Once again we are pleased to share a Florida PANTHERS Event Report from our guest contributor Kathy Foster.
Something new was in the air at the sixth annual Florida Tandem Rally last weekend.
As approximately 50 tandems gathered under the portico of the Waterfront Inn in The Villages, club president Bob Thompson told us not to look up as we pedaled out. A drone would be taking pictures of us. Some of those pictures appeared later Saturday in an online article about the rally at villages-news.com.
Saturday’s 43-mile and 55-mile rides turned out to be the most challenging of the weekend. As one out-of-towner said, ” I didn’t think Florida had hills.”
These rides headed east toward the rolling hills in Lake and Marion counties. We’d fly down some of the hills, then pedal madly to get almost up the next. Our reward was sweeping views of Lake Weir, dotted with pastures and vacation cottages. Although not visible on this route, one of those houses was the hide-away where the FBI had a shootout with Ma Barker and her boys.
Saturday night’s banquet was held among a much more honorable history. The locale was the Eisenhower Recreational Center, where room after room showcased uniforms, medals and keepsakes from World War II, as well as World War I, the Korean War, Vietnam and other conflicts.
The rally wrapped up Sunday with a choice of two rides through flatter country. The temperature was perfect, with the sun behind clouds. The wind, which made the homestretch tough on Saturday, was missing. We also had police escorts to hold the traffic for us to cross busy highways.
The experience was a new one for several couples, like Mike and Mary Kay R., from Celebration, Fla., and George and Marti R. from Niceville, Fla.
“This is our first Villages visit. We’ve really enjoyed it,” said Marti R.
The PANTHERS, an acronym for Partners Aboard Neat Tandems Happily Enjoying Riding Simultaneously, sponsored the rally.
The next PANTHERS rally will be in Sebring, Fla., March 11-13, 2016. The seventh annual FTR will be Oct. 21-23, 2016, in The Villages.