Monday, February 3, 2014

In Which A 4-Mile Journey Begins With A Quarter-Mile Hike

Near the top of the C Avenue hill, looking north back along the route that I have just walked. Good thing I was wearing Ben's snow boots!
Today is probably the only biking day of the week. There is snow in the forecast Tuesday, which rules out Tuesday and probably Wednesday. I’m driving to Des Moines Thursday, so that day and Friday are out, too.

So, if I was to get any miles in this week, it was going to be today. But it was a pretty poor start.

You see, we had snow Saturday morning, not a lot of snow, but snow. And I use a busy sidewalk on C Avenue on the first leg of my commuting route to Mount Mercy Univeristy—but it turns out that whatever crew, from the city, I assume, that clears this sidewalk must not work on Saturday afternoons or Sundays.

See the photo. I started off trying to ride up the hill. At the C Avenue bridge, I gave up and just trudged along, marching slowly up the hill, pushing my bike. For the record, CR Biker is not a hill walker. No matter how daunting the climb out of a river valley is on RAGBRAI, my philosophy is always riding is much faster and easier than walking. So, if I could have maintained balance and speed, I would have ridden up the C Avenue hill this morning, but I could not. Then, after the hill climb, I began my actual bike ride.

It was 10 degrees below zero, in good old American Fahrenheit. But very little wind. 10 below zero with still air actually feels much warmer than a windy zero, or even a windy 10 above. I didn’t feel particularly brave or foolish for biking in that temperature this morning--I was dressed in layers and pretty comfortable. I only wished for more (or any) snow plowing.

Well, the C Avenue sidewalk was the worst. Going behind Kenwood School, as usual, involved gliding down the hill, both feet on the ground as I boot-skated by. Eastern Avenue was made narrow by snow, but the traffic lane was fairly clear.

And then I go to MMU. See photo. Just for future reference, city of Cedar Rapids, this is what a sidewalk should look like 48 hours after a snowfall.

The end of the ride, the MMU hill near Warde Hall. Kudos, MMU maintenance. And I rode up this one.

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