Readers react to annual April Fools’ spoof

The story, “Winter Garden bans bicyclists,” was part of Observer Media Group’s annual April Fools’ spoofs.

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The story, “Winter Garden bans bicyclists,” was part of Observer Media Group’s annual April Fools’ spoofs, and it certainly caused a bit of a dust-up online. The story claimed Winter Garden city officials had banned bicyclists from riding in downtown Winter Garden. Instead, they would have to take apart their bicycles (after first purchasing tool kits from either the Winter Garden Station or Tildenville Outpost). Once the bicycle was disassembled, they would then carry the pieces in cardboard boxes through downtown.

We saw reactions of all kinds — ranging from incredulity and rage to complete joy and even disappointment that it wasn’t true. 

And yes, we even tricked a few readers. We’re sorry. … Kinda …

We hope our 2017 spoof gave you a laugh — we believe now, perhaps more than ever, we all could use one. And if you haven’t seen the story, you still can read it here

Here are some of our favorite responses to the story:

Just wanted to say thank you for the laugh — the April Fools’ Day article was a gem. My husband and I were duped for a solid 40 minutes (though perhaps I shouldn’t admit this). As we were discussing the article, and the enforceability of such an ordinance, we happened to drive through downtown. Just as I said, “Why are all of these people still on bikes,” it hit us, and we both had a really, really good laugh. I’m still chuckling about it. 

Thanks again! We’ll be on our toes next year. 
— Lindy Gordon

I must say — you got me. I live four blocks from downtown and love riding my bike here. I could not believe I could no longer ride my bike on the trail. The fine $5,000 should have given it away, but know I fell for it. Good going.
— Luis Velazquez

Too bad this was a joke. It’s a serious problem — maybe a life could have been saved. Not an April Fools’ joke. Just a stupid joke. (Whoever) came up with it is an idiot!
— Evelyn Rivera

I wish they would seriously ban them from the road or have patrols to pull them over and fine them for breaking the laws, but it appears getting them to comply and be good citizens is only a foolish idea.
— Michele Gustafson 

Sounds like George Bailey!
— Ward Britt 

If you don’t click onto any other part of the article you won’t find out that it’s an April Fools’ joke. It can cause problems because unfortunately, bikers are riding through the trail without regards for the rules at all right now and don’t stop when they are supposed to at stop signs on the trail. Cars can’t stop on a dime, you know.
— Linda Feeney

Got about a quarter of the way through, and I knew (it was a joke) when they started talking about carrying bikes in cardboard boxes!
— Becky Grieser 

I heard that baseball, Italian eateries, outdoor malls, barbecue, farmers markets and craft-beer establishments are also banned.
— Kyle Eazsol 

Please tell me this is a crazy April Fools’ joke. I can’t imagine Winter Garden without the West Orange Trail. What I loved most when I lived in Winter Garden was being able to run from my door to the trail.
— Rebekah Yates





Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

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