March is Florida Bike Month and Palm Beach has organized great events to celebrate it. Nationally, Bike Month is typically in May, but the wise cyclists of Florida banded together to make it March since the weather is delightful compared to the swampy afternoons of late May.
I’ve gotten in the saddle a lot recently (that is, a green saddle with a croc getting its teeth brushed by a plover) when my girlfriends got together for a bike and brunch a few months ago. Since then, I feel like I rediscovered all the glories of biking. Minimal red lights, the path less taken, and free beach parking. I’m convinced my beach cruiser is a portal back in time to joyful childhood days.
A few weeks later my friend Ginger and I went for a sunset happy hour stroll, since we are both avoiding the bar scene (alcohol is harder to tolerate at 30 years old). Ginger works for Environmental Resources Department and is just a rad babe to show me all the nature to love, even on Palm Beach. She showed me THE Kapok Tree on Lake Trail, and secret gardens along Worth Avenue, reminiscent of the streets of Tuscany. Or so I hear, I have not made it to Europe quite yet. We didn’t feel quite as guilty devouring burgers post ride downtown after working up a healthy sweat.
Since it is now “The Season” in Palm Beach, biking has been my primary mode of transportation to the island. With Mr. President Trump invading the plush piece of paradise for what seems like his weekly vacation, the island has become less accessible with bridge shutdowns and Secret Service Agents (Ahem! While costing taxpayers quite a pretty penny). Biking to the beach has provided easy access to the quiet sanctuary along the shore away from the cacophony of protesters vs. supporters. (Let it be noted that Blacks for Trump did have DJ during one of the rallies along Southern Bridge and I was digging it as I sat in traffic for 45 minutes to go 3 miles).
Aside from it being more pleasurable than traffic, it’s ecofriendly and a lovely workout. I burned 800 calories on a cruise around the beach today, according to my FitBit. With driving a shameful amount of miles for my job, I’ve chosen other greener methods in my life to compensate for my guilt. I’m a huge advocate against ocean acidification, and every time I turn my ignition I think one coral polyp dies. So to reduce my carbon emissions, I’ll also reduce my waist size and pedal around my hometown.
Today I went for a nice cruise around Palm Beach and love how being on bike allows me to access the gardens and parks with ease. I stopped in Buccan Sandwich Shop for some grub, and had an impromptu picnic in a park off of County Line Road.
If your Bikeless in Seattle…or any city for that matter. Your community might have a bike share program. WPB has SkyBike and for $3 per 30 minutes you can get a ‘cycle all around town at multiple stations.
Biking etiquette is key to make this enjoyable. Use a bike lane if it’s available and safe. Do not ride 3 bikes abreast in the sidewalk. Nobody is going to like you. When you pass, shout “ON YOUR LEFT” as this is the American signal for “Move your ass to the right, I’m passing on your left!” Unfortunately some walkers are either stupid, uneducated on this practice, or don’t speak English which has caused some back-pedal braking on my part. I just decided to buy a bike bell and it’s made my life much easier. The sound travels farther, and a bell speaks all languages so you don’t have to keep screaming at people (unless you enjoy that type of thing).
A nice WPB local shop to get some bike gear or even a brand new set of wheels is at Jack The Bike Man in Flamingo Park. It is a nonprofit organization that sells used bikes to raise money to donate bikes for underprivileged children in the community. Being a former public school teacher, I know many kids (and even some of their parents) are dependent on cycling as their sole method of transportation. Jack The Bike Man has a small gear shop, a huge variety of used bikes, and also performs bike repairs. I went here to get a bell, cup holder, and bike light and walked out of the shop spending $27. I didn’t feel robbed like I’ve felt by specialty bike shops, and it also went to charity. I’m a sucker for Social Good operations.
Here is my challenge to you, Global Locals! If your two-wheeler is rusty, take it in for a tune up and out for a spin! Tell me what treasures you find in your hometown behind the handlebars. And whether is a fixie, roadie, tandem, or velocipede… I am positive your body and the Mother Earth will be grateful.
And as always, live global and stay local. Pedal Happy, my friends!