Experimental music, photography, and adventures

A beautiful evening Water Works ride

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

It’s getting more and more difficult to find time to ride, as we make preparations for our move. We are going to Wilkes-Barre this weekend to look at apartments, and of course we have all kinds of packing to do, and other arrangements to make. But last night after work I found time for a ride. I thought about doing something short in the interest of time, but selfishly chose to do the Water Works ride, one of my usual training routes that takes about an hour and a half.

Fall weather seems to be arriving. In fact, as of yesterday, it was suddenly a bit chilly, where it was around 80 degrees the day before. The sudden drop in temperatures made me realize that I need to get out my cold weather riding gear.

I am testing a new Blackburn Road Mirror, which attaches to the brake hood (see here). More on that in a minute.

I headed out a bit after 6:00, knowing it would get fairly dark as I rode, but took lights with me so I wouldn’t have to worry. As I rode up Smith Road, I found yet another short cut of sorts. Not that a shortcut is needed there, but it is nice to get off of the higher-traffic Smith Road and ride by a farm and a surprisingly-scenic new housing development. This route took me on gravel briefly, then on new, smooth roads through the residential area.

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Gravel drive off Smith Road

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Looking in the mirror

My ride was unventful for a while, but it sure was a beautiful evening to be out riding. I savored the experience, knowing I probably won’t be able to ride here much before we move. Someone was riding behind me for a while down Snoddy Road, but he peeled off and went down Moore’s Creek Road when I turned on Handy Road to head toward the Water Works plant. Along the way I saw a group of riders going the other way that I think may have been the “OWLS” group I’ve read about on the Bicycling in Bloomington blog.

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Riding on Handy Road

I reached the Water Works facility and turned onto Shady Side Drive, which gives some views of Lake Monroe and adds a little extra fun and easy mileage to the ride. I rode and peered out at the lake as I did so … the trees are turning a little bit. Soon it’ll be very colorful.

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Lake Monroe, viewed from Shady Side Dr.

I turned a corner and right in front of me was a handsome four-point buck, just staring at me. I rarely see bucks around here. They do organized hunts every couple of years to control the deer population around here, and I assume that is why I don’t see many bucks. It sounds bad, but really think these hunts are necessary … before they did them, the deer population was out of control. Many deer were starving, from a lack of food, and they were becoming a dangerous nuisance. I could be wrong on this point, though. Anyway, the point is, this was one handsome deer. I tried to get a photo, but didn’t get anything worthwhile. I rode around another corner and saw another buck, and a doe. They bounded off through a meadow and into the woods. Again, no decent photos.

I was at the turn-around point, so I headed back. Shady Side is, as you might expect, quite shady, and I felt a bit chilly. As I passed the Water Works facility, I realized I now had a bit of a headwind. Nothing unamanageable, but it made the next few miles a little harder.

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The Water Works facility, backlit

I made the long, fast descent down Moore’s Creek Road, “only” hitting 45 mph (last time, I hit 46). It was exhilarating. I rode on and stopped by Lake Monroe for a little bit longer than usual, to take some photos. It was a particularly beautiful evening, with the sun setting, and some beautiful reflections on the lake. The only other person I saw was a fisherman who seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.

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My bicycle by Lake Monroe

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Another bike shot

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Mirror, rocks, water

I walked along the shoreline to get a better view of the lake. As soon as I reached the end of the boat ramp, I saw a Great Blue Heron wading through the water. It was surprisingly close and didn’t seem to mind my presence. But I didn’t press my luck and try to get closer.

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Great Blue Heron in Lake Monroe

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One last shot of the lake

I pedaled on, looking over at the lake as I rode. I saw an egret in the lake, and a deer grazing near the water. It was a great night for wildlife.

I rode in the valley for a few minutes. It was getting fairly dark, so I turned on my lights.

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Barn

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Clouds

I made the long climb out of the valley, and saw a few more deer along the way. I was feeling a little chilly by this point in my ride, so I rode harder. This didn’t really work, since the faster I rode, the more wind I had to contend with. I didn’t mind too much, though, it was a welcome change to feel too cool, rather than hot.

I rode back through the same residential area. I paused to get a photo of a huge house by a pond with a fountain. Wow.

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A lovely neighborhood

Within a few minutes, I was home. What an awesome ride! It’s amazing to me that I’ve ridden this route so many times, yet each time, it’s different.

A few words on my mirror: it doesn’t really seem to interfere with riding in the brake hoods, which is nice. But it vibrates quite a bit, and sometimes that makes it hard to see what’s going on. Still, it’s better than nothing.

2 Responses to “A beautiful evening Water Works ride”

  1. furiousball Says:

    that shot down the gravel road. i gotta get on my bike this weekend. hafta.

  2. Sandra R Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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