How to Get Horribly Lost
Every year a couple people get lost on the ride and are never seen again. (We tend to run a Darwinistic sort of ride, so...)
Here is how not to get lost.
We provide some great tools for you:
• Right before the ride we'll email you instructions on how to get GPS files of the routes for your smartphone or bike-mounted Garmin. Why do we wait so long to send this to you? Because we want to see the route one last time in person just in case there are any changes. The crew will be in Florida a few days in advance to check for you.
• We'll have printed route sheets for you.
• The route will be painted on the ground. Here's what the marks look like.
At each turn on the route there is a “turn soon” mark about a half-block before the turn, a “turn NOW” mark right at the turn, and a “go straight” mark right after the turn to let you know that you made the right decision.
We follow ONLY those marks.
NOTE! If there is ever a discrepency between the painted road marks, the printed route sheet, or the digital route files, ALWAYS follow the paint. ALWAYS!
SIDEWALK CHALK AND ADHESIVE ARROWS
We occasionally pedal through a small beautiful park. In those cases look for the same marks as above, but we will use sidewalk chalk and adhesive arrows on the ground to show you the way to go instead of spraypaint -- we want to show our respect for the locals.
THE WRONG MARKS
Now, take a look at these other road marks you might see on the route:
Those three marks all have one thing in common -- they have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR RIDE! They are from other events, or put there by the utility companies to show where to dig.
Whenever someone gets lost on the ride, if they survive I ask them what went wrong, and after they stop yelling at me, 50 percent of them say something such as this:
“Well, I was following your painted circle-marks all day, and then I saw this blue arrow going left, so I decided to follow it...”
• • •
Here’s the second-most common way that people get lost:
If you get to an intersection and see no mark at all (like in the picture above) that means to keep going straight -- we do not mark the road when we want you to just keep going straight.
Here is what we hear from the other 50 percent who get lost: “I was at this intersection and there was no mark, but I saw a lot of cars turning right, so I figured that I should turn right too.”
No! Bad dog! No biscuit!
• • •
AND THEN THERE WERE NO MARKS AT ALL!
When we pedal from Miami to Homesteasd, FL, we'll have lots and lots of road marks.
And we'll mark the beginning of the next day of pedaling as we leave Homestead, FL. But after that there isn't a single turn for about 130 miles!
At the end of that day's ride we'll have plenty of marks to show you where to turn to reach the resort where we are staying.
Finally, on our last day we'll have lots of marks as we enter Key West to show you where to meet us for lunch and drinks.
WHAT IF I GET HORRIBLY LOST?
Don't panic! We will give you the phone number you can use to reach the staff. You should CALL -- DO NOT TEXT! (When things are busy we might not see a text message coming in, but we won't miss a ringing phone!)
If possible you should know the street address where you are standing. ("I'm at a McDonald's at 4302 Coastal Highway.")
Once we hit that long main road, the locals like to talk in terms of mile markers. "Have you tried that new restaurant at Mile Marker 47?" So you can always tell us, "I'm at the CVS store at Mile Marker 54."
We are happy to come give you a lift.
Clear as mud? You bet!