Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hello, Lady! Wake up!

Hello, Lady! Wake up!

You'll understand the title a little later. This will be a slightly long blog entry. I, too, was surprised when I went on what I thought would be a fairly unvenventful but pleasant bike ride on the Cady Way Trail in Orlando, Florida, one afternoon after work.

I started out writing in a little book every 1/2 mile or so to make notes about possible painting sites and shade.  But as I rode along I discovered and experienced many interesting things. As I progressed and wrote more in my book I realized it might be nice to share my short ride in my blog with everyone. 
Now, come ride with me.

The late afternoon sun is warm but the humidity is low (for Florida). I am expecting a fairly cool ride so there is no need to change clothes. I wore the same clothes at work all day. They are comfortable and unconstricting. My purse is slung backpack style on my back.  Before taking off I make sure my camera and notebook are within easy reach.

The Cady Way trailhead is tucked behind a USPS (United States Post Office) behind the Fashion Square Mall. A quarter-mile in I stop to note that I am riding along the edge of Baldwin Park (homes) where I find a couple of guys fishing. Around the half-mile mark I cross Humphries Road. Now there are businesses along the trail.

Further on there are homes that are not a part of Baldwin Park. The streets are narrow and a little busy. You have to watch out for motorized vehicles at the intersections. But the drivers I encounter seem watchful and are courteous.

I have no idea where I am right now. I come to Beach Road and Old Cheney Highway. There's a 1 1/4-mile marker. I see a very shaded part of the trail now up ahead. It's very nice with lots of trees on both sides. I'd expect in full summer there are lots of mosquitos here. But today there are none to pester me.

I seem to be riding alongside Old Cheney. There are older homes on the right and newer ones (Baldwin Park again) on the left. Now I see the road on my right has ended and it is dirt leading to the back of an apartment complex. It reminds of my younger days.

An electric scooter shooshes by me. It says "Lithium Powered" on the side. Cool! There is another road up ahead. The scooter turns onto it and is gone.

I pass the 2 1/4-mile marker and arrive at the intersection myself. I have two choices in front of me. The trail splits. I can make a sharp right or go straight ahead.

I see a woman pushing a stroller cautiously crossing the intersection towards me. When she reaches my side I decide to ask her if she knows where the trail to the right goes. She says she doesn't know. But if I go straight it goes to the Cady Way Park and Showalter Field plus there is lots of shade that way.  I choose the shade!

After crossing I realize that on my right I can see a bit of the Winter Park Pines Golf Course. Then I come to more homes behind fences. On the right I can see down into some of the yards because the trail is elevated a few feet. Baldwin Park is still on my left.

There's a sharp turn up ahead. I stop at this one for awhile to write some more and take a short breather. (And to give my butt a rest from the bicycle seat!) This is one of the many places you can stop on this trail for water or to sit on a shaded bench. There is also an emergency call box.

It's actually warmer to stand still than keep moving so I get on my bike again. Ah, a nice cool breeze now.

At three miles I come to Winter Park High School.  Then Summerfield Road. I decide to turn around at Cady Way Park and head back to my car.

On this trail bikes and skaters are asked to stay on the 10-foot-wide trail away from the people walking or jogging on their own parallel trail. I obeyed this rule. But you have to watch out for the guys riding fast on their 10-speeds with the skinny tires. They are serious about their exercise.

At one point I was on the far right side of the bike trail looking around. I was enjoying my afternoon ride. It was so pleasant and quiet. I saw one of these fast cyclists approaching from the opposite direction.  He yells out, "Hello, Lady! Wake up!" I say back to him that, "I was just looking around!"
Later, a couple of other cyclists complimented my bike. My shirt was a bright flowery print. You couldn't miss me on that trail. I didn't look like everyone else!

On the way back I heard loud music coming up from behind. One of the fast cyclists was smart. He had a radio on full blast (or at least very loud) on his handlebars to alert people.

I heard lots of other things. Strangely enough, it seems there is an ice cream truck that plays Jamaican metal drum music. It was very pleasant and accompanied me as I rode past the Winter Park Pines area. 
A girl walking ahead of me with a cell phone to her ear and with fluffy house slippers on  her feet exclaimed "Ew!" as I rode by. I don't think she was talking about me!

And I can't forget the evil squirrel that tried to drop nuts or *something* on me. I was going to fast for him! Ha Haaaa!