Once again we are pleased to share a Florida PANTHERS Post-Event Report from our guest contributor Kathy Foster.
Reflecting on the best way to enjoy tandem rallies, some couples like to do them back to back. One week after the Southern Tandem Rally came the Florida Tandem Rally in The Villages, a sprawling retirement community near Ocala, Florida.
Several couples from northern climes turned the two events into a vacation. Among them were teams from Virginia, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Carolyn and Don Lane attended the STR in Cullman, Ala., took two days to drive to Florida, and then did some canoeing at Weeki-Wachee Springs State Park. They were back in The Villages in time to catch the pre-ride Friday morning. “This is our second year to attend the FTR,” said Carolyn, of Salem, N.H.
Following the trend at other rallies, the pre-ride had a moderate pace and a goal of keeping all the bicycles together. That’s not an easy feat when there are 17 bikes and peddlers of varying abilities. We rode some 25 miles through The Villages, taking advantage of roads with golf cart lanes when possible. Various members of the PANTHERS club led the way, including my husband, Bill, and I. When one couple got caught at a long light for a major highway crossing, Norm and Denise Shurak hung back to guide them. Afterward, we all gathered for coffee or cold drinks at the picnic tables in the open-air pavilion overlooking Lake Sumter.
That was the beginning of the PANTHERS fourth annual Florida Tandem Rally. The rally continued with afternoon registration and a Friday evening ice cream social featuring hand-scooped ice cream and lots of yummy toppings.
Beautiful weather with no wind and temperatures in the 60s greeted the crowd of bicyclists Saturday morning. They had gathered in front of the Waterfront Inn at Sumter Landing for the rider’s meeting at 8:45 a.m. before a mass start for the day’s rides. Participants rode together for the first four miles, and then split off on a choice of routes ranging from 36 to 62 miles around Ocala National Forest.
Still to come was a lunch with a choice of salads and hot entrees prepared to order at RJ Gators at Sumter Landing, then time for camaraderie before Saturday night’s banquet. There was still more riding to come Sunday morning in rural Sumter County. Read all the details of the Oct. 25th-Oct. 27th rally in an upcoming issue of DoubleTalk, the tandem magazine, or check for photos soon at www.floridatandemclub.org