L.O.S.T — Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail — Radshare Awareness Ride
“Where’d you all come from, Pahokee?”
Rob and I looked at each other, the sun cooking us so thoroughly it was hard to turn our heads and make eye contact with this man walking the dike.
“No, we came from Okeechobee…we’ve been pedaling for five hours…”
13.5 total hours of pedaling (split over two days).
A 90 degree high.
All while traversing a raised dike, with a canal on our left and the tenth largest lake in the US on the right (mind you, both waterways were infested with alligators), L.O.S.T (Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail) was what we chose to travel on the first Radshare awareness ride of 2023.
The mileage projection was 110 total but with an arcane map, several unexpected switchbacks, and some extremely inopportune pathways (loose, limestone gravel all while pedaling into a headwind), total mileage hit 122.
I think I can speak for both Rob Dolecki and Steve Crandall in saying that this ride was the most difficult long distance pedal we’ve ever done.
Would we do it again? Absolutely not…but are we incredibly stoked to have done it, most definitely.
Thanks to both Rob and Steve for the push. Personally, had I not had the two of them with me, for good conversation, empathizing in the difficulty, and reveling in the absurdity, there’s no way I would have been able to finish.
Following up my “43 bridges to 44” ride — Key Largo to Key West (2021), “The Pinellas Crawl” — A bmx Century ride (2022), the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (L.O.S.T) has been my third, yearly, Radshare Awareness ride.
In keeping with tradition, I did the whole route on my bmx bike with a 25/9 gear ration for the first leg (55 miles), and switching to a 30/9 for the second leg (67 miles).
And this year, thanks to Profile Racing and Sun Ringle rims, I did the whole route riding a Profile Mini front hub machined from plastic (delrin) laced to a Sun Duroc rim. Surprisingly, even after 12 to 15 miles of gravel, the hub ran incredibly smooth with no wear and tear.
A huge Thank YOU to Rob Dolecki and Steve Crandall for making this trip happen.
Thanks to Profile Racing, Sun Rims, and Dig Bmx for their support.
And thanks to RADshare for all they do: a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering local youth through programs that explore and celebrate the art of having fun.
To support the cause, check out their mission statement here: www.radshare.org
And if you’d like to donate to RADshare which aims to promote a safer bike culture by offering safety education, free helmets and dependable cycling equipment to underserved communities, click here: https://radshare.org/donate/
Thank YOU for the support.
— Matt Coplon