Sunday, July 10, 2016

In Which I Check Out The West Side

Bridge of Lions is closed to auto traffic, but the east walkway is open so the Cedar River Trail is not blocked at this bridge.

Well, actually, I ride the west side of the Cedar River fairly often, whenever I cross the river on the Cedar River Trail. But today, just on a lark, I headed way out west, to the wild, wild west—Ellis Park.

I started the day’s ride, as most do, with climbing the Brentwood Drive Hill. Then, I rode to the trail and went south. It was fairly late, about 4, when I started, so I knew I wasn’t going for a long distance today.

I paused to eat some Cheez-Its at Tait Cummins Park. I didn’t plan to push on to Ely, but wanted a bit more of a ride, and that’s when it occurred to me that I hadn’t been out to Ellis Park.

Time to head north, again. The 16th Avenue Bridge, the Bridge of Lions, is indeed closed to car traffic, as feared, but they left a walkway open so that Cedar River Trail riders can still travel through, which is nice. When I got to the federal courthouse, rather than continue on the trail, I stayed on the walkway beside the river until I got to Third Avenue, which has some nice bike lanes on its bridge (although it also has some drain covers in those bike lanes that seem designed as bike traps).

Bike Lane on Third Avenue Bridge. Yes, thank you city, for a bike lane--but this does not look like a bike friendly street drain. Can the holes run the other direction--perpendicular rather than parallel to road?

I liked the ride on the west side out to Ellis, some of it along a well-placed bike path atop a flood control levee. I do wish that they improved and marked more of the walkways on this side of the river, so that the bike route went all the way from downtown out to Ellis Park, especially since it mostly does now, anyway, except for some gaps.

Anyway, along the way I was amused by the city-sponsored American Gothic statute, and also photographed the new CRST building downtown.

New CRST building on east side of river has taken shape.

City's Grant Wood American Gothic statue on west side of the river.

I liked my bike's shadow, so I took a photo of it. I've dismounted to take statue photo.

It was a warm afternoon for a ride, but very pleasant. There were many bikers on the trails, although fewer on the route to Ellis Park, which seems a bit of a shame.

In the end, I rode 39 miles and was home about 8:15.

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