Thursday, June 7, 2018

In Which I Complete West Side River Inspection Ride

I was hoping to break 50 miles today, but alas, I ran out of time and did not get that many miles in. Still, I rode 42 miles in the 4 hours I had, and that wasn’t bad.

The ride started with two climbs of the neighborhood hill, before I headed over to the Cedar River Trail. My plan was to head south and check out Ellis Park, which I had not ridden to yet this year, and maybe head over to the Prairie Park Fishery.

The morning was very pleasant—milky sunshine, not too warm—as I rode around Cedar Lake. I shot some images there, just to try to illustrate the quality of the light. I think these look very “Rainman.”

Two view of morning sky as I ride paste Cedar Lake.

When I got downtown, I crossed over the river at Third Avenue, I think, and then headed west towards Ellis Park. By the time I got there, the day was getting sunnier and noticeably warmer.

I paused for a rest in a shelter there before heading on. As I returned east along the river, I looked across the river to a cottonwood tree on the far shore. And there is was, sitting in the upper branches.

Biking along Cedar River in Ellis Park.

Break time by river in Ellis Park.

Trail by river a mile or so east of park--you may not be able to see it well, but that bird in the sky is a bald eagle that seconds ago was roosting in one of those trees.
I stopped and got my camera out, but the bird took flight. It looked a bit like an eagle when it was sitting there, but when it jumped into the air, its white head and tail left no doubt. My point-and-shoot camera did not have enough zoom to get a good shot, but the eagle wheeled about the edge of the river for a while, and it was fun to watch it.

I continued east. They painted a bike lane on First Street on the west side, so I used that as far as it went—and it went as far as the corner where the Flying Weenie is located. I did not plan on lunch out today, but I duly noted where that bike path leads—I will have to take this route again.

Bike lane on First Street on west side of Cedar River. In Cedar Rapids, it's the "west side." To the rest of the world it looks "south," but Cedar Rapids is in its own odd compass-direction challenged zone.

Look where the bike lane ends! Sadly, it ended here about 10:30 a.m. and I was not hungry for a Chicago dog. I'll have to time my next trip down this bike lane differently.

I continued past the bike lane and veered off where C Avenue separates from First Street. At Czech Village, I cut back north a block to it the Cedar River Trail again. I decided, rather than crossing over and aiming for the Prairie Park Fishery, to stay on this side (I know some road projects make the route to the fishery from this direction a little more difficult, and that probably played into my decision).

I rode down to the last city park in Cedar Rapids and took my second off-the-bike break, eating a bag of nuts and renewing my water supply.

Shady park of Cedar River Trail east of Czech Village (above). My turn-around point, bike parked at last city park headed south.

I intended, then, to sprint home. But I felt a bit woozy by the time I got to J Avenue, so I sat in the shade in the park there for a few minutes for a final unplanned rest before finishing the ride.

It had grown humid and hot. I was glad, in a way, that I had a family obligation that afternoon.

All in all, while I wish I could have gotten to 50, it was a very pleasant 42-mle ride. The Ellis Park area is nice to visit now and then, and bonus if one of the eagles nesting across the river decides to put in an appearance.

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