Tuesday, January 22, 2013

For Once, It Was Just Too Cold

Worn looking bench where I took a short break before heading home.
Quoth the Raven: Get off my trail!
Well, on Monday, I did it for the first time this January.

I drove a car to work because it was too cold to ride. We’ve had a dry January, and even on fairly chilly days, I’ve been riding my bike. But not Monday, when the morning wind chills in Cedar Rapids were two digits below zero and the actual temperature struggled to get much above a goose egg all day.

I will bike when it’s zero and not windy. But this was around zero and very windy. No thanks.

Today, Tuesday, is between semesters, and I almost rode my bike to campus on this chilly afternoon—but I decided to drive at the last minute to save time (which I’m now wasting writing a blog post), and I drove because I may take a stack of spring books home to work on syllabi.

So, it’s nice to think back on Saturday, a slightly cool, windy day that was the final unseasonably warm day for a while.  It flirted with 50 that day, and despite cooling off a lot during my afternoon ride, it was still a good use of the day to get out on the trail.

I was not the only one to think that way. While much quieter than it would be during summer, the Cedar River Trail in Cedar Rapids nonetheless had quite a few bundled up bikers on Saturday.

I started out at 2 p.m. and headed south. I rode on the Cedar River Trail until almost 3:30, and made it just south of 73 Avenue Drive Southeast. It was pushing 3:30, and I assumed (correctly, as it turned out) that Audrey might want to go to Mass that night so we could Skype with Amanda on her 28th birthday.

I was looking for a turnaround spot—and a place to eat the granola bar I had brought along—when I spotted an old bench beside the trail. I wonder about its worn appearance, since the trail itself is not very old—but there it was and I was happy to sit on not-my-bike for a few minutes before heading home.

I had seen birds in abundance on the ride.  There was an odd moment on the trip home that happened just south of  the river in the Mount Trashmore area. A crowd of ravens were chattering and squawking in the brown, winter sleeping trees. I don’t know why.  They didn’t seem happy with either each other or a passing biker.

Then, a minutes later, after I had crossed the river, I met a group of geese ambling across the street by the new federal courthouse. Geese are not friendly, but I weaved my way through the crowd with barely a halfhearted hiss. You understand, I hope, that it was the geese hissing. I don’t hiss when I ride, although a tire of mine might when punctured—anyway, the geese didn’t bother to hiss much or threaten as they might have if goslings were around.

All in all, it was a pleasant ride despite the Hitchcock moments. Spring semester gets underway Thursday, but snow is possible, too. We’ll see if the new term brings as much biking as the old one did.

I like to bike, but I hope not. Rain will keep me from two wheels, and this spring, we desperately need rain.

Still, three hours of Saturday were well spent in a windy ride. And I did make it home, just in time to join Audrey at church.
Why did the goose cross the road? To get his picture in my blog, of course!

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