Day 45: Daytona Beach to Lake Helen

Yesterday, after gathering my things and loading the bike, I bid farewell to Ana. I left her place around 7:30 and went to the Supreme Beans Coffee Shop to have a breakfast burrito, a cup of coffee, and a banana. The Hub Cycling doesn’t open until 10 AM so I had plenty of time. Merritt and I chatted on the phone for a while. Around 9:15, I left the coffee shop and cycled to the Dunkin’ Donuts that’s right next to the bike shop. I hung out there and ate a donut before the bike shop opened.

I met Steve, the owner. He told me it’ll be a while to build the back wheel since he has other customers before me. Then he loaned me a yellow Linus bike to cycle around town. I actually didn’t want to ride too far, so I went to get an early lunch at Rice Bistro, an American Chinese restaurant down the road. I had to wait outside the restaurant since it didn’t open until 11.

Linus loaner bike

I was the first customer at the restaurant and I had a double cooked pork, one of my favorite Chinese dishes. But the restaurant isn’t an authentic Chinese restaurant so they did the American version, which was subpar.

After the meal, I cycled around the residential neighborhood in the back of the mall, then went back to the bike shop to check on my bike. I told the associate that I’ll wait at the Dunkin’ Donuts next door.

One of many ponds in Florida

I had an iced latte while using the free wifi to catch up on a few things. Steve showed up about half a later and told me my bike was ready. He had put on stainless steel spokes on the back wheel, which should be stronger than aluminum. The total was about $158. I’m hoping there won’t be any more broken spokes on the rest of this trip.

Back wheel rebuilt and ready to ride!

It was 1:30 PM that I started riding to Lake Helen. The first half of the ride was good since I was on the road, but the second half was riding on a sandy road called Ranchette Road. I was using Google Maps this time since the East Coast Greenway continued down the Florida coast so I had to leave the route and use Google Maps to navigate west.

Ranchette Road was so sandy that my back wheel kept on slipping. After about three miles, I knew something was wrong. There were very few cars. As it turned out, I was on private property. I wondered why would Google Maps bring me to a private road, made no sense. After a few more miles the road disappeared and it turned into a trail in the woods. It was too late for me to turn back so I kept going. Then I saw a dead end where there’s a ditch between two mounts of dirt and a locked fence on the other side. I had to take off all the panniers and carry my bike over the mounts, cross the ditch, and carefully go around the gate to get to the other side. Then I had to come back and get my panniers.

Adventure on Google Maps

A short while after that, I came across another gate. This time, I saw a man not too far away on the other side of the fence. After getting his attention, I told him about my situation. He couldn’t believe that I went through the woods to get here.

His name is Eddie, a rancher who has lived 72 out of his 74 years in Florida. After helping me to get my bike through a space between the gate and the fence, Eddie told me he will drive me with my bike in the back of his truck to the road that goes to Lake Helen. This way, I’ll avoid the busy highway 44. I couldn’t believe Eddie’s kindness.

Eddie the rancher

After Eddie dropped me off on N Prevatt Avenue, I thanked him and rode all the way to my Warmshowers host Gary’s house in Lake Helen. I was the only one on the property. Gary had told me that I’ll be staying inside a camper that’s parked on the driveway, so I rested inside there for about half an hour.

My "house" for the night

At 5 PM, I rode to Papa’s Pizza and Subs for a meat pizza as my dinner. When I came back to the camper, I saw another car on the driveway. It was Gary’s daughter Megan’s car. When Megan came out of the house for a run, I introduced myself.

I rode a total of 30.6 miles. For the rest of the day, I listened to some music in the camper and soon passed out on the bed. I forgot to ask Megan for a blanket when I saw her. I ended up using my rain jacket as a blanket since it got colder during the night. Needless to say, I woke up a few time during the night and didn’t sleep well.

I woke up at 5 AM. I plan to get breakfast when there’s more light out. Then I’ll ride to Orlando.


  1. Glad you made it through the private property. You meet the nicest people. I would be so afraid he'd have a gun or an attack dog. All's well that ends well.

    1. I did see Eddie carrying a hand gun. But I wasn't too afraid since he was a friendly rancher trying to help me out. I didn't see any attack dogs. Darn!

  2. Glad you’re getting to meet all of these new people on your journey.

    1. That's the best part of an adventure!

  3. You may not have a lot of bicycle luck but you have people luck in spades. Considering all the nut cases out there in the news lately shooting people who even come into someone's yard, you are very fortunate to run across a person who drove you to the right road after you continued on private property. Maybe stick to the public roads next time.

    1. Yes, I've been lucky in meeting some wonderful people. I guess I have a knack for it. LOL! You are right, I should stick to public roads for sure.


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