Friday, May 13, 2016

In Which Every Road Is Under Repair

They are not kidding. It doesn't matter where you are or where you are trying to go ... sign on my morning ride.

Getting around CR by bicycle (or by car or bus or rickshaw) is getting more interesting these days.

For no particular reason—other than it was a pretty morning, I was leaving home a bit earlier than usual today and I felt the need to de-stress—I decided to take the longer, trail route to work.

I should have known better. Earlier this week, I drove to a reception at the Mount Mercy CRST Graduate Center on Wenig Road, and found J Avenue was closed. I had forgotten that point, which turned out to be more than a minor mental lapse.

Anyway, I was biking the down the Cedar River Trail, making good time. When I’m a little stressed, I tend to push it a bit, and I was frequently going faster than 20 mph—very fast for an old biker, even if I was indeed riding the fast road bike Argent and not the slow mountain bike The Beast.

Anyway, I had a rare experience. There was a man headed the same direction I was, riding a road bike, and I passed him. Trust me, that’s very rare. Mark this date down. Friday the 13th, full moon, slow bikers zooming—it’s that kind of day.

But when I flew across the wooden bridge at the big curve where the trail crosses the creek and itself (you CR bikers know exactly where I mean), something like a light bulb went off in my head. Or maybe it was an aging neuron demonically coming to life to send an urgent flash message of almost forgotten recent memory.

Oh fudge, I sort of thought. I may even have said something a little like that out loud. J Avenue is closed. As soon as I thought it, though, I figured it would be a minor annoyance. After leaving the trail on J, I’d simply head south a couple of blocks and end up going around to the other side of Daniels Park—nothing but an extra quarter mile or so on my ride.

Nope. Every cross street I tried was closed. I ended up heading back to the trail at H Avenue and heading downtown, with a plan to turn north at Third Street and take College through The Evil Empire (Coe College) before reaching MMU.

But wait, there’s more. My alternate route was no dice. Not only was every route towards MMU from the Cedar River Trail closed by construction, but a giant road project on First Avenue closed College and meant I was cycling north for blocks on a seedy alley, looking for a way to head back northwest to MMU.

I finally found an open cross street by the First Avenue HyVee. And I indeed did end up eventually going on the other side of Daniels Park—I just didn’t anticipate the multi-mile detour to get there.

OK, I wont’ complain much more. Streets in CR have been in horrible shape for years, and the city recently passed a special sales tax (which, by the way, car drivers, bicycle riders pay, too) to fix them.

I suppose a few adventures now are a small price to pay for better roads in the future.

Still, the 6-mile ride to reduce stress became a 12-mile trek that meant, instead of arriving on campus an hour before my first appointment with plenty of prep time for a final class, I arrived on campus 15 minutes before said appointment.

So much for stress reduction!

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