campground one goes out to Bayshore Avenue then heads west for 100 yards…turning north onto Pritchett Parkway. This wends north and west on a relatively deserted road before intersecting Slater Road right as it crosses I-75…he then turns north for a couple of miles, then heads back east on Nalle Grade Road and south on Nalle Road which gets him back to Bayshore about a half mile east of the campground. This is an overall ride of about 12.5 miles…and he rode this one almost exclusively the first winter we were here.

Wanting/needing something different he found what he calls the Eco Center Loop. For this one he heads east on Bayshore about a mile then turns north past the Eco Center treehugger center and then back east on a road that parallels Bayshore heading east. That road continues out to US-31 which is the highway up towards Arcadia. There are a couple of north/south roads between Bayshore and the parallel road and he’s discovered that by looping north and south he can make sort of a figure 8 shaped route that varies between 12 and 18 miles depending on how many times he does the north/south part as each of those adds about 1.75 miles to the overall route. Sometimes he continues across US-31 onto a road named North Road which heads out towards the Franklin Locks on the Caloosahatchee River but doesn’t like that way much as it doesn’t have much of a shoulder and the speed limit for cars is 55…so unless it’s a mostly car free time of the day he doesn’t go that way much. Alternatively…sometimes he continues up 31 a ways before turning around…it’s also a 55 mph road with more traffic but has a nice 8 foot or so wide shoulder and he actually feels safer on it than on North Road. Overall though…he prefers not to go on either of those options much as there is traffic and the bike always loses any interaction with cars:-)

Lately he’s added a couple of modifications to the Pritchett Loop that get him up to either 19 or 22 miles depending…the first one he continues west on Bayshore about 5 miles…there’s a nice bike lane on this road before turning north onto a road named Hart Road past the Elks Lodge. From there he wanders north through a housing development before coming back out onto Del Prado where he turns back east and then intersects Slater Road about a mile south of where the original Pritchett Loop hits Slater…then continues up Slater and on around the Pritchett Loop clockwise. The second modification continues on farther west on Bayshore past Hart to Tamiami Trail (US-41)…then north before turning back east on Del Prado…this intersects with the Hart Road modification and then on east to Slater and then around the Pritchett loop.

So…how does he figure out where to ride? Good question. First is how he feels today, how long he has to ride and how far he wants to go. Second consideration is which direction si the wind coming from…one would thing that since most of these are essentially large rectangles that eventually you’ll have a downwind leg but he’s discovered that isn’t necessarily the case…sometimes it’s upwind both ways. Given a choice though…he prefers to have the downwind section towards the end…it’s just easier that way…and most of the routes are loops rather than out an back as he really finds the latter boring. Third choice is what he hasn’t done recently…given all the other considerations he’ll go the way he hasn’t been recently all other things being equal…which of course they’re usually not. Mostly the wind here is from the west and/or north so heading east on the Eco Loop means it’s upwind on the way back…so that usually is reserved for shorter days or the occasional wind from the east day.

Today he did the Tamiami Pritchett Loop extension…21.63 miles in 1:22:12…average 15.79 mph and max speed of 20.74 mph…burning 1216 calories.

He uses an app on his iPhone named Cyclemeter…it keeps track of all this stuff and uploads/emails/tweets it for him along with putting it up on a web site so he can click a link and look at it later. Here’s a sample output…

You may not be interested in this at all…and I probably won’t bore you with all the details again but will put some info into my posts so he’ll have stuff to look at later if he gets bored and wants to do statistics or sumetin.

OK…after all that I owe you a couple of other things.

I mentioned a week or so ago that eaglet E8 had been removed from the nest on 2/9 due to some fishing line wrapped around his legs…he was freed, declared healthy and returned to the nest on 2/12 so all is well. Both E7 and E8 are eating well and both Harriet and her mate M15 are feeding them daily. The eaglets are 20 and 22 days old today and both are eating and growing pretty quickly…they should fledge in another 50 days or so.

Ok, onto a couple of images Neil found on the web this week…

Here’s a kid who got good grades for effort on his test…but the teacher didn’t like the answers.


Coming in from our former next door neighbor Tom we have this startling development about Chinese Submarines.


I sort of thought that was the point of a submarine…but I’m not a naval expert either. Neil is though…and he agrees with me that this headline was probably written by Captain Obvious.

Then there was this giant dog.

Attack of the Giant Dog

And our biggest fears about turing 100 years old…we can’t play Lego any more…bummer.


Finally…Marilyn really hasn’t aged well…but then she is 89 years old.



About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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