Sunday, September 11, 2016

In Which I Contrast Three Days, Three Rides

Thursday ride--this is in the afternoon. Warm and muggy. Pretty sky as I head home. Corner of Blairs Ferry and C Avenue.
Despite global warming, there are signs of autumn here in the upper Midwest. For one thing, on a beautiful, slightly cool Saturday afternoon, when my wife and I were on the bike trail near Lowe Park in Marion, Iowa, the grasshoppers were like Donald Trump’s fake promises, orange hair and ego: huge.

It was the third of three rides in three days that provided some seasonal contrast.

On Thursday, it felt rather muggy and almost summer like warm. I arrived at campus a bit damp in the morning—I’ve considered wearing a different shirt for the ride and changing into a new one for class. It was that muggy. The day was sunny, and even if September shadows were a bit long, it felt very much like an Iowa summer.

Friday was decidedly different, especially the afternoon commute. Storms had rumbled through in the afternoon, but my bike was parked inside next to my office, so that was OK. In the early evening, just before 6, there was an opening in the radar view on my computer. Clearly, time to saddle up Clarence and ride like the wind.

Sprinkles fell on me as I departed Warde Hall, but as I rode on, the sky dried out. However, ominous grey and black colors were building in the west—you could tell a second powerful storm was nearing.

When I got to Rockwell-Collins, I decided to gamble and check out the new C Avenue. The southern part is open for parking lot access, so I rode there and headed north on the sidewalk along C. But it was closed where they are installing a new curb cut along the part of the street that is still under construction, so I had to detour around that part, which involved, briefly, crossing very mushy lawn.

New section of C Avenue--crossing at new traffic light. Looking south toward Collins Road.
 Sorry for the trench. I was in a bit of a hurry.

Anyway, I did make it. Less than five minutes after I parked Clarence, the skies opened and rain pounded down.

I did a little biking Saturday morning, going to and from the gym and climbing the Bowman Woods hill. But the afternoon ride was a bit farther and a bit unexpected. About 3 that afternoon, my daughter left home with her baby boy for a play date. I had expected to nap, and I knew we were planning to go to church at 4:30—but my wife said “why don’t we take a short bike ride?”

It was sunny and cool, the kind of beautiful day you sometimes get after a storm, but a bit cooler than a summer day. There was definitely fall in the air, and I wore blue jeans, not shorts, for this ride.

On Tower Terrace Road bike lane, headed towards turnoff to get to Lowe Park trail. Pretty Saturday afternoon.

As noted earlier, we went out to Lowe Park and back. In one direction, the ride was fine, although there was a brisk wind from the west, so there was some slogging up a wind hill.

Still, it was a very pleasant ride, and seems like a foretaste of fall rides to come. Cooler weather means more comfortable bike riding.

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