Part 1: My Bicycle Ride from Florence, Ala., to Fairhope, Ala.

bike-ride-infomap-2During the week before Thanksgiving, I rode a bike from the Tennessee-Alabama border near Florence, Ala., to Fairhope, Ala. on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. In all, including the zigzags of country roads and a few misguided decisions that caused me to backtrack miles ridden, the ride covered around 415 miles in six days–around 70 miles a day. For anyone familiar with the area (or knows how to use Google Maps), the ride closely followed the Alabama-Mississippi border, along the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway and the Tombigbee River.

I had planned to blog about the ride during it. However, I discovered that my evenings were spent recovering from the day, preparing for the next day and completely mentally and physically exhausted. While I did post some Facebook updates after the third day, they were more like a group “I’m still alive” check-in with family and friends than a blog post.

My bikeWorking through my notes, I’ve been overwhelmed by the things I’d like to write about the trip (about the people I met, things I saw, some technical bicycle issues, etc.) and have discovered that it’s too much to tackle all at once–in the context of other demands these days.

So I thought I’d just start blogging about it in chunks. At some point, I’ll tie all the posts together into one long page so that it can be helpful to someone who may land on this page who is thinking about a similar trip, but consider this the first of some posts I’ll be making on the why’s, how’s and lessons of the ride.

Starting with the finish

Spoiler alert: I finished the ride.

After six days and 415 miles of riding, when I finally pulled into Fairhope, a most amazing thing happened: A double rainbow appeared. I was already euphoric from being finished with the ride, so, other than as a great photo op, I didn’t read too much into the event. However, since then, I’ve decided it was a message from the Bike Gods telling me that I should plan future trips on flatter terrain with clearly designated biking lanes.

Rainbow in Fairhope, Ala.

Next post: Why?