Author Topic: Austin to Key West--AM I NUTS?!  (Read 2625 times)

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Offline JuanEstrecho

Austin to Key West--AM I NUTS?!
« on: September 07, 2022, 12:07:38 pm »
Nooooooo! I'm retiring early next year after 43 years as a daily journalist and I deserve this ride! I just bought a shiny new Surly Disc Trucker and I plan to ride much of the Southern Tier, as well as some of my own routes.
1. I'll head eastbound in April 2023. While I expect headwinds through East Texas, tells me to expect onshore southerly winds for much of the ride, then a headwind when I reach Central Florida, a crosswind while I'm riding south to Miami, and a glorious tailwind as I cruise into Key West. Would anyone want to tell me their experience in terms of wind direction?
2. I've pedaled twice across Texas (which ain't a small feat between the lonesome hiways and the hopped-up F-150s) I have never pedaled this far along the Gulf Coast. Moreover, I will be 67 years old. WOULD ANYONE CARE TO OFFER ANY GENERAL ADVICE ON THIS TREK?
3. I am credit-carding the ride--no camping gear--and doing some WarmShowers. If you've done the Lower Tier, is there anything you brought that you wish you hadn't? Is there anything you did not bring that you wish you had?

I greatly appreciate any and all input. Bicycles Forever, brothers and sisters.

~~John in Austin

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Austin to Key West--AM I NUTS?!
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2022, 12:53:36 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums!

First, I love WeatherSpark but remember that these are averages.  I actually did a ride very similar to yours.  I rode from Miami, down to Key West, ferry over to Fort Myers, up the central part of the state, then it the coast east of Apalachicola and then hugged the coast to Freeport before heading toward Austin.  The only memorable winds were the section from Navarre Beach to Pensacola (which I have ridden again since the other tour) and both times I have ridden this very scenic section I had a strong tailwind (E>W).  If you want routes or info, you can private message me and I will be glad to help.

Additionally, elsewhere winds were not that strong.  As far as the distance, you already have enough experience.  Just imagine stringing together a few cross-Texas rides and you got your ride.  Your age really is not that unusual.  I regularly tour with people in their 70s and low 80s.  They are a bit slower and we do shorter daily distances but still.

I would suggest you check out the journals over at CycleBlaze and CrazyGuyonaBike and you should get a good idea as to what it is like. 

Finally, you might consider reversing the route.  That way you would have a better chance of favorable winds but as mentioned any wind direction is possible.  Plus you don't have to have a set time to get home by in case of weather, mechanical, or health delays.

One thing I would highly suggest is that if you hug the coast like I did and go through Tyndall Air Force Base (or any base for that matter), do not under any circumstances exit the base around 4:30pm on a Friday night.  I have ridden for 45+ years and that is easily one of my top 3 scariest times crossing that bridge when thousands of 20 something males are raring to get off work and head into town on a Friday night. Other times of the weeks are not so bad but definitely avoid Friday late afternoons.

Tailwinds, John


Offline texbiker

Re: Austin to Key West--AM I NUTS?!
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2022, 04:46:47 pm »
I like your bike trip. I rode the Florida Keys from North Key Largo to Key West in May this year. There are bike trails for a lot of the way with the 7 Mile Bridge just having a shoulder. I didn't ride over it this year but in 2017 I did. I didn't have any trouble on the bridge. The shoulder is about 6 ft. wide and traffic gave room. You can see some video of my days there on YouTube on my channel

My blog posts about my ride