Friday, November 30, 2012

In Which CR Biker Plans RAGBRAI 2013

They run a contest over at the RAGBRAI web site each year, in which contestants get to list what they think will be overnight towns in the next RAGBRAI.  The prize is a gift card to buy RAGBRAI stuff.

I don’t suppose I stand a chance, but here goes.  I decided to plan a RAGBRAI route and enter my fantasy towns.  Since the 2011 route was mostly middle of the state, and 2012 was a bit more northern, I decided to emphasize the south.  For no particularly good reason, I also decided that in 2013, RAGBRAI would end in Keokuk, just because it’s there in the extreme corner of Iowa.

Come Keokukians, join the fray.  Bring RAGBRAI to the soul patch of Iowa.

Anyway, if I had really been contrary, I would have started in Carter Lake, but even I’m not that crazy.  So, here is my proposed route for RAGBRAI 2013:

  • Sunday, Day 1-Missouri Valley to Atlantic.
  • Monday, Day 2-Atlantic to Winterset.
  • Tuesday, Day3-Winterset to Knoxville.
  • Wednesday, Day 4-Knoxville to Ottumwa.
  • Thursday, Day 5-Ottumwa to Fairfield.
  • Friday, Day 6-Fairfield to Keosaqua.
  • Saturday, Day 7-Keosaqua to Keokuk.

I’ve been to most, but not all, of those towns.  It involves some rather small overnight towns—Winterset and Keosaqua, for instance, and Missouri Valley is a pretty small beginning space, but if the towns go all out, a small place can be very nice.  The route would not really got through any Iowa “cities” at all, with Ottumwa being the “big” town.  Still, that would give it an interesting, rural flavor.  And Audrey is from north of Fairfield, so maybe the route would pass within a stone's throw of the old farm.

Why not?

1/27/12 update: They did choose a south route, I wasn't so very far off.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Which CR Biker Sees the Edge

I came close to regretting the morning commute, today.  The temperature was in the single digits, the first time this season that it has been that cold in Cedar Rapids.

It was cold.  There was a light breeze, which, when I faced the wrong direction, made it psycho cold.

But, I was prepared.  I had on the long underwear, two pairs of socks, a long-sleeved cotton shirt under a warm sweathshirt under my biking jacket.  I even had on a scarf, the final bit of bling that marks the edge of my winter gear.

And it was still cold.  My toes got a bit numb on the way in this morning.  The extremes of my body—my face and my toes—were not on board with the whole “let’s bike in insanely chilly weather” thing.

Still, the commute is only 30 minutes.  You can chill down a lot in that time when it’s that cold, but honestly, if you’re covered well you don’t really risk any true adversity.  When I got to campus, despite the bitching from my toes, by body overall was warm—I was even slightly sweaty.

And, yes, it’s another morning sky photo.  But why bike at all when it’s so cold?  Because I can.  Because I need the exercise.  Because it get to savor the morning sun that most car drivers barely notice as they barrel by.
Nov. 27 sunrise at intersection of Blair's Ferry Road and C Avenue at about 7:10 a.m. in the morning.  It was cold, but the sky was also cool.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Tyres And Some New Lights

Worn front tyre.  Brought bike into laundry room to change tyres.

Day before Thanksgiving, I went on a ride with my sister Cate.  She glanced at this tyre and noted it was worn looking.  Indeed.

The new tyres on the wheels, waiting for me to put the wheels back on the bike.  Hooray for easy release hubs!  they are leaning against the now-removed old back tyre.
Winter may feel like it’s here, for part of this week, although I understand there may be thunderstorms by the week’s end.

Yesterday afternoon, while my sweetie took a short pre-Mass nap, I spent about ½ hour putting new tires on my bike.  As you can see, both the front and back were well worn.  I didn’t get the cheapest new tires, but one step up, which were available with reflective white sidewalls.  The bike shop man also said the tread was better and would wear longer.

Anyway, I don’t enjoy changing tires and kind of dreaded this chore, and I was not sure I would finish in the half hour provided.  But, when I got to it, it wasn’t as bad as I expected—there were really no glitches, just a bit of grunting and pushing and messy jeans and hands to clean up afterwards.  It settled the issue of whether I needed a quick shower before Saturday night Mass.  I did.  And so often in life the chore we dread turns out not to be as bad as expected, although it's rare that such an easier than expected job involves tools, a least in my case.

Anyway, I have a minor regret about tires.   Rubber inflated tires were invented for bikes before they were used on cars (just as urban streets were built for bicycles and horses before autos arrived on the scene), and were first used in Britain.  Where, in the 19th century and today, they were spelled “tyres.”

Tyres—what an elegant little word.  It makes tires look tired.  Indeed, changing tires is a tiring process, but I still say that by the late 19th century we didn’t have any reason to mess up the spelling of newly coined words for new inventions.  Of course, the word “tire” or “tyre” probably long predates the pressurized rubber tires that are now used on bikes—but if the then newfangled pneumatic rubber tires were first spelled “tyre” by their inventor, that’s good enough for me.

So join the tyre revolution with me.  I don’t like the pretentious spelling of theater with an “re,” which is a British snobbish abomination that is way too popular on our side of the pond, and they can keep that extra “u” in color, thank you very much.  But tyre?

I don’t tire of that y.  It’s just funky and cool.

Tyre, tyre, tyre.  Dig it.  From now on, if it's for a bike, it's a tyre, OK?

Meanwhile, I further winter prepped Old Blackie with some new batteries in slightly fading lights.  Just in time for the Christmas season, I have 3 rear and 4 front lights, so I’m ready for dusky rides, like the one I had to campus tonight.

Where there were some new Christmas lights on the U plaza.  Tis the season when night bike rides will be more illuminated with the glow of colored lights, which is an aid to me in this, the darkest month of the biking year!
End of the ride around 5 p.m. Sunday--getting dark and Christmas lights shine on the U plaza at Mount Mercy University.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for Two Wheels and a Trail

Sunset over Blair's Ferry Road on Nov. 21.  End of a satisfying biking day on the eve of Thanksgiving.

On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I did a fair amount of biking.

I had a meeting with a student at MMU at 10 a.m., so I rode to campus.  It was promising to be a fine day—a day  not shrouded by fog, and though I like fog, that’s a pleasant change.

The student had to leave for work by 11 a.m., so I took off towards home.  On the way, I got a text from Audrey saying that she and Ben and the Sebers grandchildren (who had stayed overnight) were going to the Bowman Woods School playground.  What with one thing and another (three small children to prep), I intercepted them enroute.

They had brought the tot seat for my bike.  As the kids played, I attached it, and before lunch, Mr. T and I inspected the Boyson Trail, the side trail with the long K name and headed back to my house on the Lindale Trail.

My sister Cate texted me in the morning, asking if I wanted an afternoon ride.  After lunch and the Sebers kids all headed home with their mom, I took off for Cate’s, arriving there about 2:30.  We headed over to the Cedar River Trail south through downtown.  We toyed with the idea of taking in the Prairie Parks Fishery, but the shadows were getting long, the traffic downtown was unusually heavy, so we decided to stick to the trail and keep heading south.  We turned around at the park with the ball diamonds that’s by the power plan—Tate Cummins?  Don’t know if I’ve got it spelled correctly.

The light turned golden and pretty, and I thought of stopping to photograph the river, but we kept going.  By 42nd street on the return journey, we both switched on lights while waiting for the cross walk light.

I bade her so long as we head east into Cedar Rapids along North something, Northwood, Northlane, whatever that north street is.

Between the campus ride, trail ride and afternoon journey, I suppose I rode 35 miles or so.  I’m definitely not in RAGBRAI shape, as I had to pop some Advil for a sore back after I got home.

But, today is Thanksgiving.  As a biker, I’m thankful for this odd warm weather, for family to ride with, for excellent trails in Cedar Rapids that are getting better all the time.  And for my bike, which, as Cate notes, desperately needs new tires.

I’m against the whole concept of Black Friday, but I probably will be stopping at the bike shop—not for gift items, but just for some tires and chain lube.  I’m thankful for having worn out those tires—it was honestly done, and may I wear out the new set with more late fall and winter biking!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The World Emerges Slowly

Looking down MMU hill after I've locked my bike to a damp rack this morning.  Lights disappear in the mist.

A bicycle ride on a cool foggy morning:  The world is more acoustic than visual.  The lights of the street and cars are smears in yellows and whites, and shapes of trees, signs, houses emerge as if they were being extruded from some world-making machine.  Did I remember my towel?  Can I come up with the question for which the answer is 42?

Because the world is so visually muted, you almost expect sounds to be also muted, too, but it is not so.  There is a strange quiet to the morning commute, but it’s because most cars crawl along a bit, drivers straining to see beyond the grey barrier.  All except for that one jerk in the ugly black SUV who zooms across lanes and careens around the corner of Blairs Ferry and C Avenue.  I hope he emerges from the fog in the neighborhood of a police cruiser, and they stop his sorry butt.

A poet once said that fog comes in on little cat feet.  Carl Sandburg was wrong, of course.  Little cats are rambunctious and their feet go “thump, thump, thump.”  Fog comes on old cat feet, sneaking round like the old Tom who doesn’t want to arouse interest from those darn youngsters, and say away from my food bowl or you’ll find out my clawless front feet can still cuff you pretty hard.

I was a bit concerned about the commute this morning.  Of course, I ran with lights on and didn’t need sunglasses.  I have to cross several busy streets.  But, while the mist shrouded the world, it was a veil, not pea soup.  I could see well enough and the cars were going slow enough that it was actually one of the easiest rides I’ve had.

The misty air settled on me a bit, and I felt damp.  But I’ve had days where I had to stop to wipe my glasses.  This morning wasn’t like that.  The fog just added a bit of mystery to the ride, and the cool air felt pleasant, despite the damp.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Pleasure of Partly Unplanned Routes

New sign at Lindale Trail before the ride I didn't take on Sunday.  No more from this trail!

On Sunday, on the way home from the gym, I decided to ride along the Lindale Trail and photograph some new signs that mark the distances.  I texted Audrey, and it turned out she was at the C Avenue Park with Katy and her kids.  So I make a quick change and headed up to the park.

I picked up the child seat on my way to the park, and gave Tristan a ride to our house.  We then headed out to lunch.

I didn’t do the trail on Sunday, but that’s OK, it will still be there when I get there.  The unexpected route feature a nice interlude with grandkids, and that’s a welcome destination.

This morning, I headed out a little after 7—and had a class at 9:30.  It was a bit damp, since it had sprinkled overnight, but I found the siren call of the trail to be too loud, so, since I had time, I rode the Cedar River Trail.

As usual, the November morning sky put on a show.  The clouds were just starting to break as the sun was low in the southeast.  The sun shining through some gaps created a great nice spotlight effect.

Well, the route I didn’t expect turned out to be very pleasant.  For some reason, on this cool damp Monday before Thanksgiving, there was absolutely no other traffic on the trail.  Which is OK with me!
The spotlight sky this morning, seen on the Cedar River Trail in Hiawatha.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I’ll Have a Blue Christmas

The house of blue Christmas, seen Nov. 16, 2012.

Friday we picked up Ben in Ames, and then drove back to MMU so I could ride my bike home.  It was dark, but a fair, nice evening.

More Christmas lights are slowly appearing on the route, and I snapped this image of a house behind Kenwood School all decked out in blue.  I like the color, and the waxing moon that you can also see.

Christmas may be coming, but at least the biking weather it still good!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Enjoying A Bit of the In-Between Times

The moon, getting ready to set shortly after the sun has gone down, around 5 p.m. on Nov. 15, 2012, seen from a parking lot of Rockwell Collins on my route between Mount Mercy University and home.

On Tuesday, an ancient back injury flared up unexpectedly.

It was painful to walk around campus that day.  I had an afternoon committee meeting that involved phone interviews with candidates for an important post at MMU, and I’m not exactly sure how focused I was.  Lecturing that afternoon was a bit iffy.

My instinct was to want to go somewhere and either lie down or sit still with a hot pack in my lower back, where an old knot of muscle on the lower left side sometimes painfully seizes up, the tissue gathering itself in a painful hard little ball that won’t, just won’t, relax.  The muscle in question, which I injured about 1987 or so (1987!  Come on back, get over it!) has never completely healed, and when it gets tense, it can squeeze the huge nerve that serves my left leg, spending hot pokers of pain down that limb.

I felt a few of those, Tuesday.  Luckily, not has many as I have had at other times.  Anyway, I had bicycled to work that morning, as usual.  Early in the day, I bent over to pick up something in my office—nothing big or consequential, I think it was just a random piece of paper, when my trick back muscle suddenly shouted “HELLO!  Remember that time in 1987 when your oldest daughter was a toddler and she wanted to be picked up and you forgot what your dad always said about picking things up—bend your knees, not your back—and you bent over and she and you grabbed hold and you started to straighten up when—damn—something knotted up and shooting pain started and you were practically disabled and bent over until Audrey came home and gave you drugs and a hot pack?  Just in case you forgot—HELLO!  This is a nasty-gram from your back which has neither forgotten nor forgiven you!”

Well.  Ouch.  When it strikes, the pain makes several life activities more challenging—walking among them.  Walking up or down stairs in particular.  I painfully toddled around campus that day, even going to bell practice that night.  I was a little worried about bells—besides walking, the other hard thing is reaching for anything, especially with my right arm.  I don't have a theory about why reaching with my off-arm (I'm left handed) should so hurt in my lower left back, I just know it is so.  Trust me, I know.  I didn’t know how I would react to picking up bells.

The good news is that I hold the bells with arms folded, close to the body.  It’s not the kind of reaching, arm out motion that becomes especially painful.  So bells were OK, although I could not bend over to help put the bells away at the end of practice.

So, how was I to get home?  I contemplated calling Audrey for a rescue, but decided I would try biking it.

It was a stiff, painful ride home, but honestly, not that painful.  Riding the bike felt 10 times better than walking—the trek across campus to get to my bike, a distance of ¼ mile or so, was far more painful than the 4 ½ mile ride home.

Despite the great weather Wednesday, it was a back bike holiday, and I drove.  I’m back on two wheels now, and I rode Thursday.

The picture is of an in-between time Thursday evening.  I left work at 4:40 or so, so this is just about what 5 p.m. looks like about ¾ of the way from MMU to my house.  I took this picture in a Rockwell-Collins parking lot, looking west across the flat Iowa urban prairie to where the sun has already gone down and a newish moon is also headed to the horizon.

Naturally, everybody in Cedar Rapids experienced the sunset, but I got to see the sky turning slowly dark, going from colors of yellow to peach to blue to purple, because I was biking just after sunset.  Sometimes, the in-between times are the best, a good time to feel a little relaxed, to process the day, to simply use your body in a way car drivers miss out on.

And to be grateful for a day in which ancient injuries lie at least temporarily dormant.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Frosty First Winter Ride

Dry Creek, about 7:15 a.m. Nov. 12, 2012.  Not dry.  A buck has passed by.  Sorry you missed it.  I am glad we had 2 inches of rain Sunday--we sure needed it and it's nice to see a little water in this dry land.
OK, it was cold. So cold that I almost (almost) was in full winter regalia:  Long underwear, two pairs of socks, hood on under my helmet, winter gloves on my hands.

It was cold.  The thermometer sign at Walgreen's said it was 23, although that sign is usually of, shall we say, iffy veracity.  KCRG said it was upper teens in the countryside, low 20s in town.

Well, a brisk wind was blowing, and my ears and feet got a bit cool when I faced into the wind.  Sadly, the wind seemed to be from the southwest and I was heading west and south for pretty much my whole ride.

Still, the winter gear proved adequate.  What was I missing in my winter gear?  In the dead of winter, I’ll wear a long-sleeved shirt under a sweater or sweatshirt, and a scarf.

The ride was a bit rushed—I had to leave by 7:15 because I had an 8 a.m. appointment that I could not be late for.  But I stopped to snap a photo of the now wet Dry Creek from the C Avenue Bridge just south of my house.   A buck had crossed under the bridge and headed east—he was gone before I could unholster my Canon, but I like how the creek, with water in it for once, looked in the cold morning light.

The frozen puddle is at the corner of H and 30 something—may 33rd Street?  Whatever street runs to Elmhurst Country Club.

There were a few icy patches on the ride, but nothing that posed any real danger.  All in all, with the right clothes, not a bad ride.  Still, it’s OK with me if the howling winds either die down—at stay from the same direction.  I won’t mind a tailwind during the ride home in the dark tonight!
Frozen puddle by the side of the road.  But the pavement was mostly bare, not difficult to ride on at all.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Late Season Warm Day For a Ride

Cedar Valley Nature Trail headed north from Hiawatha--afternoon is still warm and lots of people are on the trail.
I don't know why I like this view of a telephone pole.  It's at "Schultz Road," where the pavement ends and I turned around.  Note there are more clouds now, got sprinkles now and then, too.
Lots of people had the same idea as I did.  At midday today, I raked my backyard for probably the last time this fall, but before that shot some pictures of pretty fall leaves.

You can check those out on Facebook.

Then, after lunch, I left home for a bike ride.  I headed north on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

I was dressed in shorts and a bike jersey—on Nov. 10!  It was warm, probably around 70.  As I rode, however, the wind picked up, the sky clouded over and even some sprinkles fell.  It never really got too cold, but had definitely chilled.

Still, as Saturdays in November go, it was a glorious day to be on the trail.  I didn’t got as far as Central City, but turned around when the trail pavement ended.

Heading back to Cedar Rapids meant riding into the wind, and I was climbing a “wind hill” the whole way.  There had been a lot more people on the trail earlier in the afternoon.  I got home just a bit before 4, and was riding with lights on.

I got to enjoy many critters along the ride--I stopped at one point to try to photograph a woodpecker, but it moved on too quickly.  I saw many birds, and in the dim light as I was headed home, a deer casually sauntered across the trail probably 20 yards ahead of me.

I’m glad I rode today.  The forecast is for a cold and rainy Sunday, followed by a chilly week next week.  The high temperature Monday is supposed to be 32 degrees—I’ll need warm socks that day!  Well, lets be grateful for a late fall fine day and a good trail to ride.
Sky in the west along an open stretch of the trail in the afternoon.  I think of it as a "God" sky with the beams of light showing through holes in the cloud cover.

The Road That I Used To Travel

The usual road home is blocked by an accident.

Sky before my ride seen at MMU.
I was biking home Friday at dusk—around 4:30, and when I turned to head north on Eastern, my usual route, I saw that there had been a traffic accident at the corner of Eastern and 29th Street.

Bummer.  I hope nobody was hurt.

Anyway, I proceeded along 27th to Lindale and turned north there, and ended up riding home on E Avenue in front of Kenwood School.  When I first started biking to work, this was my usual route, until I discovered the utility of the route that runs on quiet streets behind Kenwood School.

It’s odd how stuck on a route you can be when you regularly go from point A to point B.  You find a way that works and you’re comfortable with it for months or even years, and then an accident or road construction forces you to find another way.  Later, you have to decide if the old habitual route was best, or if you like the new one.

Because it avoids the school traffic and crosses two busy streets at better spots, I’ve taken to the new route.  It felt a bit weird riding the old one, like I was in a time machine going backwards.  The weather was nice and ride was fine, it just felt a bit “wrong,” like sitting in the wrong pew in church.

Which, I think, is a good idea, now and then.  Get out of your comfort zone and see the world or your bicycle route with new eyes from a new perspective.

I should do this now and then when there is no accident.
Most bugs are gone, but on a warmish afternoon, a few are around.  Saw this guy on the central campus of MMU as I was headed across campus to go get my bike and head home.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Day After The Election, Christmas is Here

The Christmas Deer appear, the day after the election.  Ho, ho, ho.

So, on a cool ride in the new morning dark, a light shone.  Not exactly like an unexpected new star.

It was a pair of deer in a yard on F Avenue, surely not a rare sight in this part of Iowa where deer are commonly found and often feast in yards.  But, these deer are different.  They are clearly Christmas deer, decorations for the holiday season.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunrise At Kenwood School

Sunrise in a cloudy sky this Monday.  Very pretty.
Yes, I know it’s been done—in fact, I did it myself last week—but please excuse yet one more picture of the morning sun at Kenwood School.

And, below, at the corner of 42nd Street and E Avenue, a bit north and a few minutes before the top photo.

Yes, it was a fine morning—warm compared to what we’ve had lately, lighter due to the weekend clock change and a bit damp.  Damp is not good news for a biker, but I can’t feel anything but good about wet in this drought year.

Happy Monday!  And welcome to the morning light/afternoon dark season.  I’ll be using my lights pretty much every day for the afternoon commute, and the midday sun will continue its cruise to southern climes.  Well, I hope Paraguay won’t feel too baked as they enter their late spring, early summer time in the southern hemisphere—Jon, is there any chance you’ll eventually get a bike down there?  For us in the north, we’re n the dark phase of the year.

Dark, but still practical for this bicycle rider until the ice and snow come.  Let us hope there’s not too much of that—even if I do like H2O from the sky!
Sideways, blogger, really?  The photo is not that way on my computer.  Anyway, sunrise at 42nd Street and E Avenue.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Cool, Cloudy Ride Turns Sunny

view of bridge on the trail.
Me and Mr. T on the the "brand new bridge."  He's too shy to look at the woman taking the photo.  Or perhaps just too focused on the creek.
Bare trees and clouds reflect in Indian Creek from what Tristan calls "the brand new bridge."
Late in the ride, headed north, towards the old railroad bridge.  Nice day in late fall.
There have been plenty of cool morning rides lately—an entire week of lows in the 20s.

That has made it a really good biking week.

When I got home Friday, the grandchildren had already arrived.  We were keeping Nikayla, Tristan and Amelia, ages 4, 2 and 1, overnight.  Tristan assured me that I was his friend, something he often tells me, and he bestows the title of “friend” very parsimoniously.  His grandmother, who he adores, is not his friend.  Neither are the most important people in his life, his parents.

Why do I earn the coveted, rare title of Friend of Tristan?  Well, when he tells me I’m his friend, he usually also explains:  “You take me on bike rides.”

Anyway, on Saturday mornings, Nikayla has a dance class, and Amelia, who often tries to emulate her older sister, loves to go watch.  So this morning, Audrey took the girls to dance, while I took the boy for a boy bonding journey, a friendship fiesta—a bike ride.

We started out about 9:30  It was cool and cloudy, fairly quiet on the trail.  After a week of frosts, the bugs are gone, though not the birds.  We had not gone far when we started to hear and see some birds, including a big red-headed woodpecker who landed on a dormant tree just beside the trail.  It was closer than I’m used to seeing this bird, and I stopped to try to take its photo, but it sped off.

No matter, on we went.  Tristan had asked that we go check on Thomas—he remembered a recent Wednesday ride when we headed down the Cedar River Trail to the railroad tracks near Cedar Lake.  I knew today I didn’t have time to ride down to Quaker Oats and back, so I suggested the Boyson Trail by pointing out that we could cross many bridges, and he agreed.

He was a bit subdued.  He had slept in and was in a contemplative mood.  He didn’t narrate the ride, as he usually does, but happily replied to my questions, and quietly commented now and then, such as noting that a “plane is in the sky” when we heard the sound of an small single-engine prop-powered aircraft.

We proceeded down the trail, crossing and recrossing the bridge that leads to the Marion High School football field.  I rode on the new trail down to Menards, and when we turned to go back, Tristan wanted to cross the “brand new bridge” again—it’s the longest bridge on the trail and Tristan calls it that because it was brand new the first time we crossed it.

We stopped at the bridge to watch the water and so I could take his picture.  A jogger came up, and asked us if we wanted her to take our picture.  I said “yes,” but then Tristan was too shy to look at the camera woman.

We headed down to the park end of the Boyson Trail and then north again.  When we got to the north end, Tristan said he was ready to go to grandma’s house, so we didn’t go back to the trail that goes behind Walgreens, but instead went directly home.

As we had ridden along, the sky slowly cleared, the wind died down and I was rather warm by the time we finished.  I think Mr. T was too—I had put leggings under his pants and two pairs of socks on him, and Audrey had found him a thin hat to wear under his helmet.

All in all, it was a very nice ride.  I took some pictures along the way.  The photo that I found most interesting was one of Tristan during our bridge stop.  He looks sad, and a tear is rolling down his cheek.  It’s a heartbreaking picture—boy of sadness—and totally misleading.  His mood was upbeat all ride long, even if a bit subdued—he was happy and pleased to be out on his bike seat.  I think he looks “sad” only because that’s his thoughtful face while he gazes at the stream.  He was happy to be there and I was glad to have him.  His older sister has outgrown the bike seat, and he is starting to get a bit tall for it, too—I’m afraid this will be his final fall riding this seat with his friend.  We do have a trailer that larger kids can sit in that we attach to Audrey’s bike, so I’ll still be able to take him biking some.

But, sometime in the months that follow, after he has turned 3, he’ll just be too big to ride on this seat anymore.

I know today his tear was not of sadness at all.  It’s just a reaction to the cool breeze of the ride and some dust in the air.

Yet it seemed to symbolize, to me, the coming end of our biking partnership, at least in his present form.  Granted, that’s not for a while—but that day will come.

For Christmas this year, I’ll be looking so see if I can find some other form of device to attach to my bike so I can continue in the new year to cycle with my friend—and hopefully with his older sister, too.  And the small seat in front will be for younger grandchildren, new biking friends of the future.

Why the tear?  He is not sad.  In fact, I think he loved the ride.

Friday, sunrise over Kenwood School.  The week has been full of this kind of morning--a good reason to be a biker.