Friday, March 13, 2015

In Which Spring Is Busting Out All Over

I showed the British Sea Power video “Machineries of Joy” in class this morning—we are talking about music and what songs mean to someone. I’ve used the video on this blog before, so I won’t repeat it, but this morning’s ride marked several firsts, which show that the joyful spring biking season is underway.

For one thing, because we’ve switched to Daylight Savings Time, I’m more likely to see the early morning sun. and it was very pretty coming up this morning. Not exactly a first, but the sun looked so nice and the air felt so good, that today, March 13, marks the first time I left my biking jacket at home on the morning ride.

Early morning sun shines through the trees growing near Dry Creek, seen from the C Avenue Bridge around 8:25 this morning.

It was in the 40s, and I’m not sure it was an excellent decision—I missed the jacket a bit, and the gloves even more, but still, somehow, it felt good to be riding a bit lighter.

As I crossed Blair’s Ferry Road at C Avenue, I noticed the first tracks in the mud. Some bicycle riders have been by, and I don’t like it that they left their mark. I’m usually pretty careful about staying on pavement anyway, but this is a bad time of year to stray—not only might you fall in the mud, but because the mud rests on a layer of still frozen soil, you can scrape a layer of grass off of a lawn during these March days. Please, bikers, stay on the pavement. I’m happy to report that none of the track are mine, even if I do bike this route.

Tracks in the mud. My bicycle did not make these, and I wish others wouldn't.

Spring arrived very suddenly, and although there is none in the forecast, it would not be a shock if we saw some more cold weather or snow. There’s a tradition in Iowa of having a blizzard during high school basketball state tournaments, and even if that hasn’t happened this year, it’s still March. Snow in early May is not pushing the averages too much.

Still, I always figure it’s really, really spring when the snow hills at Rockwell-Collins have melted. They haven’t yet. The snow mountain is still taller than I am, although I’m joyous at its daily shrinking size.

Snow hill in Rockwell-Collins parking lot. It probably has lost half its mass, but is still taller than me. It takes some time to melt this big blob of frozen water!
 A bit later in my ride, I paused to let traffic go by some utility worker. From a distance, I assumed that they were trimming a tree because I could hear the chainsaw. They weren’t—they were trimming a utility pole. I didn’t know you had to trim them with chainsaws—do they really grow?

Spring--more outdoor work going on. So watch out, bikers! Eastern Avenue this morning. (Why do they trim a telephone pole?)
And when I got to campus, the final pleasant spring first. I could have ridden Francis today, but have not stopped at the bike shop yet to get a new tube—so I’m still on the winter beater bike despite the warm weather.

Well, The Beast has been kind to me this winter. I’ve put in more miles than I had at this point last year, although, of course, that’s because, despite our extraordinary early March chill, last year’s winter was harsher and longer. But kudos to The Beast, too.

Anyway, the final spring first? The snow has melted from the bike rack. The first time it’s nice enough for me to park my bike outside Warde Hall.

Still waiting for those snow hills to melt, and I’m still betting we’ll see snowflakes again, but hooray for spring!

Sure sign of spring--I park The Beast in a bike rack, which recently was cleared of snow by Mother Nature. Below, as you can see, closer to Warde Hall there is still some snow to melt.

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