Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for July, 2007

Bloomington Rails To Trails

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Last night, Sarah and I rode the Bloomington Rail-Trail with Avery (my nine-year-old nephew) and my mom. We called them on a whim and asked if anyone was interested in going. They both came, although unfortunately, my sister didn’t.

Avery had ridden the Clear Creek Trail a few times before, which is a paved path near the Rail-Trail. When we told him we would be riding on the unpaved, rocky/gravel trail, he got really excited. He thought that was super cool (and it is). It’s nowhere near a mountain biking trail, being very flat and straight, and mostly smooth. It also has fine gravel along most of it. It goes through some cool areas by woods, by a couple of farms, and follows Clear Creek, but it also goes past a few less-desireable features, including some kind of retained body of water that stinks. I’m not sure what that is.

Everyone had a blast, and I took some photos. I was impressed with how well Avery and my mom did, because I’m not sure either of them has ridden off the road before. Some highlights were riding through gaps with rocky cliffs on either side, a deer running across the trail just a little bit in front of Avery, wildflowers lining the trail, crossing the creek on the 1887 Harris Ford Bridge, going under State Road 37, and above all, a lot of smiles.

Avery speeding down the Rail-Trail

Mom and Sarah crossing Clear Creek on the bridge

Sarah as she should be — surrounded by wildflowers

Avery and me at the end of the trail

Avery, clearing a rock garden

I took Avery’s bike for a spin when we got back to mom’s

Just goofing around!

Riding with Andrew

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

I rode around Lake Lemon again last night, this time in the “forwards” direction. I was enjoying my ride a lot, and even made it up that very steep hill on North Shore Drive that I had never made it up before. I got very bogged down and was going very slowly, but I just kept on pedaling, and eventually I made it to the top. I could barely turn the pedals, though, and I was a little worried I’d hurt one of my knees. They seem to be fine.

Shortly after I turned onto Anderson Road, I saw a vague figure in the distance that appeared to be another cyclist. I decided to try to catch up with whomever it was. I didn’t ride too hard, but did pick up the pace a little bit. I would catch up a little bit, and then they’d pull away. I did gain ground overall, though, and as I got closer, I could see they had panniers on their bicycle.

Finally, I caught up, right where Anderson Road meets Old State Road 37. I asked the guy on the bike, who said his name was Andrew, if he was on some kind of tour — he told me he was just finishing one. He flew to Rochester, Minnesota to help his parents move, and was on his way back to Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives. I told him I was heading to Bloomington as well.

I rode with him for a while, and he told me about his trip. He rode from Rochester to somewhere in Wisconsin, then down to a town in Illinois a ways north of Chicago, thenĀ  to downtown Chicago. He took a train to South Bend from there, and upon arriving in South Bend at around noon, rode the 140 miles to Indianapolis. After that, he headed toward Bloomington on State Road 37, which I thought was a little crazy — it’s a fast, 4-lane highway. But he said it wasn’t that bad.

Andrew was riding a Surly Crosscheck. I asked if he liked it, and he said he loves it. It’s steel, for starters, which has a better ride. He said it’s very versatile, and that he uses it as a cross bike, touring bike, around-town bike, and beer-run bike. Sounds good to me.

It was cool to talk to someone who was doing a tour. It’s something I very much want to do someday. I like that this guy just picked up and did it. He wasn’t carrying a lot of stuff with him, and he wasn’t riding super fast, he just liked to ride. He stayed with friends all but one night of his tour, which sounds like a great way to go, if you know people in a lot of different places.

Andrew and I parted ways around Bethel Lane. I congratulated him on his tour, and he thanked me. There are a few riders I see regularly around here, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him again.

Not meant to ride today

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I had a distinct feeling this morning that I wasn’t meant to ride to work today. Everything was going wrong: I couldn’t find my tire levers and patch kit (I don’t like to go anywhere without them), I was out of coffee, I almost forgot to pump up my tires, and I was running late. The temptation to drive to work was strong, mostly so I wouldn’t be late. However, I really wanted to ride — especially since I only got to ride to work one day last week.

So, I decided to ride anyway. I figured if I was going to be late to work, I might as well hit the ground running once I got there, so I went to Starbucks. I was going to go through the “ride through,” but there were a bunch of cars backed up there, so I leaned my bicycle against the front window and went inside. There was only one person in line. I got my iced coffee and a scone (splurging calorically) and left.

I rode over to my usual route and kept going. I turned onto the path that runs through IU’s campus, which I have been taking lately since 7th Street is under construction, and I saw EMS people and firefighters everywhere, with police cars and ambulances along the path. It looked like they were gathered around someone on the ground. I turned around and left to find and alternate route to my alternate route.

As I rode up Jordan Ave., the car behind me seemed interested in passing me. However, I had just had a truck turn a little in front of me while I was in the bike lane, and we were approaching an intersection. I took the lane. After I rode through the intersection, I was going to turn left into the library’s parking lot. As I approached the turn, the guy passed me on the left (i.e. in the wrong lane), cut me off, and then turned left himself! He could have just waited for me to turn left and turned after me. I followed him into the parking lot and resisted the temptation to ride up to his car and give him a piece of my mind.

The rest of my trip was uneventful, but I ended up getting to work about 30 minutes late.

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