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Atlanta Cyclists Pause in Palm Beach En Route Key West

Back in the Fall of 2010, I got a message from Kelly Bilak asking for information about riding to Key West after seeing a couple of Palm Beach Bike Tours stories.

We traded several emails where she said that she and two friends – Carol and Barbara – from the Atlanta area were planning to start in St. Augustine, ride down the east Coast of Florida to Key West. Kelly rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker. Carol and Barbara are recumbent riders.

Video of Atlanta Trio’s visit to Palm Beach

Bent, bike and tents in back yard

In the middle of January, I got a message asking if I knew of any place to camp in Palm Beach County. The county park they had planned on required them to pay for a two-day stay since they were coming in on a weekend, and they were going to be charged by the tent, not the site. It was going to cost more than staying in a hotel.

I offered up our spare bedroom, but they said they’d be fine camped in our back yard.

Long Haul Trucker with Click-Stand

I notice that Kelly’s Long Haul Trucker was being held up by a Click-Stand. “I read about it on your site,” she said. I was impressed that she had it made to match her LHT. I noted that she had copied my PVC pipe mount (attached to the the left side of the bike).

Kids grew up and the dog died

Barbara, packing her bent, said she’s been touring since she was 21. It’s gotten easier, she said, “once the kids left home and the dog died.”

Georgia mascot

Barbara’s mascot on her bent’s fairing was neat. If she’d spent much more time in Florida, she might have traded it in for a Love Bug or a Glades Mosquito, though.

Appearance counts

They arrived early enough to get a driving tour of the area and have a good Mexican meal. They were impressed enough with Palm Beach to decide to go for a side trip on the Palm Beach Lake Trail the next morning before heading off to Ft. Lauderdale.

Just because you’re sleeping in tents and sweating on a bicycle all day long doesn’t mean that you aren’t conscious of how you look. Barbara makes one more adjustment before heading off to Palm Beach.

Kapok Tree dwarfs LHT

The roots of a giant kapok tree near the Flagler Museum dwarf Kelly’s Long Haul Trucker.

Tree almost swallows bikers

Kelly and Barbara posed in the roots of the tree. While we were there, a mother and her daughter quizzed the women about their trip. You’ll have to listen to them on the video below.

West Palm Beach’s impressive skyline

West Palm Beach’s skyline looks impressive in the background. The Flagler Museum is on the right.

Palm Beach Inlet

We stopped at the north end of the island for the obligatory Palm Beach Docks photo. On the way south, the riders asked if I knew of any public restrooms since the morning coffee was looking for release.

I explained that the good folks in Palm Beach don’t provide things like beach access or restrooms for commoners. On our way south from the inlet, I suggested that we stop at the fire station to see if they would let some tourists get some relief. They were more than helpful and friendly. You might want to file that bit of info away for a time of need.

Donald’s Mar-a-Lago

The ladies posed for one last photo under the arch leading to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago before I headed for home and they headed to the Keys. They made it safely home. You can see Carol’s photos and journal here.

11 comments to Atlanta Cyclists Pause in Palm Beach En Route Key West

  • Mark Steinhoff

    Nice trio of riders. I’d be lying if I said they weren’t inspiring for making the trip and they certainly are pushing my “guilty button” for not getting out myself and riding more.

    Thinking back on when we all rode down to the Keys with you a long time ago, it is a good ride DOWN, but I’m tipping my bike helmet to them for riding back up. As I remember, the wind was at out backs for most of the ride down to Key West and I shudder to think about having to crank into the headwind on the way back.

    Fire station tip is a good one…

    • They rode during that really cold January we had. The day they arrived in West Palm Beach was the first one that was actually comfortable.

      Then, once they got to Ft. Lauderdale, they got caught in a monsoon. Despite it all, it sounds like they had fun.

      We need to think about adding a Keys trip to our list next year about this time. (That’s assuming you haven’t let the tires on your bike die of dry rot from lack of use.)

  • George P

    Nice story and video I’ll pass along to friends. Those are amazing ladies.

    Even shot facing in reverse, the video gives a great idea of pretty the Lake Trail is.

    • Thanks. I’ve got rigs on the bike now that will let me put a video camera facing front and back. Because the rear wheel doesn’t whip back and forth to maintain balance when you’re riding slowly, you get smoother video facing to the rear.

      Plus, I’d rather see faces than biker butts all the time, even when you’re riding with nice ladies like these.

  • Great job on the Video ! looks like everyone was having a great time. The warm weather sure looks nice… beat riding in Colorado this time of year.

    (good to see others using your suggestions… You have been the inspiration of a number of my purchases)

    • Thanks for the compliment.

      Here’s a shameless plug: if you’re going to shop at Amazon, click on the Amazon ad on the left side of the page. I get about 6% of whatever you buy and it doesn’t cost you a penny more.

  • Vi Young

    One of those amazing ladies (Barbara) is my daughter. The pictures and video was very enjoyable. Nice to see
    that part of the country. Barbara just keeps going. She’ll be making another bicycle trip this summer over in
    our part of the country, the Pacific Northwest.

  • Craig

    Awe inspiring!

    You gals rock!!!!

  • Barbara Corley

    Thanks again Ken. This story, pictures and video are valued as priceless for giving my parents a real life view into my activities and my friends. By seeing this maybe they won’t be so worried about me. You took good care of us.

    • Glad it put them at ease. I’m sending DVD copies of the stills and raw videos to Kelly for you and Carol.

      It’s funny how things worked out. You showed up in more still photos, but they were in more videos.

      Y’all come back, you hear?