Categories
Btown Biking

Summer Flies By

It was a warm Sunday morning and Jojo and Cornish John showed up at the BBC on time, and we quickly made our way out 10th St., riding steadily the highway as there was little traffic. We turned on Tunnel Road, then on Shilo Rd., which runs the forested ridge for nearly 4 miles before dropping 200 feet to the Bean Blossom valley. Jojo works for Wireless Deer Fence on Shilo Rd., check them out, they kept the deer out of my 3 Sisters Garden this year. Here are some pictures of the garden and my corn crop.

We stopped to watch the Bean Blossom flow by and then rode up to Anderson Road, riding the flat bottoms to Old 37. As luck would have it, we ran into Sue Aquila riding alone and fast in the other direction (we had seen her at the BBC on our way out.) She was on one of her triathlon training rides, and we all stopped and chatted a moment in the middle of the highway!

John had to get back to town around noon, but Jojo and I wanted to ride longerWe headed back south, and John had to get home to work on his floor. Jojo and I wanted to get in some more time, so while John kept riding on 37, we turned right on Wylie Rd. To our surprise we found the Bloomington model airplane club, and there were dozens of planes revving up and flying.

Everyone had either vans or trailers to transport their planes, and they all had tools and parts, even built-in workbenches. They all were talking about their planes and the latest tweak they had done, while one or two at a time took off, flew and landed.

Flyby Pictures

We climbed the ridge and crossed SR 37, but nothing matches Wylie Rd, on the other side, so we had to travel north on 37 for a bit to pick up Sample Rd, which we took to Bottom Rd. We rode Bottom back south to Bloomington, about 30 miles, and no real sweating. Bean Blossom was really low when we crossed it at Dolan and on Bottom Road. This was a good fast ride, about 30 miles with just 2 climbs, a good ride for a summer morning.

Categories
Btown Biking

1st Annual Hub Ride-The Hilly 25

I went out about 7:30 to the Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard 1st Annual “Hub Ride”, starting in Karst Farm Park. It’s about 7 miles from town, I went out 3rd St. and cut south to Karst Farm rather than ride on 2nd St, it really feels like a highway, and the cars move fast. There is really no safe or easy way to ride west, the best bets are Tapp Road and Vernal Pike, two of the most dangerous intersections (for motorists) in Bloomington, and out of the way if you are trying to shop in the shops along the west side of SR 37.

There were plenty of riders and a number took off early to complete the 2 laps making 50 miles. Everything was organized and in order with plenty of great volunteers as usual at a MHC event. I had run over the route on Google Earth and knew there were quite a few hills, and this is the middle of summer. But with the half way stop at Mt. Zion Rd., there was little chance of bonking even in the heat, and I was carrying plenty of water and coffee (and bagels, there was a bunch of good stuff in the registration tent.)

Full Album of Pictures

I ran into Jim Manion, and we partnered up to ride the 25 miles route. Jim’s bike was built for comfort, like mine, and we had comparable paces, so we were able to bike and talk, even on the hills, which were never ending. We first came up Bolin Road hill and took a water break while watching others climb this first of several 100 foot climbs. We rode back over to Rockport Road on Tramway and then rode along Rockport, climbing once or twice more before getting to the big climb of the day. Jim dropped his chain right at the bottom, but I continued to the top and waited. Steve Wallace came up on his recumbent with Linda Roos, one of our MHC board members right behind. Jim then came pedaling up, and we continued climbing on past the intersection of Victor Pike to Harmony Road at 920 feet.

We continued on Harmony Road, and stopped at Mt. Zion Church, where Stephanie had cold water, gatorade and snacks. We continued along Harmony Ridge, and for a mile or three it is newly paved. This made riding down the hill down a real blast, well over 200 feet of drop, smooth and curvy as we descended into the woods.

After coming through the valley and over the hill at May Road, we rode on into the wide Indian Creek valley, and stopped at the Harmony Church on Isom Rd. In the last century Jim had lived next door where there is now a plant nursery, and Eileen and I raised our kids in a little old farm house a few hundred yards up Isom Road. Jim rode over to see his old house and talk to the current owner. I jumped down into the creek, which was amazingly cool even in mid summer, no doubt this is spring fed. The old church at the corner was the site of “Fort Harmony”, an which was at first an agricultural branch of the New Harmony utopian community. The site became a trading center with the Native Americans, and many artifacts have been found in the fields across from the church.

We then moved on and climbed the hills on Isom Road that lead to the blind valley where the scenic Sparks farm can be seen from the hills along the road. A final climb out of the valley led to another speedy down hill on Isom. We took the left on Eller, crossed the highway, and climbed Reese hill a dropped onto Garrison Chapel Road. We too that to Airport, climbed that one last hill, and coasted back to Karst Farm Park and some food and music to finish off the ride.

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