Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In Which I’m Not Impressed By Bowling Street Trail

Saw MMU billboard near Kirkwood Community College while riding Bowling Street bike trail.

Well, that was an interesting ride. In the morning, I rode my bike to the gym, and then did a figure 8 loop in the neighborhood to climb the Brentwood Drive hill from both east and west.

And I snapped some photos of the storm devastation. Trees down. Streets blocked. Trail flooded. The June 30 storm in Cedar Rapids will long be recalled-sadly, it made the U.S. national news due to a teenager being swept away and drowned in the downpour.

I called my sister Cate, and she had much the same experience that I did—although many tree limbs were down in her neighborhood, she hadn't really suffered any damage. So I suggested a mid-day bike ride, and she agreed.

I puttered around a bit first. I removed the top third of a medium-sized tree that had snapped off in our back yard, and got rid of a few of the larger other branches. I also fussed with my bike, oiling the chain and tightening the rear brake. And I dug out my fake Camelback water source.

I had told my sister I would arrive around 11, but got to her house around 11:30. No worries, she’s used to “Joe time.” We headed over to the trail and headed north, figuring that the trails in town would be a mess.

Well, that was some storm. It hit in Johnson County, south of us, where I was at a mall with family. It smashed much of Cedar Rapids. And as we went north, the trail got more forested and messier. Only a few miles into the ride, we gave up and turned around—too many downed trees.

North on trail mid-day Tuesday. A bit messy, and it got worse.

Worse. Francis near where we turned around.

As expected, high water left many Cedar Rapids trails closed, but what was open in town was in better shape--not as many woodsy areas to be swamped in branches. So we headed south, avoiding the closed stretches of trail by the river, and crossing the bridge of the lions. Cate took me through Czech Village to a trail that I had not ridden before—the Bowling Street trail that leads to Kirkwood.

I was a bit underwhelmed. One of the original bike trails in Cedar Rapids, the Bowling Street Trail is old, bumpy and poorly marked. Cate says it’s a 3-mile shorter ride to Kirkwood then going along C east of campus, but I don’t know. I might ride 3 extra miles just to avoid that trail.

Well, it was there. Unlike the Cedar River Trail, which passes under Highway 30, the Bowling Street trail goes over the 4-lane highway, which makes for a nice view.

View of Highway 30 from Bowling Street trail.

After that, we headed to Ely and then back to Cedar Rapids. We used C Street to avoid the closed areas of the Cedar River Trail south of the river.

It was a nice ride. My bike fell over while we were carrying our bikes over downed trees, and it seems to have killed my computer, which is unfortunate. But, otherwise it was a good practice ride.

I've ridden more than 1,400 miles this year. And 47 of those were today. (By the way, if you look at the chart carefully, the totals don’t add up because today’s July miles are not included). I’m a bit behind in reaching my annual goal, but July should be the month with the most miles. I hope for many more 47-mile and more practice days ahead, weather willing!

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