Sunday, January 11, 2015

In Which the Trail Beats the Sidewalk

My bike at the gym. Clearing the bike rack is not a priority.

It’s about 30 degrees out and sunny today. This sunny Sunday follows a relatively OK Saturday in which no big wind blew and no new snow fell, so I figured what the heck? If I’m going to go to the gym, why drive there?

I was tempted this morning to try to bike to church, but decided against it, since the sun would have not had enough time to work on the pavement. It's a good thing I waited to bike. The late morning (almost noon) ride to the gym proved a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be. My sidewalk is pretty clear—I had to scrape it off again Saturday due to snow that had drifted there Thursday and Friday, but it’s OK now. My neighbor to the west, on the other hand, has made zero effort to clear drifting snow, so I rode past my own house, and then hopped off and walked the bike through deep snow to get past the next house, and then hopped back on.

And rode up C Avenue hill. I don’t know when the sidewalk was cleared, but it’s pretty bad—soft, tan, sand-sodden snow—luckily it is cold enough that it’s at least not wet, but it was a pretty slow, careful climb up that hill on two wheels. Still, I think I rode pretty much the whole way up to Walgreens.

One of the spots along Blairs Ferry Road where the sidewalk required walking. I might have tried with a mountain bike.

When I got to the sidewalk along Blair’s Ferry Road, I was immediately stymied by deep sidewalk drifts in front of Unity Health’s home care location. Come on, St. Luke’s—shovel your walks. Anyway, there were several places along that street where I had to walk the bike, although I would say I probably cycled 75 percent of the way to the gym.

On the way home, for no particular reason other than I was not in any hurry to try to ride down the C Avenue hill through soft snow, I decided to check out the Lindale Trail. And, surprise, surprise the trail was in great shape. I got to Marion, went through some quiet residential streets to the western most branch of the Boyson Trail complex, and rode that route home, going over the Brentwood Hill. On the sidewalk along Boyson, when I got to Cedar Rapids, I had to walk my bike through 5-inch snow to get to Brentwood Drive. However, I still got to bike a lot more on the way home than I did on the way to the gym.

Near the west end of the Lindale Trail. Would that sidewalks looked like this.

When I got home, I got an old towel out of the garage and cleaned some of the road grime off of Francis as best I could.

Limestone side trail west of the main Boyson Trail in Marion. A bit of snow, but mostly clearly. Some rutted spots, but all of the trail was good enough to ride on.
I am hoping to get one of the mountain bikes in shape soon, which will make this kind of snowy ride a bit more practical, but at least I did manage about a 3-mile bike ride today, and that’s something.

Trail bridge over Dry Creek. Trust me, this is way better than the C Avenue Bridge in Cedar Rapids.

View of Dry Creek looking west from bridge on trail. It was the kind of day where you needed sunglasses due to the reflection off of the snow--but pretty nonetheless. Winter days like this are not bad, but would be better if sidewalks were clear!

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