Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beetle Instead of Bike

Driving a VW Beetle, even a new one, is a little bit like riding a bicycle.

The vehicle is smaller than most cars, and puts you viscerally in touch with the road.

Of course, that was even more true with the "old school" Beetle, with it's air-cooled noisy engine in back and no power steering.

But still ...

If money were no object, I would probably drive a newer Beetle. Get one with manual transmission and it's pure driving pleasure. It's not a terrible practical car--it can suffer in a collision with a raccoon and it's clearance is just too low for an Iowa winter--but it's fun.

Anyway, it was too wet today to bike so I Beetled it. Honestly, I did enjoy getting to work a little earlier, but I did miss my afternoon ride home. Of course, today, as I describe on my other blog, I had to work late due to a city council meeting.

I missed my bike . But I liked my Beetle.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Night Rider

Had a late night Sunday--lots of backlogged grading--so could not ride on Monday, which was too bad. Weather was great.

Anyway, on Sunday I went to the office to print some information late in the afternoon and ended up leaving for home about 6.

It was dusky, but not yet dark, and the weather was so fine that I decided to take the trail route home--a 40-minute commute rather than my usual 25-minute route.

There was still enough light for me to see, but just enough dark to make it peaceful. Twilight is often my favorite time, and I've never ridden on the trail then before.

I may again. The air was just cooling off, as it does in fall in Iowa when the sun touches the horizon. There were many others on the trial--and it made me appreciate the lights that I have and use. As the day dims, it does become hard to see those who don't have their lights shining.

Well, here's to batteries and bike lights. And here's to cool fall twilights.

And most of all, total non sequitur, but here's to my granddaughter Lizzie who turns 1 on Tuesday. Read all about it at my daughter's awesome blog.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Heritage Trail

We're on fall break the second half of this week at Mount Mercy, so I have not been putting in a lot of saddle time.

But, today Audrey and I took a day trip to Dyserville, where we rode 6 miles of the Heritage Trail that goes from there to Dubuque. We could not ride more because the trail was closed and Audrey was getting a bit tired of riding.

It was a beautiful day for a ride and a pleasant picnic along the trail, and I hope we'll be back.

We also visited the famous Basilica in Dyserville, and I wrote about that on my other blog and posted photos on my Facebook page.

On the way home, we stopped and visited Brandon and Theresa. They have a very cute house on a nice acreage near Monticello, and I'm sure gardening will be a fun hobby next summer.

Brandon had to work, so it was just Audrey, Therese and I for supper, but we took Brandon's advice and when to McOtto's in Anamosa. An excellent suggestion--we enjoyed our food and sampled pie for desert.

No doubt, more than 12 miles will be needed to make up for that!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Rides Coming Up

Cate and I haven't nailed down our ride to Waterloo yet, but Audrey and I will do some biking over fall break.

It's been the perfect weather for riding lately. Shown are some sumac from the Cedar River trail in Cedar Rapids, a route I take sometimes as an alternative way home.

Fall is really in the air. Our ashes are done, and maples along the ride are coming into their glory. Iowa is not a particularly vibrant place in the fall--many of our oaks and other trees simply turn brown--but there are some bright spots.

And fall is the very best time to use a bike to get around. Fresh, clean morning air and beautiful scenery--and not really any of the winter challenges, yet.