Tuesday, December 27, 2016

In Which A Nice Ride Is Not As Planned

Here was the plan: For Christmas, my wife gave me, among other things, a set of new, bright bike lights. Argent, my road bike, is already fairly well lit, but I wanted better lights, especially a bright headlight, for Clarence, my commuting road bike.

So, Audrey kindly bought them for me.

In another piece of news that seems random but, in fact, is related: She is teaching a class in January that travels to England. “Healthcare in the UK” includes stops in Canterbury, where there is a university that has a coop deal with Mount Mercy, and a short stay in London.

For the trip, we purchased a new point-and-shoot digital camera. We figured she could use her phone for photos, but it’s nicer, sometimes, to have a camera—and that way she won’t have to fuss with charging her phone in England. They have different electricity there.

Anyway, so, although I lamented the lame state of winter biking in my most recent post, in fact this is a fairly dry, warm week. While I have to do prep work for my January class, my plan is also to get some biking done this week, too, since the weather seems cooperative.

And the plan for today was that I would install my new lights and take the “London camera” for a test drive. As it turned out, no, and no.

I didn’t get up super early this morning—I awoke after 7—and by the time I had a leisurely cup of coffee, it was after 8 when Audrey and I left to do our morning exercises at the gym. It was well after 9 when we started to return home, and we had to shower, dress and prep the house for some out-of-town visitors who were coming for lunch.

After a very pleasant lunch, we went to a couple of furniture stores—a storage bench we had used in our front entryway is now in a new three-season room we have added to the house, and we wanted a new bench for the entry.

We found one we liked at Tuesday Morning, but it wasn’t morning by the time we got home. It was after 3 p.m.

I opened the new light set and read the instructions, one of which was “fully charge before first use.” So I plugged the headlight, which is a rechargeable USB unit, in.

I also unpacked the new camera. Its battery wasn’t dead, but wasn’t all that lively, either. So I plugged it in.

And by then it was 4 p.m. on Dec. 27—an hour or so until dark.

So I gave up on plan A. Plan B was simply to take a bike ride. Given the time of day, I decided a trail ride was more prudent then a road ride, and I also wanted a fairly short route so I would be home before full dark.

So I headed south on the sidewalk by C Avenue, pausing at the C Avenue bridge to photograph a trio of deer who were traveling east along Dry Creek. They kindly stopped and posed for me.

Deer trio peeks at me as I photograph them from C Avenue bridge.
After that, I headed east down Lindale Trail to Boyson Trail, turned south, then turned onto the Krumbholtz Trail. I took it to the end and rode on city streets back to Hanna Park and then to the Boyson Trail.

I had been concerned that the trail, mostly a limestone route, would be mushy due to wet weather, but the winter ground is still pretty dry, apparently. It’s also pretty frozen, and there were many icy patches where I had to ride slowly and carefully. I was glad of my choice to bring Clarence rather than Argent—the trail was definitely not road bike ready.

Trail near Frisbee golf course. There were even icier patches, too, although overall the trail was fairly clear.
Unlike a winter ride several years ago on the same trails, I had no spills. I was on Francis then, and that heavier bike had a higher center of gravity. The lightness of Clarence and its lower build may have helped today, but I think there was also more ice when I went on the former ride. Anyway, today I was passed once by another biker who wished me a Merry Christmas, and saw several walkers—some just walking, some escorting dogs on their constitutionals.

Despite the ice, it was a nice, pretty winter ride. As you can see, Indian Creek, which I crossed several times on the route, was looking quite fetching in the early evening fading light.

View of creek and woods from bridge on Krumbholtz Trail.

Indian Creek near Menard's end of trail.

View of Indian Creek from bridge on Boyson Trail not far south of Hanna Park.
Plan A? When I got home after about an hour’s ride, both the new camera and the bike light were fully charged. We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

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