Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In Which We Brave the Darkest Day to Ride

Jon with both of our bikes at MMU 4 miles away from end of 18-mile ride.

Happy Winter Solstice day—shortest day of the year!

My son Jon, who recently moved to San Francisco and commutes there by bicycle and train, is visiting over Christmas. Today, I finally swapped pedals on Argent (Jon says I should have named my other bike, Francis, Tina so that together the bikes would be Argent-Tina—he inherited my sense of humor). So we had two bikes we could ride.

It was cold today—in the 30s, cloudy and breezy. It would be warm for biking in late December in most winters, but it felt like bitter Siberian weather in this odd, warm December. Anyway, it was about one in the afternoon when we were finally got ready to ride. (Swapping pedals involved a search for tools and then some language unfit for family consumption except at a Trump campaign stump speech.)

I was a gentleman and let Jon ride Argent. So I was on Tina—or rather, Francis. We headed over to the Cedar River Trail. As we rode south, we noticed Audrey and Nina at Dairy Queen in Hiawatha—Audrey tried to claim they were going to the library, but they don’t serve soft-serve at the library.

Anyway, we headed south. Along the way, we had to dodge some trucks on the trail—crews were out trimming brush for some utility project. But we made it to Cedar Lake and started circling counter clockwise. But at the south end, there was another truck blocking the trail, so we headed back the other way, and stopped at the Sag Wagon.

It appears Tuesday afternoons are old man day at the Sag Wagon. There were maybe half a dozen guys of about my vintage hanging out inside. They bartender brought us menus—I had a taco salad, Jon chose the beef sandwich. An older guy at a nearby table noticed my Mount Mercy shirt and said his daughter had graduated from there with a criminal justice degree. He was very friendly and chatted for a few minutes, and then said goodbye as he left.

“That never happens in California,” Jon noted.

There was some sort of local beer on sale for $1 draws, so we washed our lunch down with two each. It was some Turner Alley beer, and was good. Jon has a beer app, and rated it 3.75, which he said is a decent rating.

Then, we headed downtown to stop at a fancy candy shop before heading home. We took the non-trail route, which involves bike lanes and then streets, to head home. On the way, we rode by MMU and took a restroom break there, and then did the obligatory “we survived the ride up the steepest route on the Hill” ussie with the Catherine McAuley statue.

Ussie, two views. Me and Catherine and Jon.

It was around 4 by the time we shot the photo. On this, the shortest day of the year, it was time to turn on lights as we headed home. All in all, we rode about 18 miles, not a bad ride at all on the shortest afternoon of the year!

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