Day 39: Rest Day in Pensacola

Distance: nil

Song of the Day: Ramones — Baby I Love You

8AM: Ate eggs, bananas and OJ in Josh’s, no signs of Josh stirring in the adjacent bedroom until well after noon.

At 10AM we walked down from East Hill thru railroad tracks and concrete highway pillars that form an austere dominion in East Pensacola. Approaching downtown we pass a placard indexing Pensacola’s establishment in 1559: it harkens a history of warring colonies, Spanish presidios and the Muskogean peoples, all barely traceable after industrial boom-busts and 20th century tourism.

Enter Ride More Bicycles and encounter four bike-fit mechanics hoofing and lolling around, akin to muscled horses. It’s a quiet day in the store, I put them to work overhauling our two Salsa’s with the following list of observations:

  • Brakes squeaky and poorly calibrated; pads worn;
  • Wheels need truing; check spoke tensions as we’ve been winging it through spoke adjustments as we go;
  • Drivetrains are disgustingly dirty; Chains are probably stretched
  • My rear Pasela tire has a large tear, replace it with a Schwalbe Marathon Plus

While waiting for the bike repairs Lizzie and I squatted in a scaled-up hot dog restaurant and watched downhill mountain bikers fling down cliffs and crests in the Moab desert, some kind of Red Bull insanity competition. Josh woke up and biked down to meet us for sushi at The Fish House along Pensacola’s rapidly gentrifying piers. Southern gentrification works differently from its northern counterpart in discernible ways; in this case a single billionaire is mostly responsible for gobbling up pier district real estate and flooding it with Studer Group properties and storefronts, also rebuilding a posh YMCA.

Josh jets off to bartend Handlebar, Lizzie and I grab our newly polished bikes, everything feeling fresh again; I cycle down to Intracoastal Outfitters to pick up a new T Shirt, having torn my only ‘civilian’ shirt and smeared with with bike grease along with everything else I own.

Owner is a wonderful person who trades travel stories with me and helps me figure out an affordable option. I also pick up a pair of hard-foam Birkenstocks for $30 to replace my decrepit Quicksilver flip-flops.

Hours later I walk to the Publix supermarket to buy a couple sandwiches and some almond butter. I return to the house to give Liz her sandwich and we munch them in mid-evening stillness and prepare to return to our bikes in the morning.