Friday, July 22, 2016

Bicycling in Stuart, Florida

Remember those carefree days of riding your bike when you were a kid? The sense of freedom, the wind in your hair? Well, we've been doing a lot of biking lately. The marina has eight bicycles available and we have certainly been taking advantage of them. 

We have ridden them the short distance to the Publix almost every other day. Using the baskets and our backpacks we can carry enough groceries for a couple of days. We have also made the longer trip to West Marine and Home Depot.

And we have made the really long, hot slog to the machine shop and the auto parts store. And you know what? It's NOT AT ALL like those carefree, bike-riding days of my childhood; I feel like I'm about to die most of the time. 

First of all it's really hot. "Feels like 109°" hot. Consequently, we are on the verge of heatstroke and dripping with sweat when we arrive at our destination.
And there are no bike lanes on US 1, so you have to ride on the sidewalk. In fact the cars whiz by only 2 feet away from you even when you are on the sidewalk.

And there's a little problem with the power poles here. They are huge concrete things RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the sidewalk, so each one requires a careful swerve towards the street to get around it. Sometimes the cars honk at you. I guess they think you're going to leap right out in front of them. They're scared, I'm scared, it's bad.

Then there's the intersection at Palm City Road where, I SWEAR, the cars don't even see us! I can't tell you how many times we've had to stop for them even when we are in the crosswalk. If I get mowed down by a car here in Stuart, that's where it will happen.

And of course there's all the usual hassles: cars pulling into the crosswalk and blocking our path, cars looking left and never seeing us crossing on their right, cars turning into a parking lot a hair's breath in front of us.

Even with all these problems, we'll keep riding the bikes because it's better than walking and it's all we've got. And here's the good difference between riding bikes as kids and riding bikes as wobbly, scared, old people: when we get home we get to have a cocktail!

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