'Bicycling clubs offer camaraderie, safety in numbers and a way to keep fit for South Florida riders.'
|Rick Slako, Team StormRiders captain, leads a grueling run at speed up Rickenbacker Bridge near Miami. COURTESY PHOTO|
HOW COULD YOU GO WRONG? YOU LIVE IN a state that sees at least a few hours of sunshine roughly 250 days each year. This isn’t Ohio or Michigan.
You’re surrounded by marked roadways, park trails, community sidewalks and specified bicycle paths from east to west and north to south.
So you clip into the growing sport of bicycling, as good a fitness and fun endeavor as any on the planet, especially for aging bodies — one that offers a great deal else, as well. Bicycle riding clubs offer experienced advice that might help the rest of us, from beginners to talented competitors. Don’t claim it’s too flat to have fun, here.
Though Florida has no mountains, that doesn’t stop riders like Leigh Masimore of Naples Velo from finding a mountain occasionally.
Now in his 60s, Mr. Masimore was riding the flat country and the mountains around Dillon, Colo., elevation 9,000 feet and up, just last week, coming into those rides from his several-day-per-week riding regimen in Naples.
“When I got to Florida (from Nashville) I connected with Naples Velo,” he says. “It has fast rides for experienced riders, but part of the mission is to be a club for a lot of different riders.”
At Naples Velo, rides through different parts of Collier County may be “moderate” — 20 to 22 miles per hour for 30 miles, say — or they may be more demanding: For those who can ride at 25 to 30 mph, or faster.
“One of my friends described being dropped off the back of a (group) ride at 36 miles per hour,” he recalls. Those rugged rides may be 50 miles or longer.
For Rick Slako, captain of Team StormRiders in Miami-Dade County, hill training requires bridges, but the joy is simply in the discipline — four days a week averaging 30 to 60 miles — and the dynamic camaraderie of the team, where he’s even seen romances and marriages form, or dissolve, he says.
Mr. Slako started riding in the 1980s when he lived in West Kendall. He was racing then, but without much success.
Read more at Florida Weekly