Jojo and I got a wild hare after traveling down Kerr Creek to the end. Normally we would go up Getty’s Creek Road, or go over the ridge on Fleener and travel up Brummet’s Creek. But being in a good mood, we decided to portage our bikes straight up the ridge to Birdie Galyon, which was not so bad really, as we had a well defined old logging rood to follow. So we turned north to and headed toward Mt. Gilead. Now normally the dirt “road” can be wet, but in today, it was really a mess, but we soldiered on. We weer 2/3 through when we came to where a logging company had been working, great slashes of mud 50 feet wide, with cut and broken trees everywhere. We waded across the muddy mess handing our bikes across the murky expanses to each other till finally we were past the worst, and finally road through the forest onto a civilized gravel road. Being a muddy mess, we peddled past Jen & Emily’s house and heades straight to Shilo Road, where we talked to Keith’s macaw and Jojo took Max for a 2 pawed walk in the woods. We then heade back to town, cut across on Miller to Robinson, and just about died trying to climb hill every bit as steep and long as Boltinghouse, try it sometime, you’ll like it!
Ok, this is the first week of January, 2007, and we just rode an easy 25 miles, starting south past the YMCA along the bike route, across Jackson Creek and past the school, up Rhorer Rd. hill to ride south on Harrell Rd., go left and past the Road Closed signs at the beginning of Stipp Road at Handy. We had ridden through the water over the road last week, it was about 6 inches at the most, and we did not get wet.
After this week’s rain, the road was impassable. I tried. I got out about 50 feet and Jojo yelled that the water was nearly at my seat. I tried to turn, but there was not enough road, and I finally had to stand up, knee deep in the water. I walked my bike back to the dry road, taking a picture about half way back to prove I was there. Jojo is giving me the thumbs up, he was happy I had not fallen over! So we climbed back up Stipp Road and back the way we came.
As we came over the hill into the park by Jackson Creek, we heard a bunch of firecracker sounds, and as we came across the bridge by the tennis courts, there were about 5 middle school age boys lighting firecrackers. As we came up near them, one boy threw a lit cracker at his buddy, who turned and it blew up on this back. They all laughed and moved on up the path.
25 miles, 11.5mph
Temp: 40, Cloudy to party cloudy
High water at Stipp/Moores Creek
2 water cascades running off the ridges
Silence at Stipp & Moores Pike, no vehicles or boats, no wind
First cold water dip of 2007
3 whitetail deer
When I started working for the Bloomington Voice in the late 90’s I was thoroughly tired of driving the streets of Bloomington as I had for the last 15 years as a building contractor. A day with only one trip the lumberyard was rare, and jobs were scattered in every direction.
While we live just south of the campus, the Voice office was on S. Old 37, just north of Rhorer Rd., so I bought an old 3 speed Raleigh like I had as a kid in the early 60’s. I rode that every day for about a year till we moved downtown. It got in much better shape, and started doing short rides like riding out to Griffey and up the hill to Bethel lane, and back across to Cascades and into town. I kept expanding, but needed a better bike, and so bought a Trek hybrid. This was great for commuting, but I also started riding 2-3 times a week for 25-45 miles, I averaged about 200 mi/week for several months. That winter I not only felt all that riding in my wrists, but also in my neck, which was unbearable for several weeks. I related this to my posture while riding coupled with new work on a computer while using my bifocals, I was holding my head back to use the bifocals in just the same way as I held my head while riding.
So I tried out Kevin Atkin’s recumbents that spring, and I was sold. You don’t understand how uncomfortable bike riding is till you try a recumbent. No wrist pain or numbness, no neck pain, and no pressure and numbness in the crotch. I’ve been riding it ever since, both in town and for long rides. People ask if it is harder to ride, and the answer is yes and no. There are definitely different skills needed, everything is done with the legs, no help from your weight (you can’s stand up to pump), and you can’t pull on the handlebars. You need skill in shifting, and balance can be a problem, but only in the beginning.
So to answer the question at the top, why ride? I got tired of driving, I realized how much fun riding can be, it was cheaper, and I got to spend more time outside now that I worked in an office. Plus I lost some weight and lowered my blood pressure and increased my aerobic capacity.
Underneath all this was the connection I see between our energy needs and war and environmental degradation. I see a non-car life style as both possible and desirable. We moved from our country home on the premise that we could afford to pay more in the city if we were eliminating 175 miles/week, which also freed up 3-4 hours time. I am not paying the increasing price for gas, and I get so hear the cranes migrate and see a fox running through the grass just outside town. My life and lifestyle are enhanced by my bike riding, if you want to try any of my many routes, just let me know.
Jojo and I went out for an easy 35 mile ride on Friday afternoon, Dec 29, 2006, it was quite warm and after all the rain, the lake was way up. We went south, past the Y, to Rhorer Rd. at Jackson Creek, east to Harrel, south on Harrell then east again on Moffet/Stipp, on past Handy, and down Stipp into the valley. My new speedometer registered 53mph at the bottom where the road is the very steepest. We stopped by the lake, and I took a few pictures of the high water at the curve and the bridge.
On the way to the lake I had mentioned to Jojo that I could not remember hearing the cranes flying south, their unique gobbledy sound travels for miles. So no sooner did we get to the water, and we heard them, and a flock of about 20 cranes came flying over the ridge right over us, veering at the last second to swing over to the next bay after seeing us.
We then climbed Schwartz Ridge Rd, yes we both made it without stopping, the cool weather makes many things possible. When we hit 441, we headed south to Pine Grove, where we turned left and rode all the way downt to the boat ramp, where I took a few more pics of the high water. We then climbed back up the hill, came back on old 446, rode into the city via Park Ridge Path, and headed home, 35 good miles.