Day 49: Tampa to St. Petersburg

The night before yesterday, I didn’t go out for dinner since the gyro platter filled me up during lunch. Cathi went to a concert in town and I went to bed quite late, around 10 PM. When I woke up yesterday morning I went to Martha’s Restaurant nearby for breakfast where I had eggs, ham, hash browns, and toast.

Cathi was awake when I came back. We chatted more about life and traveling. I really admire her because she did what she wanted to do and didn’t listen to any naysayers, especially her mom. Cathi also warned me about the Gandy bridge that I’ll be crossing when cycling to St. Petersburg. There will be a big shoulder, but with a lot of debris and the cars will go very fast on it, so I had to be careful.


I left Cathi’s house later than expected because Cathi and I talked so much, but St. Petersburg was only about 25 miles away. I rode into downtown Tampa to have a look. There were some skyscrapers and nothing interesting popped out at me since it was a Sunday morning. I rode on Bayshore Boulevard next to the bay for a while before getting on the Gandy bridge.

Downtown Tampa

Riding by the water

Cathi was right. The shoulder was big, there were a lot of debris, and the cars were going very fast. As I was riding, I had a fear that I would get a flat due to the debris so I made sure to avoid anything sharp on the bridge. I rode my bike about half way when I heard a hissing sound from my back tire. My fear came true, I had a flat on the rear tire right in the middle of the bridge.

Flat tire on the Gandy bridge

I set up my bike on the far right side of the shoulder and took the back wheel out. I tried to get the tire out, but one side was stuck on the rim. I ended up yanking the inner tube out. The hard part was to put a new tube in since I had only one side of the tire to work with. I tried for at least half an hour trying to put the new tube in using the tire lever but failed. Then I saw the new tube had a hole. Either the the hole was there to begin with or I mistakenly created it, I knew it’s useless to even put the tube in since it won’t inflate anyway. I decided to call Cathi for help.

After about 40 minutes, Cathi came to the rescue with her truck. We put the bike and the panniers on the truck bed and Cathi drove me to the Bike Room in St. Petersburg. I was lucky since the Bike Room closes at 1 PM and we got there around 12:30. No other bike shops were open on Sundays.

David, the bike mechanic, was able to get the tire off the rim and put on a a new rim tape and a new tube. He did it in less than 15 minutes. I bought an another spare tube just in case. The total cost was about $33. I was so glad that my bike was fixed so quickly.

David of the Bike Room

I thanked Cathi for helping me. Without her I would have walked my bike for 12 miles to St. Petersburg with a flat tire. I’ve met so many kind people who have helped me when I had bike trouble. First it was Lee from Riegelwood who picked me up in Elizabethtown when I had a broke spoke, now it’s Cathi who helped me, and every bike mechanic in between. Despite my bad luck with the rear wheel of my bike, I sure had some good luck with the people I met. Life is indeed an adventure!

Thank you, Cathi!

After parting with Cathi one more time, I rode my bike into St. Petersburg and arrived at Renda’s apartment building right in downtown. I only cycled for a total of about 17 miles from Tampa.

I was connected with Renda and her husband Bill by their son Eric. Eric had told me he couldn’t host because he’s on a bike tour himself, then he texted me and said that his mom Renda could.

After chatting with Renda and Bill about Eric, I realized that Eric and I had a lot in common. We both like traveling and Eric had already traveled the world. I felt like Eric is the younger version of myself, but more successful since he’s only 28 years old.

After taking a shower, I went to the roof top pool with Bill and hung out. Bill is a serial entrepreneur and started six businesses in his life. He currently has a company that employs over 200 people.

After the pool, I came back to the apartment to fold my laundry. Not long after, Renda’s friends, Marco and Sumiko, came over and we all went to the roof top to have dinner consisted of grilled corn, salmon, and watermelons. Marco and Sumiko work in real estate and they also like traveling. I’m so glad to meet these world citizens!

Sumiko, Renda, Bill, and Marco

After dinner, it was almost 9 PM. I had a great day despite a rear flat. I had to listen to what Cathi said to me before I left her house this morning. She said to enjoy the trip and not worry too much about the future. I’m still not sure what I’ll do after the wedding in Gainesville, but it’s useless to worry about it. I’ve been enjoying my trip despite all the bike issues and I’ve been blessed meeting great people.

This morning, I got up at 5. Watching the sunrise over St. Petersburg while writing this blog post is truly wonderful. I will be riding to Port Richey today and stay at an Airbnb.

Sunrise over St. Petersburg


  1. I think you have good luck meeting great people because you are a good person, too. But that Cathi is exceptional! Lucky you to have met her,

    1. Yes, Cathi is exceptional! I think you two would have so much to talk about since both of you have done much traveling.

    2. It sounds like you have met a lot of nice and interesting people. Be safe.


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