From Florida on Valentine’s Day

Member Gary Kazin, a “snowbird” who winters in Florida and is an avid cyclist, sent in this report from his travels this past Valentine’s Day:

We’re in Kissimmee, Florida, an appropriate destination for Valentine’s Day weekend, for the Florida Folk Dance Council’s Winter Camp, which started Friday evening and ends at noon Monday.  Eat (too much), sleep (too little), dance. . . .

I’m a ‘non-dancing spouse’ so I get breakfast and dinner and can do my thing during the day.  We’ve done this before and I bring my bike.  We start our travel a day early to sight-see northbound but go directly to Boca Raton on Monday.  I rode 42 miles Saturday to visit a state park northwest of here; the weather was great and the ride went well.

On the return, about 5 miles from the hotel, I was riding on a service road and heard a crash behind me.  A 63-year-old man had crashed an electric dirt bike; it apparently had gone off the edge of a sidewalk where the dirt had eroded away and the bike dropped about four inches.  The rider didn’t follow the bike down and went over the handlebars, falling to the ground ahead of it.  Some of these bikes can reach 30 mph and he had no helmet!

I went to him; he was conscious and complained of pain near his ribs.  I asked if he wanted me to call 9-1-1; he did.  While I called, another man came from a nearby Taco Bell and talked with him.  My call was transferred twice to reach the correct jurisdiction, Osceola County.  I told the other man not to move the injured man and don’t let him try to stand.

EMS and a fire truck arrived within 10 minutes of the crash and the other man left.  County police arrived a few minutes later.  EMS took control, getting the man on a back board and gathering his bike and equipment that had fallen from it.  They were very professional and ready to leave within five minutes and I let them know that!  I’d spent 15 minutes of my time helping someone in need.

It rained overnight and well into Sunday morning but cleared by 10 a.m.  The afternoon forecast was clear, so I decided to ride to downtown Kissimmee, about 15 miles each way.  All went well until I got there; a surprise shower hit.  I’d had a strong tailwind and didn’t relish riding back into the wind and rain.

Transportation in downtown Kissimmee is centered on the Amtrak station with Sunrail and a Lynx bus terminal next to it.  Lynx is the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, a 3-county agency: Orange, Osceola, and Seminole, essentially Greater Orlando.  Sunrail is a separate commuter rail agency with no weekend service.

I asked a bus driver which bus I would take me to my hotel, and about the fare and senior discounts.  Route 55, $2, $1 senior, show Florida ID; every half hour.  I might convince my driver to give me the $1 senior fare. . . .

As I waited under a shelter for my bus (less than 15 minutes), the driver came and gave me a transfer and pack of wipes!  Grateful thanks to him!

My bus soon arrived and I put the bike on its rack, gave in the transfer, and told the driver my destination.  He said it would be about an hour.  By departure time, the rain had ended, but not the wind.  We left on-time with me the sole passenger, soon remedied at other stops.  The bus never got to half full but had many riders for short distances.

We carried a man in a wheelchair a few miles; he is blind in one eye with other disabilities.  A younger man boarded with a scooter; an older man asked about it.  He used to cycle but his left arm does not work well and he can’t steer a bike; he thought the scooter might be good but then realized he couldn’t steer it, either.

We got to my stop about as promised and I took my bike from the rack, thanking the driver.  I had 18 miles when I reached my room in the hotel.

So my two rides each had a incident that fortunately wasn’t serious to me personally.  I was happy to help the man yesterday and hope he recovers quickly and let EMS know they were appreciated.  Kudos to Lynx for getting me back from downtown to my hotel!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *