Experimental music, photography, and adventures

More commute thoughts, water purification plant ride

Friday, March 30th, 2007

One thing I try to be conscious of when riding my bike to work is to have as little impact on other workers as possible. It’s sort of like the “leave no trace” philosophy applied to my workplace. I think the better I can do this without inconveniencing anyone else, the less likely I’ll be to have any problems. Not that I’ve had any problems — in fact, everyone has been very supportive of me in this endeavor.

I park my bike in a storage room. I try to keep the amount of dirt I track in there to a minimum, which should be easy. My tires stay pretty clean through the whole ride … that is, until I reach our parking lot.

Parking lot
Our brick parking lot is filthy.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but our parking lot contains a lot of dirt, gravel, and sometimes mud and standing water. I’m sure it’s difficult to clean, since it’s brick, but I’d really appreciate it if someone cleaned it. Thanks in advance.

Last night, I did the water purification plant ride again — I know that name doesn’t make it sound appealing, but it really is a beautiful route, it just happens to end up by the Water Works. I can optionally go down to the lake from there, but I usually don’t, because that would mean going down a big hill, turning around, and going right back up. It might be worth it to spend a few minutes at the park there, though.

Anyway, on my way out to the plant, I was riding on Smith Road, as I have many times before. I saw a rough spot in the pavement ahead of me, but it didn’t look too bad, so I just continued riding.

Rough spot on Smith Road. Also notice the signs; they make this road look more treacherous than it really is.

Well, the spot was rougher than I realized, and my bike shook a bit as I rode over it. One of my water bottles popped out of its cage and landed in the road! Fortunately, it rolled off the road, and I don’t think the car behind me hit it. I went a little further to find a place to turn around, and then went back to get the water bottle.

My water bottle laying on the grass

No harm seemed to be done to the water bottle. It’s a nice, insulated bottle, a Polar Bottle, and the lid did come loose a little bit (well, not really loose, but the threads were off). But even so, it only leaked a small amount of water. I tightened the cage and went on my way. I realize now that I’ve been putting my coffee mug in that cage, and I probably stretched it a little bit.

I also passed a teepee that I’ve seen many times before, but never photographed until now. I have no idea what its purpose is, but it’s just standing there in the middle of a big field. A couple on a tandem passed me as I photographed this teepee.

Mystery teepee

As I was getting close to the water purification plant, I was riding along and suddenly heard this scream in my ear. I looked to my left and saw a big pickup truck full of rednecks. And I do mean full, it was at redneck capacity. There were at least 3 in the cab, and at least 4 more in the bed of the truck. These guys were obviously really cool, all piling in a pickup truck and screaming at cyclists.

Patchwork Road
Patchwork road

As you can see, this road is pretty rough and hilly. But those things both really just add the the challenge, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not too rough to be a problem, but there are enough rough spots to keep you on your toes. You have to be careful, or you might lose a water bottle!

It was a great ride and a beautiful evening for one. The only complaint I have (other than the rednecks) is that there’s just a ton of roadkill out there right now, much of it decaying. So a lot of areas smell bad, and you have to be on the lookout for carcasses. There are also a fair number of bugs, which are a lot of fun to run into at 30 miles per hour. I’m getting better about keeping my mouth closed, but apparently I’m a real mouth breather when I’m riding, because it takes a concerted effort to keep my mouth closed so I won’t spoil my appetite with bugs.

7 Responses to “More commute thoughts, water purification plant ride”

  1. Sarah Says:

    That’s such a pretty route. I’m glad you go there often. Your work needs that parade in Holland where everyone in town washes the streets … Oh, and I want to say it before Van does … “heh, heh … you said pee”

  2. furiousBall Says:

    hehe….Sarah said you said pee

  3. Michelle in Alaska Says:

    I have forgotten what GREEN looks like! It is sooo nice. I commute to work after everything melts and am always careful about cleaning my bike before bringing it into my office – wipe everything down and then park it on a rug that I purchased. 1 complaint from someone and my parking privileges will be gone.

  4. Marty Says:

    Hmm, wasn’t I mentioning something like that the other day…? Morons are bad; a gaggle of morons is worse.

  5. john Says:

    The ride does look nice. It’s funny how road all over the country kind of look familiar.

    My last post about gas prices and stuff was intended to be ironic. Running the car for 40 minutes then compaining about the price of gas. You see, I have been preching about people warming up thier cars for a few weeks.

    Rednecks again huh? I’m surprised the road kill is around long enough to decompose with all those guys in pickup trucks. What do they eat now? Ohhhhh, I forgot about McDonalds.

  6. john Says:

    Sheesh. I wish these things had spell check.

  7. Fritz Says:

    “Water Purification Plant ride” — reminds me of the Platte River trail in Denver. North of Denver, this path winds by the Weyerhauser paper factor, a coal-fired power plant, the city sewage treatment facility, and other sources of the most interesting sights and smells.

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