Saturday, February 20, 2016

In Which I Picture the Warm Morning Miles

Today I present a photo essay on early spring rides: True, it’s February, and winter is not over yet, but recent days have felt spring like.

In fact, here are two biking signs of spring—neither Friday  nor today required a jacket for the ride to Mount Mercy University. And today I rode Argent, my fast bike, rather than Francis, my slower but commuter-friendly bike, due to its carrying capacity. I was willing to expose Francis to winter weather, but not my good RAGBRAI bicycle.

For no particular reason, on both morning rides I decided to photograph at the mile marks—miles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of my barely over 4-mile commute. One nice point—the computer on Francis is a bit sketchy and bonks out now and then, but Argent, which has a nicer, newer computer, basically showed the miles marks at exactly the same spots, which means even though I had to shake the computer on Francis several times Friday to wake it up again, it basically seems to have recorded the whole ride.

Anyway, what I saw Friday and today at miles marks on mild February mornings:

Mile 1: Street on the Rockwell-Collins campus.

Golden light of morning on street between Rockwell-Collins parking lots. Saturday morning, at end of mile 1. Selfie at basically the same spot (below), also Saturday. Friday photos didn't work as well at this point, but it was basically the same spot.

Mile 2: 42nd Street before I turn onto E Avenue.

Morning sun shines Friday on 42nd Street--end of mile 2--a wetter morning to ride than Saturday, which made me feel good about using Francis that day.

Mile 3: At corner of Zack Johnson Drive and Eastern Avenue.

What is my right hand doing in this Friday morning selfie? My poor right hand, it often does not know what it is doing. My brain seems only to be wired to my left hand.

Mile 4: On Friday, at base of sidewalk going up to Warde Hall. I rode up the Library Drive (Mercy Drive) on Saturday, but again the mile 4 mark fell basically at the base of the hill.

End of mile 4 Friday, above, about to ride up the hill on the sidewalk by Warde Hall. End of mile 4 Saturday, below, on Mercy Drive headed up to Busse Library. Hill is much longer near the library end of campus, but I was on the lighter bike that day, so the climb was actually easier.

I would not have guessed where the mile marks are. I always though of Kenwood School as my halfway point on my commute, but on the way to work, it’s well over halfway to MMU, which means, I presume, it’s less than halfway home coming from MMU.

Both mile 3 and mile 4 feel much longer to ride than mile 1 and 2. Mile 1 barely seems to count—I’m not even to Collins Road yet. I would not have guessed mile 2 ends on 42nd street, and both miles 3 and 4 have so many bends and twists that they feel as if I had ridden a long way during those miles. It’s in the final mile that I have the longest traffic waits, and maybe that’s a factor in how different the miles seem instead of what they actually are.

Well, there you have it, the miles marks on my morning ride. And the end of the two rides:

Bird on roof of Warde Hall watches me Friday morning. "Hey, pinky, want some poop on your bike?" I hope the hawks return to their nest on top of Warde Hall soon.

Luckily, bike rack is far enough away from Warde Hall that the resident dinosaurs didn't decorate it for me. Another sign of spring--when I start to park outside at MMU.

Saturday, parked at rack near Regina Hall, across Mercy Drive form the library and chapel.

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