Frozen Lake Monroe 2008

Riding on Lake Monroe Album

It had been cold, sub-20’s all week, but on Sunday the temperature was in the mid 30-40’s, with sunshine. We soon removed a layer each on the 10 mile ride down to Pine Grove to see the lake. To our surprise it was covered with ice and snow, and we carefully tested the thickness and strength of the ice over the main channel as it meets the boat ramp. It was about 2 inches thick, and we could not break through it even with a big rock. I walked my bike out on the slick ice over the channel, stomped around, and generally tried to test, but no cracks, and no falls, so we headed out across the bay to explore the south shore.

Purple Rans takes a rest on the iceLooking back at Pine Grove RampFrozen Lotus Pod

There were lots of frozen lotus pods, and many variations in the ice due to freezing, thawing, sunlight and snow. We rode in the snow along the shoreline towards the east end of the bay and then rode to where Salt Creek empties into the lake. We found what appeared to be a beaver lodge, and decided to go no further upstream as there were holes in the ice, and running water below.

Beaver Lodge at mouth of Salt CreekLooking too sketchy to ride up Salt CreekCabin on the hill

Deer leg on iceLooking out at the main body of the lakeHeron tracks in the snow

We rode along the shoreline to the tip of Rush Ridge Rd. and stopped for a snack at the campsite. The sun and wind had stripped the main body of the lake of snow, and the ice on top was turning slushy. We rode a few hundred yards towards the causeway, then climbed a low spot in the ridge to the forest road that becomes Rush Ridge, and headed back to 446 and home.

Looking south at Hayes HollowMitch in a treeGoodbye to frozen Lake Monroe


Jojo demonstrates slow riding on ice and snow
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Mitch circles up and slips
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Riding with Mitch, how it looks from my point of view:
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Here’s the view the point at the end of Rush Ride, the wind and sun were quite strong.
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Nature Journal:
We saw no birds other than crows, but we did find the footprints of a great blue heron. All the mammals were no doubt sleeping, the only other tracks we saw on the lake were a man with dog.

We found the bones of a full sized deer in the middle of the lake, we saw some crows flying up from the ice, so we investigated the spot. The bones were almost totally clean, just a little blood on the bones; the only things left were two feet, even the skin was eaten, leaving only fur. It may have been caught on the ice by coyotes or dogs, and then the buzzards and crows finished what the mammals left.

Here’s a map of our ice route.
Map of Jan 27 Ice ride on Lake Monroe

Cold Earl Young Hill

Album of Ride Photos

Jojo had to work, so I went out in the late afternoon to ride in the 30 degree weather. A light frosting of snow covered the hills, but the roads were clear, though there was a lot of grit to keep me watching the roadway. I rode past Lake Griffy, which had about an inch of ice, not enough to walk on yet, so I headed up the hill. I ran into Jim Rosenbarger and we rode down Bethel Lane and then north on Boltinghouse Rd. The hill, one of the steepest in the county, was covered with grit, I put down both feet to steady myself, and Jim rode his brakes the whole way. We parted when he started up Nehrt Rd, while I stayed on Earl Young.

The creek crossing on Earl Young was frozen slush and ice, there is a unique sign before you cross and head up the incredibly steep and icy gravel road. I saw a big four wheeler get stuck trying to cross, spraying ice water eight feet into the air. The driver had to get out and engage his front wheel drive to get through. I walked up the road, and watched in wonderment as an overloaded Buick headed down the road, and of course got stuck, I could hear them yelling as I crested the hill. There was no way to push the Buick through the ford, they were going to need a tow truck.

Half Frozen Lake GriffyEarl Young donkeySeasonal Traffic Only

Purple Rans fords the creekLooking up Earl Young RdLooking down Earl Young Rd.

I rode up to SR 45 and headed north to Mt. Gilead, and then down Gettys Creek to Kerr Creek and town. I would rather climb the hill and ride an extra mile or so than ride on the highway. I considered cutting through Birdie Gaylan, but it is still hunting season and it was getting dark.

IU Blog, Winter 2008

Mitch on IceHere is a link to my latest blog post for IU’s Active for Life Newsletter. The teaser text in the newsletter was with the picture to the left:

When the temperatures drop, don’t expect Mitch Rice’s cycling to stop. How else would he hear the quiet whooshing as he glides through newly fallen snow? Read on for a primer on how to enjoy cycling in cold temperatures.

Amazing bikes on YouTube

I found a few bike videos on YouTube that stretch the imagination:

Here is water filter on wheels, a really good idea:

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Check out this home made kid’s tandem.

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Here is something I had not seen before, a back to back tandem:

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Ok, how about a back to back recumbent tandem?

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Here’s a new brand, look ma, no hands!

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How about a propellor driven trike?

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Finally, the world’s fastest human powered bike, a recumbent of course:

[youtube 5V2FgwN_re4]

January Beaver Ride

Jojo was a bit a under the weather from breathing dust all week at work, so we took it easy riding about 15 miles up and down the Clear Creek path. The path is fine, plenty of people to look at as we cruise along the nearly level path, it is really easy riding. The weather was “warm”, in the mid-40’s, meaning you can get cold if you stop and hang out, but if you keep moving, you have to strip off a layer.

The problem is safely getting to the trailhead on Tapp Rd. As riding on Rockport Rd. from Rogers St. and then over the hills Tapp Rd. is such a hazard, we always approach from Weimer Rd. Getting to Weimer Rd. is a challenge as well. We avoid 2nd. St. and ride instead on Allen St., which would be cool if only there were a sidepath, it is hilly and narrow, we often ride on the sidewalk where available. At Cory Lane we loop around and get on Weimer south of 2nd St. The city plans either a path or bikes lanes coming down Sudbury when it connects over to Rogers Rd, and this will be great.

The most remarkable part of our ride was finding a beaver dam along Clear Creek, the industrious animals have created an small pond, with a drop of about 3 feet over the dam. We didn’t see the beaver or any tracks, but that is because we didn’t want to poke around and scare them. Here are some pictures and a video of the dam in action.

Clear Creek  Multi-use pathBeaver dam on Clear CreekBeaver Lake

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Now that i think of it, another remarkable thing happened, and this happened last week too. As we were heading down the trail past Church Lane, we weren’t sure how far we wanted to go, but a piliated woodpeck started squawking at us, flying tree to tree for a couple hundred yards, calling us to keep moving, and we stopped when he did, getting really good look at his red head, which neck and black body.

First ride 2008, where did winter go?

We decided to head to Lake Monroe today, the draught has been with us for so long, we wanted to see where the lake is now, and we went down 446 to Pine Grove, and coming back we went down Schwartz Ridge to Moore’s Pike, giving us a full 25 mile ride. The weather was unseasonably warm, in the 40’s and 50’s, we ended up peeling off and putting our jackets back on as we climbed and then came down the hills.

Pine Grove had plenty of geese, crows and chickadees, and a single eagle down my the breeding area where Salt Creek comes into the lake. The channel was over the banks on the water lotus side, but still has a way to go before the lakebed fill, the lakes is 3 feet down as this point. Moore’s Creek at the bridge had water in it, for the past few months it has been dry.

We rode north on Snoddy Rd and stopped to take picture of the new entrance and the yurts at the Tibetan Cultural Center. We also made the mistake of trying to ride on Sare Rd. south of Moore’s Pike, the road is vastly dangerous and the side mostly gravel and leaves, if you can avoid this are, do so. The crossings at College Mall Rd. and Moore’s Pike is one of the very worst in the city for both bikes and pedestrians, matched only by the Third and the Bypass.

Pine Grove January MistTibetan Cultural CenterYurts!