Friday, April 15, 2016

In Which Mother Nature Cooperates

Hawk atop Warde Hall watches MMU bikers.

Before today, events for the MMU Bike Club in April had not gone well. Two Friday bike rides were planned and then cancelled by cool days and brisk winds. A bike safety rodeo, set last weekend, was rescheduled to next weekend due to thunderstorms.

So it was nice today that the club finally could hit the road again in 2016.

As six students trickled in and checked out bikes at Lundy, I photographed a hawk watching the proceedings from a perch atop nearby Warde Hall. A bird pair has a nest on the Warde cupola, and it’s not unusual to see one keeping a hawk’s eye on campus this spring.

MMU Bike Club, first ride of 2016!

We took the obligatory club group shot before heading down city streets to the Cedar River Trail. It was a gorgeous afternoon—warm, but not hot, and although mostly sunny, just enough haze and clouds so that the light was not too bright.

Mark, our fearless leader, announced our destination.

Two views of Bike Club by Cedar Lake during ride into downtown Cedar Rapids.

Sweet dreams are made of these. A ride to the downtown candy shop! My wife was unable to join this first ride, due to off-campus events that ensured she would drive to MMU today—so despite that I had pumped her tires and gotten her bike ready to go, she had to sit this one out. By the tone of the text she sent CR Biker when she learned of our destination, she wished she would have been there.

Anyway, when we got to the shop, two of the six students on the ride decided to wait outside—they didn’t want any candy. The rest of us picked up various treats—even if my sweetie missed the ride, she did at least get some sweets out of the deal.

The ride back made the whole trek just over 7 miles, by my bike computer. It was probably a bit more than that, because the computer bonks out regularly these days and has to be slapped around to wake it up, so it probably missed a few tenths of a mile here and there.

Guaridans of the bikes.

Still, 7 miles on a warm spring day that felt like it was in the 70s—it was a nice first club ride.

And not the only good piece of news today for the bike club. CR Biker and MMU Communication Phil met this morning with our facilities crew at MMU to examine the U’s bikes and look at a trailer and pickup truck. The question was: Would they be able to take all of the bikes on a trip Saturday, April 23, to the High Trestle Trail?

After measuring a bike rack, determining that it indeed would fit on the trailer, and examining the bed of the pickup that would tow the trailer—the answer seemed clear, and good.

Returning to campus, crossing bridge that unites two parts of Cedar Lake.
We seem to be all systems go for the High Trestle Trail!

Central Iowans, friends and relative of CR Biker: The MMU Bike club plans to leave campus about noon next Saturday, arriving at the western end of the trail in Woodward around 3 p.m. If y’all by chance happen to want to ride the trail at the same time, it’s sure a free country!

The idea is to ride east, cross the bridge, and then pause in Madrid or Slater for a later afternoon repast. Again Central Iowans, what in the repast scene would you recommend? I see on the Interwebs that a bar in Madrid added a food wagon last year, but do you know if it’s open for the season yet? Or is there a place in Slater worth aiming for?

What are your suggestions, oh High Trestle Trail users?

Anyway, after the repast, we’ll ride some more, heading either east or west depending on the time. The idea is to spend enough hours on the trail so that the light of day is failing by the time we get back to the bridge—we are hoping to see it lit up in the early evening.

The meeting this morning made it seem like the plan is proceeding nicely. Of course, a major player in the whole thing is Mother Nature, who has a mixed relationship with the MMU BC so far in 2016.

Listen Mama N. We have the trail ride planned April 23, and the bike safety rodeo set the next day, April 24. Please, please, please, a nice weekend?

Sincerely, CR Biker.

Nice one, Mother Nature. CR Biker found, after his bike commute home, that this Rhododendron in front of his house just today started to bloom. May it be a good omen for the MMU Bike Club's upcoming adventures!

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