Tuesday, September 6, 2016

In Which Labor Day Becomes Cycle Day

Some large water birds with white bodies and black wings fly over the High Trestle Bridge on the High Trestle Trail Aug. 4, 2016.
Since I ride my bicycle to work, perhaps it’s appropriate that Labor Day weekend 2016 became something of a cycle-rama for me. As noted in my previous post, the MMU Bike Club took its first ride of the year Friday.

That was followed by a series of weekend rides—both Argent and Clarence were in use this weekend.

Saturday was High Trestle Trail day. We picked up Ben in Ames and met some other family members for dinner in Des Moines, and then hit the trail at Woodward. We were being lazy—starting our ride just 2.5 miles from the bridge.

I had felt a bit spent on Friday’s ride—got unnaturally heated and faint feeling and had to sit and rest for a bit. So I was glad to have the lighter bike—Argent—for Saturday’s ride. Fortunately, no return of the “faints” on any of the other bike rides.

For some in our party, Saturday’s journey was their first trip to this trail, and the High Trestle Bridge. You Iowa bikers know—if you haven’t done it yet, do it.

Me and Audrey (and son) on bridge.
We lingered on the overlook and bridge for a little while, and then proceeded east to Madrid, where we pulled off to find the local ice cream shop.

There was some sort of Labor Day weekend festival going on in Madrid, which made our trek to said shop a bit more complex than it usually would be, but we enjoyed the outing.

It was full dark by the time the last scoop of frozen dairy was ingested, and we headed back toward the bridge to see it lit up. Well, it was quite impressive. It was a beautiful, cool fall evening, and the bridge worked its magic. There may not have been that much shock, but there was some awe.

Still, I have to say that the ride on the dark trail was a bit dicey. It was surprising how many pedestrians were out in dark clothes, sans flashlight or any other illumination. And they weren’t alone—there were bikers riding without lights along a dark, tree-lined trail. Even some parents had little children with them, all riding along like owls in the dark.

Well, CR Biker does not approve. Waggle of my finger at you, fellow Iowans. If you ride (or walk) the High Trestle Trail at night, remember that only the bridge is lit up—not the several miles of trail you travel to get to the fridge. Bring lights, and use them.

Still, I’m sure we’ll include the trail again in future rides, and probably see the bridge at night. It’s just too darn much fun.

Sunday was a bit quieter. My wife and I put the baby seat on Clarence and rode the Boyson trail with our almost 9-month grandson. He enjoyed the outing, and we did, too.

Sunday, Sept. 4, on Boyson Trail. We are stopped on a bridge, and grandson is way more interested in the creek than in the camera.

Monday morning was the Mayors’ Bike Ride, an annual Cedar Rapids tradition. (I am never sure if it is mayor’s bike ride or mayors’—since more than one mayor usually attends, I’m just going with mayors’.)

Friendly stranger snapped a photo of our Mayors' Bike Ride group--me, grandson, daughter and sister.
In the past, I’ve ridden my bike to and from the event, but this year I took a 7-year-old grandson and had him ride a Tag-Along seat, so I opted to drive to the event. It was going to be the longest ride yet for any child using that seat—but the test ride went very well.

In fact, with some credibility, my daughter accused me of inviting her son simply so that I could obtain a second motor. The grandson who rode the ride became convinced, in the last mile, that we had to “win the race,” and he did pour on the power. I think I could have just put my feet on the bike and enjoyed the ride.

It was a fun ride, and it made a bit more news than usual, with 2 TV stations and the local paper covering it. Interesting how each chose a different angle. I think Channel 9 wins the TV contest just because the reporter didn’t feel obliged to ride a bike into the story, but then again, TV people “taking part” in their story is a particular pet peeve of mine. The Gazette’s story put the ride in the context of ongoing street projects in CR—true, too, of the TV stories, but that was more the central angle for the paper. I checked—as far as I can tell, I’m not in any of the video or images.


Well, even if it wasn’t as seen on TV, the weekend was a pleasurable bike fest. It was a nice way to cap off the biking summer.

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