Bicycle Diaries

30 years riding, 15 years writing

Trek Fuel 70 gets a makeover

Trek Fuel 70 new tires

The Makeover

Coral Way Bike Shop was the second stop of the day, had to wash clothes at dawn with the help of Zenaida, the night porter at the 24/7 laundromat.

The Trek Fuel 70 was in need of new tires, especially in a city that has laid off their street sweepers. Hey, that’s a way for the homeless to earn their keep, hand them brooms and rolling garbage bins.

Shopping list:

The bike needed a really good cleaning, grease gunk combined with sand was everywhere in the rear mechanisms. So I opted to buy the parts and be bike mechanic for the day, still can’t seem to get the grease off my hands.

Brickell relaxing waters

Brickell Waters

An around the block test drive turned into more. After I had my afternoon espresso on 8th street, the tailwind just took me all the way down to Brickell.

The rolling resistance on the new tires is minimal, and the ride has improved dramatically. The new saddle feels good under me and I was wearing jeans, test drive, remember. And wow, grips, I had been riding the bike this whole time gripping bare metal, like all the cool kids around here.

I am amazed at how quickly I get around Miami, a city I primarily drove in when I was living here in the 70’s and 80’s. Even though I have spent over 25 years in the 305 area code, in the course of my life, I am seeing this city from a whole different perspective.

In 21 days, I have seen more of this city than a typical Miamian sees in a calendar year. I am tourist Bert from North Carolina, pointing his front tire into places no car can access. Walking into places no one from the Gables would of ever, oh my god, is that snot coming out of his nose?

I’m going to miss this city, now that I’ve really gotten to know it, but there are other cities to explore, and I just got new tires.

distance 14.39 miles


Miami River

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Miami River murals

Miami River Murals

Miami is littered with graffiti, some good, some not. Of those I find tasteful, I take pics of them for my Miami collection. Some of these wall murals would of taken some time to create, thus the acceptance by building owners of creative juices attracting visitors.

Miami River Boats

Miami River Yachts

Miami is such a contrast in living conditions. Just a block from where this picture was taken, there are homeless people freezing their asses off in the cold of night. Yet here we have yachts partying on the Miami River with not a care in the world.

Homeless sleeping in the street, uber-rich popping Dom Perignon on their multi-million dollar yachts. The contrast sickens me, with so much money in this city, no person should have to spend a night in a building’s doorway.

Dude in the Looking Glass

Covid-19

Got tested, nasal swab, negative results. Clicked the link to Get Vaccinated, at the Miami Portal site, it directed me to facilities in the Tampa area. Sure, let me hop on my bike, hold my place in line for the next 3 days while I pedal.

There are no vaccines, businesses are empty and bleeding cash, the Zombie Apocalypse can’t be too far behind.

distance 16.75 miles


Brickell Key

Trek Fuel 70 in Brickell Key

Brickell Key

This shot is from the walking path in the back of a high rise on Brickell Avenue looking out at Brickell Key.

Brickell Key is a gated community, but I rode in on the sidewalk just fine, wasn’t tased. Rode around this very expensive piece of property and I guess it’s the views they are buying because for the most part, it’s just sidewalks and roads littered with huge speed bumps. Feels very claustrophobic, too many buildings in such a small space, my humble opinion.

Walking quite a lot these days also, the 8th Street espresso calls my name a couple of times a day. So far today, and it’s only 7pm, I’ve walked 13.41 miles, in addition to the miles on the bike.

Distance 15.87 miles


Old Cutler Trail

Trek Fuel 70 on Old Cutler Trail

Old Cutler Trail

For my return trip from Homestead to Miami, I picked the Old Cutler Trail route, a scenic 14.9 stretch of bike paths along huge shade trees.

From where I spent the night, it was 13 miles to the beginning of the trail at Allapattah Road. Those 13 miles were mostly done on sidewalks, bike paths are scarce in the Homestead Air Reserve Base area.

Once I was on the Old Cutler bike path, I picked up my cruising speed. But then I quickly came to appreciate my dual shock bike, the roots of the trees along the asphalt path had created quite a number of nasty bumps. If you’re riding fast, on a stiff road bike, pay attention or you’re changing wheels at your local bike shop.

Like Key Biscayne, I would rate the Old Cutler Trail safe and worth riding.

Trek Fuel 70 loaded up

Arrive Alive

My arrival shot, always with the camera this guy ;)

The back pack contains my laptop, charging cables for all electronic devices, an eight foot 3 outlet extension cord with ground, notebooks, pens, pencils, basically an office in a backpack, and civilian clothing for changing.

The rear pack contains food, bike repair tools and whatever I took out of the backpack to lighten the load on my back. The bike shoes bungeed to the rear rack stayed there the whole trip, I felt more comfortable riding with a pair of sneakers, balancing a heavy backpack clipped in is not fun.

Key West

This last week of training was in preparation for a bike ride I want to make to Key West. The walking around I did all last week was in case the bike breaks down or gets a flat, and I have to walk to the nearest bike shop or gas station.

Hey, let me see you change a tire on the Seven Mile bridge.

If all goes to plan, I depart the Caribbean Club in Key Largo on February 11th at 7:00am. Stay the night around Sombrero Beach, right before crossing the Seven Mile bridge. Get up on Friday the 12th, with fresh legs to tackle the rest of the way in to Key West.

I’m on a mountain bike, on a road bike, it’s a doable one day ride, but I want to explore, thus a whole day for each 50 mile stretch. I’d love to make it a week long trip down to Key West, but staying anywhere in the keys ain’t cheap and Irma wiped out a lot of campgrounds.

distance 34.76 miles


Homestead Miami Speedway

Made the trek to my storage in Homestead to get my bike.

Trek Fuel 70 at Homestead Miami Speedway

While down south, I decided to go for a calm ride around the area.

The Homestead Miami Speedway was making noise, so I ventured over.

While taking pics at the main entrance, the security guard lady asked if I wanted to come in and see the racing. Ventured in and it was GT type cars racing around, watched for some laps, headed back to my bike.

The headwind while heading east towards the speedway was intense, but it made for a very fast return west, 20+ mph. The Trek Fuel 70 is not made for speed, it’s made to get over obstacles and give you a nice off road ride.

Without the aid of wind at my back, I can cruise just fine at 15 mph. At that speed, I can get anywhere in the South Florida area in a decent time.

distance 15.37 miles