Out of the eight states passed through, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, it seems as though South Carolina and Florida have a bad reputation for accessibility to cycling, however, I did find Florida to have the straightest roads, which typically allow for clear view of a cyclist in front of drivers, and most roads have a wide, clean, well maintained bike lane. The drivers aren’t the most cyclist friendly, perhaps because they aren’t used to seeing many pedestrians out on the road walking about, but the state does have an extensive network of bike lanes to choose from. From lanes on the coast to the intercostal and through strip malls, they are a relief compared to the worst part of the trip, which was probably the stretch around Myrtle Beach, which had no bike lane and plenty of fast cars rushing into the plethora of fast food chains and dollar t shirt shops they have to choose from. If you are comfortable riding with cars around you, Florida does a good job of integrating the two. If you aren’t, I would say riding through the Virginia capital trail east of Richmond was probably one of the more memorable bike specific roads on the entire east coast (so far at least, NYC to Miami).
But suprisingy, entering and exiting cities is always a challenge, what with passing through suburbs and gated comunities, and into the outer neighborhoods of towns and finally into the bustle of downtown, but NYC does a damn fine job when you’re heading into Brooklyn from upstate. Say you are traveling the east coast from Maine and coming into New York City from either Connecticut or upstate New York, you can get into the South County Trailway, an awesome pedestrian use trail that weaves through the woods in close proximity to abundant deer and wildlife, before putting you in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, and into a network of bike lanes that you can take to the car free west side highway, all the way down the coast of Manhattan (over ten miles) to cross the bridges into Brooklyn and into the Brooklyn bridge park complex and around the west and southern end of Brooklyn, again over ten miles of car free lanes that hug the coast.
Not bad for one of the densest cities in the U.S.
After today it’s the home stretch to Miami and the keys. I was able to meet my SAG (support and gear) vehicle aka dad, and dropped off all my camping gear and most of my crap with him. Instead of looking down at the speedometer and seeing 17 mph, with the same effort I’ll see 19 or 20 mph. Pretty awesome.
Pops and I sat around Milano cafe, a Rio de la Plata bakery similar to La Nueva back home in Queens. We shared unos sándwiches, medialunas y bizcochos. It’s been five weeks since seeing any family, my closest friend being Big Yella (my bicycle – named by the previous owner), and we shared stories and I was happy to hear some age old wisdom – that many people have big dreams, unable to act upon them due to financial or personal responsibilities, and that getting by with a routine day by day is pretty easy to get used to making breaking out of that routine very difficult; before you know it you’ll wake up and realize there were a couple things in your life that you wish you could’ve done, so if you feel like you want to take a trip, there’s never a perfect time to do it but instead a feeling of it being the “right” time to do it and perhaps the only time you’ll get a chance to.
I’ll never be able to repay my family for being supportive in my ridiculous aspirations but without that support I don’t think I ever would have undertaken a trip like this.