Joe and Terry and their two boys were recently spotted taking a break at the Ashton Trailhead while enjoying a warm, sunny February day along the Legacy Trail. “We’re snowbirds from Michigan and have been coming here for many years. We love it here in the winter – the sun, the many attractions, including the longer Legacy Trail. Tucker and Cody, get so excited when we pull out the bikes and put on their goggles.” Yeah, about the goggles? “We want to protect their eyes from the sun, pollen or other air borne debris.”
And then they were off down the trail, leading the way with paws up on the front edge of the basket, all dog smiles at the adventures that lie ahead.
The weather forecast 25+ mph north-to- south winds, directly along the Legacy Trail axis. A common adage here is the wind on some days makes up for the absence of hills. Trail use was noticeably lighter. So I breezed down the trail, turned and headed back into the wind, pedaling mightily but moving like I was in molasses. That’s when I saw her, rollerblading in a tucked position, pushing a doublewide baby carriage. “Well, you qualify as hard core pushing that stroller into this fierce wind” I said. We chatted. “I’m an avid runner and rollerblader,” Chelsea explained, “so this is great training. I’m pushing instead of pulling a weighted sled. My two little girls love being out on the trail with me.” We talked about her training. “We just bought a condo in Venice along the Legacy Trail. My husband is back in Colorado with our other two girls. I want to come train here in the summer heat and humidity as an alternative to Colorado.” “I hope that helps fulfill your ambitions” I said as we parted, headed back into the wind with added inspiration.
The two Pats were loading up their water bikes at Legacy Park. “That’s an interesting way to take a spinning class” I said. Pat-her replied “we love bicycling and the water, which is why we chose to come to Sarasota.” Pat-him added “we used our regular bikes yesterday to ride both sides of the Venetian Waterway trail yesterday, so today we are going to see it from the water.” Pat-her picked up “we drove down from Superior Wisconsin to vacation here for the week. Still too cold up there” she commiserated while basking in the warm sun here. “I designed this rack to travel with both hydro-bikes, along with our regular bikes…..oh, and our boat.” “Enjoy your stay” I replied, pondering the thought of water-bikes.
Well that’s odd I thought as I approached. Both walking down the Legacy Trail 41 overpass in stocking feet, carrying their rollerblades. “Did you EACH blow a wheel on the trail” I asked with a big grin while thinking what’s the chance of that. As if reading my mind, Andrew replied also smiling “no equipment malfunction, just a surface design issue.” Ann chipped in “We are rollerblading a marathon distance 26.2 miles on the Legacy Trail. We are post grad students from Manatee County, and love “blading on this trail because of the scenery and smooth surface.” Andrew picked up “but ‘blading down this overpass is like coming down a series of ski jumps. We’d rather not be successively airborne and out of control.” “Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that. I think they were designed to act like speed bumps for cyclist, I offered. But some low slung racing trikes bottom out on these terraces.” Note to FDOT: with overpasses under design for Clark and Bee Ridge intersections on the trail, is there a better design approach that doesn’t compromise low trikes and rollerbladers?
At first glance, he looked as though he was wearing a tall walking boot perched on the end of one foot. Perhaps a broken foot, atop a mass of duct tape. Yet here he was riding confidently on his e-trike on a sunny but cool February day along the Legacy Trail.
We chatted. Richard explained he configured his e-trike to mitigate chronic Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, an extremely painful condition caused by misfiring nerve endings. He pointed to his left foot in the boot. “Vibrations trigger intense pain. It’s worse on my left foot, so I wear a boot propped up on additional padding. I’ve also got padding under my right foot. I love riding on the trail in part because it has a very smooth surface.”
He then proceeded to show me some wildlife pictures he’s taken along the trail. “I’m a nature photographer. I have an instagram account – backyard_birder_indiana – with my pics to showcase the beauty of birds and help raise money and awareness for CRPS research.” He said he’s been riding the trail from Venice for many years. “I used to be a multi sport athlete. Not anymore,” he said with just a tinge of regret. “This really helps me keep a positive attitude about life. I LOVE riding on the trail with the sun and wind on your face. ”
Best wishes, Richard, and thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring others.
It doesn’t happen often, but it’s reassuring to know that emergency medical service is available wherever you are on The Legacy Trail. Bridges and overpasses are designed to carry the weight of an ambulance. 911 stickers are placed every 1/20 mile on the original trail and every 1/10 mile on the extension to help determine your location. This incident was near the Osprey Junction Trailhead. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured trail user.
As I approached from behind, I noticed the unusual cycling motion – the normal lower body cycling cadence combined with an upper body hand cycle motion. But on a single two-wheeled bike? Yep. Mike loves to ride his “all wheel drive” bike along the Legacy Trail, often choosing it for longer rides instead of his traditional road bike. “The front and rear drive eight-speed cassettes operate independently, so I can pedal with just my legs, or just my arms, or both. I like the full body exercise this bike https://twicycle.com/ gives me.” I asked about the chest pad on the bike. “That’s what gives you leverage for hand cycling. I tried removing it and quickly found I couldn’t do the hand cycle motion.”
I am always amazed at the diversity of trail users, the individuals and their equipment, I meet along the Legacy Trail. Happy trails, Mike, and thanks for sharing your experience with this unique bike.
The rain has brought out many beautiful wild flowers along the sides of the Legacy Trail! Here are pictures of four (out of many) I noticed yesterday: butterfly-pea, morning glory, elderberry and lanceleaf coreopsis.
Be aware of any fire ant nests when you step off the Trail to look at the flowers (I speak from experience).
You see lots of different types of bicycles on the trail, but this is the first four wheel trike configured with 1:2:1 wheels. I spotted Don, Jo, and rear pilot Riley on a hot summer days ride along the Legacy Trail.
Don hand built this 115 pound rig from bicycle parts after Don and Jo tired of riding their tandem. It’s got electric assist in case they need a little push (!). The best part: they can enjoy the ride and the scenery while they carry on a constant conversation like they were, well, sitting next to each other.