Categories
Btown Biking

Yellowwood Lake ride

Even though I had gone to Meeting first, and the morning was blown, I rode straight out SR 46 to Belmont, it was hairy only when the big boats passed me, but there were a couple of long wagon trains that had to pass me. I took the left on Jackson Creek Road, it climbs a little, then follows along Salt Creek for a while, then winds along Jackson Creek, which flows from Lake Yellowwood. I got to the crossroads where Jackson Creek Rd. ends at Yellowwood Rd. I started north, the all gravel road was hard packed and easy to ride.

I passed several campsites, and stopped at the ranger station for water, otherwise it would have been a long way to Unionville. The ride up Yellowwood was quiet and uneventful, I had worried there would be a bunch of traffic to the lake, but not so. I saw up close and heard a scarlet tanager, they are a slightly different color of bright red than a cardinal, but with all black wings. I also ran past a pair of red-headed woodpeckers, they flew in different directions from their perch on a wire.

Yellowwood Rd. climbs gently for about 4.5 miles though the Jackson Creek valley, and gets steep only at the end where it rises to meet Lanam Ridge Rd. As usual, riding on the rough roads took more out of me than smooth asphalt, so I ate the last of my Clif cubes, drank some water, and started back. If you stay on SR 45, it is about 17.5 miles back to town, and for a while I followed a hay wagon, it sure made the cars slow down before passing. But I got tired of the slow pace and finally passed just as I left Brown county. I decided to go back via Mt. Gilead to Kerr Creek, it is just a mile or two longer, and much less stressful, just a few cows, buzzards and fellow bikers rather than car traffic. I think the whole deal was between 35-40 miles, with about 7 of those on gravel, so all in all a good trip, not exhausting, but definately tiring, in a good cleansing way.

Categories
Btown Biking

Moore’s Creek Loop with Tim

Tim and I went out about 3:30 pm my favorite loop Lake Monroe. It was sunny all morning, but by the time we left, there were dark clouds and thunder. We followed the bike route south from the YMCA to Jackson Creek School, then east on Rhorer Rd. We were right on the edge of the dark clouds, which were headed southeast. We felt some sprinkles, but the clouds were moving faster that us, and we did not really get wet.

When the lake is not so high, I ride along Rohorer Road, and then turn south on Harrell Rd. to Stipp at Handy Road, this adds two miles to the loop, and the ride down Stipp Rd. is great, no brakes needed. It also pushes the loop to 21 miles, so when possible it is the preferred route

But the lake is still 14 feet above the normal pool level, and there is no getting through, the bridge over Moore’s Creek on Stipp Rd. is in under water.

On Moore’s Creek we passed one of the great barns in the county, and then went on past Schwartz Ridge Road to see the flooded road. We went back to Schwartz Ridge Rd. and headed up, but before I could even get my camera out for a shot, Tim was near the top and pedaling hard. I arrived a few minutes later, I usually make it all the way without a stop, but not at the pace Tim set. He said he had to push to keep going, I have much lower gears that allow me to travel about 3 mph going uphill.


We rode back to town by first riding south to Knight’s Ridge Road at Pine Grove, and then back north to town. Knight’s Ridge wind back and forth on either side of SR 446, and although it is about .4 mile longer, the ride is much quieter and relaxing. We rode the Polly Grimshaw Trail back west to town and benefit dinner at Nick’s for the Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.

Categories
Btown Biking

Go west old men!

May 12, 2007
Route: Clear Creek Trail to Rockport Rd., Rockport to That, That to Leonard Springs (stop at Springs). Back to Eller Rd, Eller to Garrison Chapel, north to Gardner, over the ridge on Gardner to SR 43, north to Whitehall and east to Vernal Pike, and back to town.

Miles: 38, 11.5mph

Weather: perfect, hot till we got to the springs and cooled off, then after 5pm, a wonderful light cool breeze.

Nature sightings: A large hawk, a redtail, or perhaps a northern harrier, flew right over us on Vernal Pike, while being harrassed by a gang of smaller birds, who kept dive bombing the hawk. Leonard Springs, even after several weeks of dry weather, was flowing freely, the waterfalls were all splashing, and the water was cooling. Surprisingly the mossy green stuff that grows in the rocks in the stream was not at all slippery, and the water itself unbelievably clear, the ony taste being the mineral content.

Shirley SpringsDouble Falls at the springsWide falls at Shirley Springs

There is a lot of relatively flat karsty territory out west of Bloomington, perfect for raising (longhorn) cattle.

Hoosier LonghornCow fieldMustard Field

Vernal Pike is perhaps one of the eastiest returns to town after a long trip, a bit of a climb to get across 37, but nothing compared to Mt. Gilead, Kerr Creek, Schwartz Ridge or Bottom Rd. You gradually ride out of the Richland Creek Valley, quite idyllic (except for the PCBs down stream from Conard’s Branch.) When we got to Loesch Rd, we found Vernal Pike closed due to the renovation of the bridge, looks like a month or so more before it opens (you can get across, but it is not easy.)

Silo on Vernal PikeVernal FarmhouseVernal Pike closed

Categories
Btown Biking

Cool Tax Day ride

April 15
We started at Jojo’s house on the westside, headed south past Jackson Creek to Rhorer Rd, then up the hill east to Harrell, then south to Moffit. We headed east past Handy, and on to the hill. This was the first time down Stipp hill on the new bike, which is normally a 40 mph hill if you just coast and don’t use brakes. So I hammered down the hill and pedaled hard as I came around the steep little curve at the bottom. I checked the speedometer later, I had hit 58 mhp and that was a first run with both saddlebags on.

The air was clean and the clouds came scuttering across the sky in great billowy masses with a cool 25 mph hour NE wind. We both had extra coats that were superfluous in the sunshine. We climbed Schwartz Ridge and rode to 446, where we headed south to Pine Grove. I again pedaled all the way down the hill, Jojo has the advantage climbing, so I sometimes I have to use my advantage going down (besides it is fun)!

We took a small dirt road to the lakeside and ate some food. We watched for birds, as we were near where we saw the tree sparrows last week. So we were quiet, and Jojo spotted an immature bald eagle over the far ridge. As we came down the hill a large hawk flew with us for several hundred feet, and landed in a large tree ahead, then took off across the lake. But perhaps the best find were the blue heron tracks we found in the mud, there was no mistaking them. I uncovered a little spring/seep that flowed into Lake Monroe, and we were impressed by the the lake level from several weeks ago, at least six feet above the present height. We finally headed out and up the hill, and scooted back old 446 and home.

Total Miles: 40
Weather: 50 degrees with massive fluffy clouds that blew away for clear blue sky at sunset. 25-35 mph winds. Some folks told us to look out for the wind, but on the lake it was nothing like last week when we saw whitecaps and it felt massively cold.
Sightings: Eagle, hawk, buzzards, heron tracks and a clear spring.

Categories
Btown Biking

Purple Rans on the way

I looked all over web, trying to find the best LWB recumbent I could get for the price. If I were to buy new, I would have considered the Bachetta line, they look really good for the money. But as I cruised the few bike shops and bulletin boards that have recumbents, I found a 97 Rans Stratus that looked good to me. It was through easystreetrecumbents.com in Austin. I told the guy I ride a lot of hills and that my current bike has a 3 speed internal, which the 97 does not have. So I decided have him rebuild the back wheel with the internal gearing, and a Rans rack for the back. This should allow some longer rides, and the ability to move groceries, instruments, etc. around town without my numerous canvas bags. I am hoping it will be here sometime next week, I am still riding the LongGreen, but it is very wobbly at 20 mph, and the rubbing on tire is tiresome. I hope I made the right decision, I expect that I will be using this for the next 5-10 years, and I figure I log over 4000 miles/year, counting both commuting and weekend riding. I would like to bring that up this year, with DST I should be able to get an extra 25 miles of an evening.

Categories
Btown Biking Winter Riding & Ice Biking

Snowy Lake Monroe ride

March 3, 2006

Jojo and I decided to ride around the Lake Monroe this Saturday. We rode down 446 and across the causeway, stopping for a few minutes at Cutwright. We headed up th hill and made quick work of the miles to Chapel Hill Road, we headed west into 30 mph wind, buddy it was colder than riding on Lake Monre 2 weeks go. This is when the snow really picked up, we had heavy flurries all the way back. This was actually quite nice, the snow would come and go, but did not stick to the road, it seemed to be blowing sideways, and so stuck to one side of any upright item, fence posts, cows, trees, bikers, etc.

We stopped at the dam and watched the water from the lake become Salt Creek again. We then headed up Strain Ridge, and instead of using our normal route back (Ramp Creek to Handy to Harrell and then Rhorer.) This time we came back up Fairfax Rd, which I normally avoid due to traffic, but there was little traffic. We came up old Walnut, and then home.

Miles: 55
Avg mph: 11.8
Sightings: 1 Hawk, dozens of vultures, domestic fowl, and wild ducks.
Temp: 20 degrees with wind from 10-35 mph blowing from the west. I was the hardest riding the ridges, but the coldest was when we stopped on the dam and the wind whistled across the frigid lake.

We got excited when we saw this frozen leg of the lake, it looked like we might do more ice riding. But when got to the causeway, it was obvious that would not be an option. There was a rolling mass of broken ice pushing up against he causeway, with the high winds and regular waves, it was quite hypnotic.

Distant iceLast of the Ice?Ice Shore

We stopped at Cutright, we wanted to see where we had but in 2 weeks ago. We saw a a large flock of buzzards flying low, and we went over to watch. I couldn’t get close enough for a good shot, but they were on the ground hopping around, spreading their wings and jumping up and down, landing on a nearby sign. We thought it could be a mating dance, or possibly a fight, who knows. We then rode up the ridge and on to Chapel Hill. We stopped to buy some nuts and Krazy Joe’s and took a snack break, and I took a picture of one of my favorite subjects, a water tower. It is because these incredible pieces of technology that we have water, even if the electricity is down (way to go hydrolics!)
BuzzardsKrazy Joe’sLawrence tower

Here are some sights along Chapel Hill Road. The picture of the duck pond should have sound, it was just amazing, especially since there were turkeys and some exotics across the road, it was stereo fowl sounds.

BoatOld Barn on Chapel Hill RoadDuck Farm

I just have to mention the lumbering fools who removed so many trees on the norht side of Chapel Hill, this land has been raped. According to state law, loggers are not allowed to leave the tops and other “scrap” in the valleys, yet the fines are so low, they almost always ignored. What a waste!
Lumbering Fools

We continued along Chapel Hill and took the right on Guthrie Road, which tees at Mission Valley, where we headed north to the alps and the dam. The alps are are good name, three prety steep climbs, only to come plunging down the road at 45 mph past the dramatic stone walls left when they removed the hillside to build the dam and make the spillway. We stopped to watch the water pour out to reform Salt Creek, and took in the ice all along the dam. We stopped for a picture at the Sanders store and gas station, and then headed home.

Mission Valley RoadThe AlpsSalt Creek RebornGulls and waterDam IceSanders Store

Categories
Btown Biking

Birdie Galyon to Shilo Road

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!

Categories
Btown Biking

First Ride of 2007, High Water

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.

Trip Highlights:
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
Firecracker Kids

Categories
Btown Biking

Why ride my bike? 2007

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.

Categories
Btown Biking

Last Ride of ’06

pdr_0183.jpgJojo 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.

Rans Stratus (new)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.