Friday, May 30, 2014

In Which The Beast Becomes Your Beast of Burden

The kind of day it was. Looking towards Warde Hall from porch of Lundy, where The Beast was chained during my piano lesson. Picture perfect Iowa summer day.

Hope that started an ear worm for you. You’re welcome.

I didn't follow the plan that I outlined yesterday. I did not ride Fancy Bike to my piano lesson. Two granddaughters came over to stay with my wife and I today, and I didn't end up with time to tighten Fancy Bike’s brakes, and I won’t ride that bike until I can more effectively stop that wild mustang.

So the quick trip to MMU was via The Beast. I’m more at peace with The Beast—partly because I raised the seat some more, and that helps a bit. And I think I’m just growing acclimated to The Beast. I don’t know what the extended stay of Francis in the bike shop will do to my biking plans—I’m not sure I’m willing to use Fancy Bike on the Raccoon River Ride, and I’m hesitant to use The Beast.

Then again—it’s what, 50 miles or so? Hmmm. Maybe I’ll try a longer ride (with bike shorts on) and see if it’s possible to push The Beast that far.

Today’s ride was very pleasant, a beautiful, sunny, buggy, muggy, warm Iowa summer day. It was the first time I used bug repellent as well as sunscreen. The trip to and from campus was uneventful save for some road construction. I got home around 2:30 to find that my wife had left to pick up a third granddaughter from kindergarten.

She texted me and said granddaughter number two, my usual biking buddy, was balking at returning home while the wife did “girls’ day out” with the oldest granddaughter. I don’t have the front little kid seat when I don’t have Francis (I could not attach the support bar to The Beast due to its frame configuration—no room in front to attach the bar to—and even if I could, which I doubt, I wouldn’t dare put any intrusive hardware on Fancy Bike). However, we do have a bike trailer. And the hitch fit well on my wife’s bike, which is a Schwinn mountain bike. The Beast too is a Schwinn mountain bike.

What if I switched the hitch from wife’s bike to The Beast and took biking buddy granddaughter on a ride that way?

Well, the details were quickly ironed out. It was t work of 15 minutes or so to swatch the hitch, and honestly it only took that long because much of time was spent digging the trailer out of the garage. The hitch switch was quick and slick—without a hitch, one could say.

I'll always be your Beast of burden. I've biked for miles, my butt is hurting.I'll always, always, always, always be. Ain't I rough enough? Who-hoo. Ain't I tough enough? Who-Hoo.

I do prefer the front seat. I also prefer the bike attached to the front seat. Sooner or later, and I vote for sooner, Francis will be back.

But, again, let’s give The Beast some credit. I can again offer bike rides to grandchildren. And that’s a grand thing.
Mid-ride, the drone of The Beast's tires and the heat of the day--plus her failure to take a nape earlier due to antics of her younger sister--and this little 3-year-old is enjoying a snooze while grandpa pedals. She woke up in a good mood, but then again we were at a fast-food  restaurant to get ice cream, which could brighten anybody's mood.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In Which I Ride The Dream for 14 Miles

Fancy Bike in  bike rack at Warde Hall, MMU, today. Naturally back lit.

What is a commute like on Fancy Bike?

A dream, a dream within a dream, even a dweam within a dweam. It’s pretty good.

I took Jon’s Fancy Bike (a Cannondale, and why I didn't remember the brand name plastered so prominently on Fancy Bike earlier today, I don’t know) out of the garage this morning, lubed the chain and then pumped up the tires.

There was nowhere to put my briefcase, so I slung it over my shoulder. And I was off.

It took a few blocks to reacquaint myself with the gear shifts. And I’ll have to tighten Fancy Bike’s brakes, which you don’t really want to have very loose because if you start off on this horse, it’s going to want to gallop.

I like this style of handlebar. Many more ways to use.
And gallop it did. This Fancy Bike can run. While riding The Beast felt a bit slower than Francis, riding Fancy Bike is dramatically more different in the opposite direction. Several times I found myself thinking words like “sweet mother of Jesus that was fast, I better slow down” while riding Fancy Bike. I sometimes think things like that on Francis, but generally only on RAGBRAI and only on an impressive downhill stretch—not on my regular daily commute route.

I was still not the fastest bike on the trail during my afternoon ride home—one guy passed me riding a hybrid bike like Francis, and one very young buck even hurdled by on The Beast style mountain bike. But I was among the faster bikers and passed way more people than I usually do.

I only rode Fancy Bike 14 miles or so, because I had been busy and had less time today, but it was enough to boost my total miles in 2014 to more than 900. With luck, perhaps I will top 1,000 before May is over—that would take riding around 88 miles in two days—we shall see.

And when I ride to campus tomorrow? Sure, it will be on Fancy Bike. Later, if I tow some grandchildren using our bike trailer, it will be with either The Beast or Audrey’s bike. I’m not going to hitch a trailer to Fancy Bike. And if I do the Sac and Fox on Saturday, it will surely be on The Beast.

But I’m pretty happy that some of my biking miles while Francis is in the shop will be on Fancy Bike. I promise to both tighten the brakes and limit my use of Fancy Bike to only a few rides. But I am sure going to enjoy those rides.

The seat on Fancy Bike. Much more narrow than Francis, probably narrower than The Beast. Yet, almost as comfortable as Francis, and I am not sure why. Everything about Fancy Bike screams "cool," including the seat design.

In Which A Journey On Borrowed Bikes Begins

The Beast in my driveway before the afternoon ride Wednesday.

Francis is in the shop. I dropped him off there Tuesday afternoon, and walked home. Sadly, it looks like the bike shop will take about three weeks to get the repairs done—a tune up, new chain and new seat post.

This isn’t the worst time to lose the use of my bike—there are still two months left to get my RAGBRAI training miles in. And it’s not even all that big of a crisis, because I do have 3 other bicycles available for my use:
  • My wife’s 15-speed Schwinn. Yes, it’s a girl’s bike. Yes, I took ridiculous on it. I honestly don’t plan to use it much or at all, I’m only listing it because it’s in the garage and I could, technically, ride it.
  • My son’s 15-speed Schwinn. I rode it 20 miles Thursday. My butt has not forgiven me, but it is a bike I can ride. And yes, due to its style and size, I look almost as ridiculous on it as on the wife’s bike.
  • My other son’s gabagillion-speed Fancy Bike. It’s a road bike, brand not familiar to me (but then again, I don’t know what kind of bike Francis is, other than a hybrid). Indeed the Fancy Bike is by far the sexiest bike available, bar none. I am not even sure how many speeds it is—3 in front, 8 in back? That would make it a 24-speed. Anyway, I rode it today and will probably describe today’s journey in a later blog post, but it’s a bike with plenty of va-va-voom. I feel a bit guilty on it, like a 16-year-old borrowing Dad’s sports car. Strike that. A 16-year-old has no guilt. Like a 16-year-old should feel borrowing Dad’s sports car, but probably doesn’t.
Anyway, Wednesday morning started with a shakedown cruise, a 3-mile ride to and from the gym. I then spent part of the day, which was cloudy and threatening rain, working inside. By mid-afternoon, with the sun starting to shine, I gave up all thoughts of work and headed out on The Beast.

My regular bike is named “Francis.” Perhaps it says something about my attitude about this bicycle that it already has a name—“The Beast.”

It was, on some levels, a beastly Wednesday ride. The Beast’s seat is narrower than my very wide, eligible-for-restaurant-senior-discounts, butt likes. And unlike Francis, the seat doesn’t rest on a shock absorber, so any bump in the road is transmitted quickly and painfully to said sad butt.

And, I’m not used to this type of bike, with its wide knobby tires, tiny frame and different gearing. On Francis, my start up gear is 3-3—largest gear in front, third smallest in back. I ended up using 3-4 on The Beast, because it appears to be geared more to climb mountains and less to ride trails. I don’t often get Francis into 3-7, the “fastest” gear, but I often put the pedal to the highest push on The Beast.

I don’t have a speedometer on The Beast, and so I’m unsure of speed. It felt “slower” than Francis, but that’s just a feeling.

Anyway, for all its drawbacks, The Beast has a huge advantage: It’s a usable bike that is not in the shop right now. So Thursday afternoon, I took off towards Hiawatha, pumping away on The Beast.

The ride might have been a bit beastly, but smelled nice, thanks to both Honey Locust trees (one shown on Boyson Trail) and Honeysuckle bushes being in bloom.
My plan was to head north. Not for any particular reason, just because I have not gone beyond Lafayette yet this summer, and feel as if I ought to. But when I got to Robbins, the trail was marked “closed for repairs.” Other bikers and riders were ignoring the signs and using the clearly just-paved trail, but I was willing to follow any “turn back” signs that the universe gave me, so I turned back.

I rode down to the Noelridge Park area to head towards home. The cloud cover was intermittent, but consistent enough that I felt obligated to run with lights on after I paused at the park to give my backside a brief reprise.

As I neared home, I didn’t feel like I had ridden enough, so I made up for some of the “lost” miles by heading down the Lindale Trail to the Boyson Trail, and riding that whole trail complex (out to Menards, back to Hanna Park and then back to the north end of the trail).

I had climbed Mount Brentwood during my morning gym ride, and my sore butt was sending urgent pain memos, so I instead took the easiest route home—going to Kent and then Sussex and then Devonshire rather than ascending the mountain again.

How do I rate The Beast? Well, my son seems to have abandoned it, and is planning to buy a “nice” bike. I can’t say that I blame him. The Beast is definitely best as a second bicycle. But as a second bicycle? It’s a bit of a beast, but The Beast can be used, and that makes it OK.

I had ridden it for around 20 miles Wednesday. Saturday or so, I hope to use it on the Sac and Fox Trail, which I have not been on yet this season. Cate, are you in? No flood, so, I hope, less mud.

Today, I used the other son’s bike, Fancy Bike. I’ll blog about it later. And I’m sure if Francis ends up being in the shop for three weeks as planned, I’ll ride that sexy bike again.

But never on any day when it might rain. And never on the Sac and Fox trail. I’m too scared to use Fancy Bike much, but then again, I suspect that the commute home this afternoon may meander on the Cedar River Trail a bit.

I don’t often get to fly on this fast bike. And, while The Beast may be best for a dirt trail like Sac and Fox, on the road, a road bike is king.

When I’m on The Beast, I miss Francis. But if it weren’t for The Beast, I’d miss a lot of biking. So bottom line, no matter the pain to my bottom, I’m grateful you’re around, The Beast.

Near ride's end. Sun does it's spotlight thing through clouds over Bowman Woods School. There was some sun but also lots of clouds, but despite a few sprinkles, it never did rain.

Monday, May 26, 2014

In Which 24.4 Damp Miles Help Us Make RAGBRAI Plans

Shirt art for Team Joe 2014  by my talented oldest daughter, Amanda Moscou. It's awesome. By the way, other daughters, you're talented, too.

A feather, wet from drizzle, at the Boyson Road trailhead Sunday, May 25.

It's a common kind of bush that is blooming now, and this one is at the Boyson Road trail head. What is it?
Des Moines trikers, ready to ride the Cedar River Trail with Cate and I despite a bit of rain. Eldon and Brigid.

Team Joe, minus Sue who is in Florida and thus exempt, held an informal pre-RAGBRAI powwow, shakedown cruise ride on the Cedar River Trail Sunday.

Brigid and Eldon were in town because we had a family gathering Saturday in a state park. Sunday we met for a biker breakfast at Riley’s Cafe, and then I went to a granddaughter’s third birthday party. It’s possible I was eating like it already was RAGBRAI, which is not, honestly, a good idea.

Anyway, around 2 we gathered at the Boyson Road trail head where the Cedar River Trail meets the Cedar Valley Trail, and we headed south through Hiawatha and Cedar Rapids on the river trail.

I would say it was a fine day for a ride, but it wasn't exactly ideal. It was spitting rain. It never really got to be a full shower, and for that I’m grateful, and I will concede that being used to pushing through rain is a good RAGBRAI riding skill. So on we rode. We stopped briefly at Cedar Lake to chat with Paulette, and then pushed on to Tate-Cummins Park.

Heading north shortly after the turn around, whizzing along the damp trail. Rain is starting to let up, but any breeze shakes a lot of water from the trees. I think we are going 15 to 16 mph at this point.

It was getting on in the afternoon and the Des Moines guests didn't want to hit to road too late, so we turned around after feasting on salted nut rolls provided by Cate (she is some sort of biking snack guru).

Then, over a round of Fat Tire except for the designed Des Moines driver who had Coke, we stopped at the Sag Wagon and conferred (and also took the obligatory Sag Wagon biker selfie).

Sag Wagon selfie of Team Joe--Eldon, Brgid, Cate and I. Joe. The only one not in a "Team Joe" shirt. Figures, right? The hand sign is not "rock out" or "we worship Satan," it's the team signal for "bollards," which you encounter on the trail, it's a waning to the riders of wide trikes on our team.

Our tentative plans?

  • We will probably have 12 driving shifts. There would, in theory, be 14, two each day for a week, but two of the days are so short that we decided it is silly to have a meet-up on those days. With five team members, that means either two or three driving shifts for the week.
  • I am to get maps of the meet-up towns. We already planned to have Cate and I scout the final town a bit, which should help with meet-up on the final day. We might all go to Dubuque that day, because Brigid and Eldon have rented a motel room, and we can shower and then go out for a victory dinner. In any case, Cate or I will be the final driver, since we’ll have seen the final town. And we’ll have maps with us of all the meet-up towns. So, RAGBRAI, what are the meet-up towns this year?
  • We will change our camp routine a bit. There probably will be “packers” who will stay to help the driver get the camp put away. With five team members, two can leave right away, two help pack. We also discussed the need to improve our packing so that it’s not necessary to hunt for stuff as much or to move as much stuff to get a trike out of the vehicle.
  • Breakfast, most of the time, will be camp chow that we bring with us. We’ll have food so we can eat before hitting the road, and we won’t have the delay of hunting breakfast in the camping town. I don’t think that means we won’t ever eat in that town—it’s possible there might be an attractive, obvious option that we might take advantage of—but for the most part, we’ll calorie up quickly and hit the road.
  • Independence will probably be a camping town. We won’t be far from Cedar Rapids that night, but the next day is one of the most difficult rides and is also the final day—and getting on the road very quickly for that final days seems to be an important strategy.

There you have it. We’re still not quite settled on styles and colors for shirts, but my talented awesome oldest daughter did a grant design that we all love, see the top image on this post, so I’m sure shirts are coming. See more of Amanda's art  here and her art and poetry here. You an also read a fun story she collaborated on here.

After the meeting, the sky is turning sunny and the trail is drying off.

The 24-plus-mile ride Sunday was mostly wet, but it was drying off by the time of the Sag Wagon summit. It was actually sunny during the last leg of the ride.

May it be a good omen for RAGBRAI!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In Which I Am Well Beyond 800 Miles

Bike traffic at Lafayette. It was a popular evening on the trail.
 I rode 36 miles today, most of that in a long late afternoon ride with my sister Cate. And those 36 miles mean I have been in saddle for 823 miles so far in 2014.

That’s not 5,000 yet, but I closing in on 1,000 miles.

Around 4 this afternoon, I cycled over to Cate’s house, and then we went west to the trail. It’s possible we snuck through a technically closed street that had stymied me yesterday.

We headed north. Cate had gone to Lafayette yesterday, and that is where we headed. It was fine, sunny and in the 70s, although there was a bit of headwind. Still, we rested at Lafayette for a few minutes and then remounted for the ride back.

To make it a slightly longer ride, and to earn supper out at Culver’s, we went down and circled Cedar Lake before heading back north. We met my wife at the restaurant, enjoyed our meals, and then headed back homeward, with lights on as the evening was settling in. It was past 8 when I got home, and definitely getting cooler.

It was a grand ride, one of many I’m sure we’ll take this summer.

The other end of the ride. Cate takes a drink as we round Cedar Lake.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In Which Your Award-Winning Biker Rides 26 Miles

Oh no! Road closed. Well, getting there the quickest way was not the point today--I was trying to accumulate miles anyway.
The first ride of the summer-phlox and honeysuckle in bloom along the Cedar River Trail.

It’s not really summer yet. I didn’t have all day to ride—still some work to finish up, and I spent most of the day on campus. But I took some time getting there. I planned to use the Cedar River trail, but had a bit of a problem getting there. Northland, my usual street to Hiawatha to get to the trail, is blocked by road construction. I took the sidewalk on Council Street as far south as it goes, and then turned west on the street that leads to auto row (several car dealerships) to reach the trail.

The morning ride was 10 miles.
Mid-day view of Grotto Pond at MMU. What does it have to do with biking? It's on my bike blog, that's what. And I biked to get to the place where I took the photo.

I worked until around 4:30 or so, and then hit the trail again. I headed south, and as I went I just wondered what the Prairie Parks Fishery looks like this spring. So I checked. It’s cute, as always, and since it was getting past 5, the downtown traffic was pretty light. With that trail trip and then riding the Cedar River Trail home, my bike computer credited me with a bit over 26 miles for the day.
Reflection of the sun getting low over the Cedar River seen from Prairie Parks Fishery trail.

All in all, it was a decent ride, although I’ll have to get quite a few miles in the next week if my May mileage total will rival April. And I will have to go to the office several times during that week.

Honeysuckle (above) and phlox (below) are in bloom along Cedar River Trail.

Anyway, why your “award winning” biker? I won a major award. Not a leg lamp, but a $25 gift card to a local bike shop. It was from an employees who bike to work prize drawing at Mount Mercy last week. Thanks, MMU. I’m thinking that bags which match my back rack might be a good move for RAGBRAI. What do you think?
It's a major award! Well, it's $25 to pimp my ride for RAGBRAI, which is nice.

Friday, May 16, 2014

In Which I Sacrifice For This Safety Message

File from WikiCommons ( uploaded by Mark Buckawicki who says he doesn't need credit but got it anyway.

NPR used Facebook to share this cute bicycle-related story with some safety advice—true, it is not a great idea to “salmon”—but then made it hard for me to share this great advice on my blog.

If you click “share” on their web site, you get the options to share via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Hey, NPR, what about the blogosphere? It seems like an oddly narrow range of share options. And I always like the sites that have a “get the url” option so if you’re sharing on some site that they didn’t imagine, it’s all good.

Anyway, I wasn’t sure if their own link from Facebook was persistent or ephemeral, so I went back to their own home page and clicked to find the story again with a cleaner URL. You’re welcome.

So now I’m four paragraphs in and I haven’t even reacted to the story. Summary: I’ve never heard of “salmoning,” but I’ve seen it and it’s a bad thing. The “door zone” is a real danger—my only addition as a biker is that you can’t always ride away from parked cars—traffic won’t always allow it—but you do learn to watch said cars for signs of danger. Like a head ahead. And I’ve self-confessed that I’ve done the Idaho stop, although my Daddy, when he taught me to drive back in the 1970s, always cautioned me to avoid a “California stop,” which is when a car does what a biker usually does.

And now after this important safety message and deep runinations, I return you back to your biking life.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

In Which A Wednesday Meeting Helps Me Ride 20 Miles

What angers geese. A biker passes mama, papa and babies headed south, as I, headed north, photograph them near Cedar Lake. While riding. Probably not the wisest way to ride, but no baby geese were hurt.

The school year is coming to it’s very busy climax, and I’ll be super busy for the next 4 days or so. And then, suddenly, I won’t be busy at all. It’s odd, this academic rhythm. It’s a faculty thing—for staff, the university is more like any business, and summer means an early closing on Friday, but that’s all.

Anyway, I couldn’t ride Thursday due to rain. It wasn’t too wet in the morning, and it was only sprinkling when I came home in the early afternoon (taking a lot of work with me) … but I didn’t know that the rain would hold off, so I drove today.

But I rode yesterday. And we had a department meeting in a bar in Czech Village, so I pedaled down the Cedar River Trail through downtown. And on the way home, I took the 2-mile detour to get on the other side of Brentwood Drive’s hill for a bit of RAGBRAI practice. It seems appropriate, for that purpose, to climb the biggest hill at the end of a 20-mile ride.

Along the way, by Cedar Lake I noticed how “mean” the geese are now. It’s not a surprise, they turn much more aggressive this time of year every year—because late spring is when they have goslings to protect. And I suppose a huge mammal travelling along at 15 mph is a legitimate health risk to even an adult goose, let alone a little one.

So I got hissed at and one goose even spread his (or her) wings and jumped at me. I wasn’t that startled, didn’t have any goose-related accident or anything, but most of the time they’ll just hiss.

Well, even this cool week, it’s been good to get some miles in. After the late afternoon department year-end wrap up, I stopped at campus again and grabbed some files. Wednesday began around 8 a.m. and didn’t wrap up until well after midnight—senior grades were due today. More grading awaits, but I hope the weather allows me to travel to some graduation events as is only fitting in spring.

On two wheels.
Me, after the meeting, just about to head home. It's not THAT late since the sun doesn't set anymore until 8 or so, but it's latish and  cloudy, so I have lights on.

Monday, May 12, 2014

In Which Bike To Work Week Starts Out Too Wet

People leaving Warde Hall Monday afternoon. An empty and wet bike rack is off to the left, with no Francis in it. Maybe tomorrow.

Well, I missed chance at the brass ring today. They have a program at MMU where you can register each day this week that you commute by bike in a prize drawing for a gift card at a local bike shop.

Today, there was the threat of rain this morning following by the reality of rather strong storms this afternoon. I drove and I don’t regret it. “Bike to Work Week” is off to a bit of a slow start, but I’m sure I’ll be riding more as the week goes on.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In Which 17 Miles On A Fine Warm Day Pass Too Quickly

Tulip in my front yard, blooming along with  many daffodils and hyacinth on this warm summer-like day.

The busy weeks are here, and not that I begrudge the world a break, but it’s not terribly convenient to have it so beautiful outside when I have so much to do inside.

Still, I took the longer trail ride home, and before I got there, was waylaid by the siren song of the Lindale and Boyson trails. Near Mendards, a young boy was biking by clutching a bunch of bluebells—for mom or a special girl, I suppose.

Dogs and dog walkers and bikers and joggers were out in force—although I was a bit surprised to see so many more on the Boyson trail than on the Cedar River Trail. Of course, I was there later, and the Boyson Trail is close to lots of residential neighborhoods.

On the Cedar River Trail, I spied a lass who was wearing a Team Joe shirt. It was none other than my little sister Cate, who is doing lots of organizing for this year’s RAGBRAI ride.

Anyway, it was indeed a gorgeous day. I parked inside due to morning sprinkles, but a warm summer-like sun heated up the afternoon, and I drank almost my full water bottle.

The computer said 17 miles .And I did the Bowman Woods hill, too. Not bad for a busy Wednesday.

Monday, May 5, 2014

In Which Sweet Smells Accompany The Ride

Two views of pretty pink Magnolia tree in bloom on F Avenue. I have a magnolia in my back yard, but it's smaller and has darker flowers. Magnolias, whether pink or red, do swell sweet.

Early spring has a particular odor to it, and it’s not always pleasant. It’s sometimes the accumulated winter dog byproduct mixed with decaying worms on the sidewalk.

But we’re weeks past early spring now, and the air has taken a noticeable turn for the better. I was passing a magnolia tree on F Avenue NE, and stopped to snap some photos of its blooms partly due to the sweet smells this pretty pink tree was putting out. The tree is right by the street, so I couldn't help but notice it's flowers and their perfume.

I shot the magnolia in late afternoon light—it was pushing 7 by then. Later, as I was entering my house, I was impressed at how the setting sun made a blooming Rhododendron bush in my front yard positively glow.

It, the Rhododendron, doesn't give out an odor. At least it doesn't smell like a pear tree. And more sweet smells are on the way—peonies and lilacs have yet to bloom, and once those lilacs pop, well, the morning and evening bike commutes, already pleasant, will be even nicer.

Rhododendron at sunset. Another biking day comes to a close.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Which Wet May 1 Ride Pushes Me Past 600 Miles

Noticed this tree in bloom near the gym at MMU on my morning ride. When I walked over to it in the afternoon to take its picture, there were hundreds of bees. Springtime image.

The April rides ended before the month did—the start of this week was just too darn wet for bike commuting.

I don’t quite have the full dedication that Jenion has—she just completed riding 30 days in a row in April. Well, way to go.

Me, I skip the really wet or snowy days. But on May 1, it was sprinkling in the morning and I was really itching to ride. So, I did. And then, after I was at work, had one of those “thunk” moments where I didn’t’ actually strike my forehead because that would hurt and I don’t like pain, but I could have. I had a tour of the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s video facilities scheduled that afternoon and was planning to drive to work that day as a result.

So, mid-day on a day when I didn't really have the time to spare, I found myself biking like a mad man back home to get, of all things, a car. Forgive me, bike gods, but I knew I didn't have time to return for an evening class if I had been on two wheels.

Anyway, while the ride Wednesday morning pushed my year’s total past 600 miles, Friday was much grander. A beautiful spring day. The bee photo was one I shot in the afternoon before leaving campus, but I did notice the sweet blooming fruit tree on the bike trek up the hill Friday morning. The day finished with me meeting grandchildren at a park on Council and 74th streets, and having a pleasant ride home with one 3-year-old granddaughter, and then a short ride on the Lindale Trail with a 3-year-old grandson. (They are around 3, both have late May birthdays, don’t think they are 3 yet).

I don’t think I’m going to take the 31-day challenge—doubt I will ride every day in May. But maybe I could get to 500 miles this month. After all, I did 323.5 miles in April …
Miles in January, February, March and April. Was just shy of 600 until May 1 ride.
What the MMU bee tree was like--the noise in the video, by the way, is just wind on the mircrophone or passing traffic on Prairie Drive--the bees were very numerous and totally silent: