Allen's Creek Ride

Allen’s Creek Ride Pictures

The paper said the water level was still up, so we decided to head down 446 to the causeway to see the lake, and yep, the water was still high. I took some pictures, one of which is almost the same as the one that appeared in the HT. There might have been a boat out in the lake somewhere, but we did not see one.

The causeway is just about 10 miles from town, and we wanted more miles, so we climbed out of the Salt Creek valley and headed south on 446 to Allen’s Creek Rd., so that we could get a view of the high water there. After turning left on the Allen’s Creek, we rode the ridge a little, and then headed downhill, the sign warns that it is a 12% grade, I guess they are worried about boat trailers and such picking up too much speed, it is a fun hill, here is a video of my ride into the valley.

[youtube wcP18g9pz1o]

We hung out for a bit and ate lunch, and then climbed the ridge to hike for a while through the woods. We decided to go back to Roberts’ Rd., which runs south from Allen’s Creek to Chapel Hill Rd. The side valley was very green and quiet, the road is gravel, except for the hill, which they paved sometime in the last few years. It is a tough climb, especially with the sand all over it, but we saw no cars during this leg of the trip.

We took Chapel Hill Rd. back east to 446, and rode back north towards the causeway. We stopped before heading down to the water, and some reason I ran uphill to the see the view from the top. I don’t run much, it hurt my knees, but at this point I was juiced, and it felt great. But it had an effect , as Jojo led me the whole way back, climbing the hill I almost lost sight of him. We rode old Knight’s Ridge Rd (parallel to 446, and just a little longer, but much quieter), and then headed home.

Bike Ped Meeting-April 21, 2008

At the Bloomington Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission meeting today, we looked at plans for a new apartment building at 10th and Morton Streets. It is big enough that the builders are required to have covered bike parking. This means that residents will be able to park their bikes in the building with dedicated rooms close to an entrance.

I thanked Public Works for getting the Polly Grimshaw trail cleaned up, at the last meeting I complained that it was a mess, which it was with leaves and vines and dirt making it dangerous.

Joe Fish in City Planning is working on pedestrian counts and taking pictures at the Bypass and Third St. intersection. This is very hard to navigate, and it will get worse with INDOT’s plans to “upgrade” the intersection with seven lanes of traffic engineered for 45 mph speeds.

I also noted and had confirmed that the speed limit through Cascades Park has been newly signed at 20 mph! This is great, I have even noticed cars not passing me going downhill because we were both doing the speed limit, I love it. This is because the road runs adjacent to the park, and in theory, this should have been the case in the past, but was not. Is the speed limit 20 mph around Bryan Park? I’ll have to check.

About bikers and safety

As some of you may know, I have been chair of the Bloomington Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission for a number of years. We look at building plans and recommend bike/ped amenities for new projects, we review traffic calming applications from neighborhoods, make suggestions as how to improve the bike/ped infrastructure. At the top of the list for me is safety, I have been worried for years about the bad attitudes of both bikers and motorists, everyone is alway such a hurry that common courtesy and traffic laws are run over.

I just got an email from an IU employee commutes to Bloomington, and is worried about hitting a reckless biker, and following is my quickly written reply.

Sent: Monday, April 14, 2008 12:18 PM
To: ‘public.works@bloomington.in.gov’
Subject: Bicyclist

I am not a resident of Bloomington but commute Monday through Friday to work at IU. I would like to make a suggestion. It is my understanding that bicyclist are required to obey traffic rules however stopping at four way stops and red lights seem to be laws some bicycle feel exempt from. Many times I have witnessed bicyclist go straight through four way stops, often endangering drivers who are obeying the laws. My fear is that one day I may hit or injure one of the bicyclist or even injure myself trying to avoid hitting them. Since the Bloomington business area contains many stops perhaps this could be a topic of concern.
*****************
D

I share your concern. I do not drive, and I do bike everywhere. Bikers who behave as you describe seem to be the norm, or at least a significant percentage of riders. When I did drive, I experienced the scenario you mention, where a bike rider going down hill ignored a stop sign (and he was coming from out of the setting sun), and he ended up on my hood. I assure you, his vehicle was in much worse shape than mine from the encounter. He apologized and carried his broken bike home.

Because so many cyclists do bust through stop signs, mmany motorists seem shocked when I actually slow down and stop at interesections. They wave me on, even if it is clearly their right of way, but I never accept. I just want everyone to obey the rules, as do you.

But when we have asked (I’m chair of the Bloomington Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission) for more enforcement, we found that is just not possible according to the chief of police, they djust o not have the resources.

Think of how many car drivers just slow down at stop signs, who sneak around corners with out stopping, who ignore “No right turn on red” signs, and who speed in town. The police have told us that traffic enforcement is a priority, but they do not focus on bikes. Remember a car can be a deadly weapon, can be used for homicide, it is 2 tons of heavy metal, but a careless rude biker will most likely hurt only themselves. This is not my position necessarily, but it is how the police prioritize. Our commission reviews all traffic calming requests that neigborhoods submit, and there are always neighborhoods asking. They know that enforcement does not stop speeding, and that is why the Feds supply money for traffic calming. We have engineered our streets for cars, and people are left to walk and ride bikes on the fringes. I don’t see this as sustainable, and I look favorably at most traffic calming projects.

I have repeatedly asked for more education for bicyclists, and more enforcement from police. Enforcement could be useful tool in educating our always changing poplulation of bikers, but as I mention, this is not on the agenda at this time. So education must be the keystone of any attempt to change the behavior of reckless bikers (and motorists).

There are thousands of new people who come to Bloomington from around the country and around the world each year, and they do not have the information to bike safely in our city. Many do not know that bikes are to follow the automotive traffic laws, and they are prone to dangerous mistakes (that seem safe) like riding against traffic and on sidwalks, which aer the two most statistically dangerous things you can do on a bike. IU should be involved, so should the city. If you have any suggestions, (you mention them, but I don’t really see any) let me know. I tend to holler at those who are being foolish, and occasionally straighten someone out, but not often.

Mitch

Just another Spring flood ride

No photos, I couldn’t find the the camera this morning, and Jojo was out of town. It was cool, in the 30’s and raining lightly. I rode over to Bloomingfoods east and found that though I was damp, I wasn’t wet, so I kept going east on SR 46, it is quite empty on Sunday. I was dressed in several layers all over, heavy gloves, and extra socks.

I rode past Kerr Creek Rd and road down Pike’s Hill, past Getty’s Creek Rd, and then stopped on Friendship Rd, but it was not there, there was only the highway apron leading to the water, it was a lake. I checked the lake level, it is at 555 feet AMSL, the spillway is at 556 near the dam.

From there I rode SR 46 to Brummett’s Creek Road, and the highway was like riding on the causeway at Lake Monroe, water on either side all the way to Brummett’s Creek. I turned north up the valley, even though there was a “Road Closed” sign, I wanted to see how far I could get, which was not too far, a half a mile at most.

I saw a hundred ducks swimming in a corn field, and 2 red-tail hawks, and a pair of geese swimming right next to the road. I saw my second pair of mallards, they were swimming near the road.

The flowering trees in town are in full bloom, but not yet the native dogwood and redbud. Many trees in town are budding and have a faint pink or green glow, but in the countryside, all is still brown and gray, and I expect this will change with the warmup next week.

I rode back to SR 46, and then west back to Getty’s Creek Road, which I then took north the Mt. Gilead Rd. I took Mt. Gilead back to SR 45 and then to town and a big protein rich lunch at Bloomingfoods.

Summary: 22 miles of wet flooded roads, light sprinkles the whole time, gazillions of birds, and a warm feeling knowing I got my miles in weather or not. I found that riding in the rain is really not so bad, I kept my blood sugar up, and just kept pedaling, and my glasses worked like little windshields on a car. Seems like this will be the last cool-cold ride of the year, from now on I will be removing layers and leaving them at home.

Flooded Roads quite a Rush (Ridge Rd.)

Picture Album
Weather: Cool with both sun and clouds

Jojo and I headed out our normal route to the lake, which includes riding to Jackson Creek School on the city bike route and then up Rhorer to Harrell Road, and then down the no brakes hill on Stipp Rd., which leads right to the gravel boat ramp at Moore’s Creek Road. We often then ride up Swartz Ridge Road and head south to go down and back on Pine Grove Road, there is always great bird watching at the near the water, and a good place to take a break and then head back up the hill, and then back home along Knight’s Ridge Road (which runs parallel to SR 446.)

But we knew that Stipp Rd. was closed due to the high water (the lake is just a foot below flood stage, when it start pouring over the spillway and over Mission Valley Road. So we stayed on Rhorer Road rather than go south on Harrell, and we rode down Moore’s Pike instead, but slowly as it was quite sandy all the way down. We rode a little past Schwartz Ridge Road, but we were soon stopped by the flood waters, they totally covered the road. We couldn’t see it, but the bridge over the creek must be totally under water, as well as about half a mile of road.

Flooded Moore's Creek Rd Rush Ridge and Lake MonroeResting on the ridgetop

We climbed Schwartz Ridge, and got bit warm doing so. When I first started riding I never thought I could ride all the way up this road, it is just so steep and straight, there is nothing to do but keep pedaling and pedaling. But once again, we made it all the way, no problem.

Since we did not get the extra miles by going down Harrell Rd., we decided to head farther down SR 446 to Rush Ridge Road, which heads east just before the highway rolls down to the causeway over Lake Monroe. Jojo and I came off the lake ice at the very tip of the pennisula last winter, and found a dirt road that then connected to the paved road connecting the various housing developments back on the main ridge. Jojo spotted a both a pileated woodpecker and bald eagle, which We rode where the road goes left and the dirt road begins. We saw a private property sign, but assumed it was for cars, this was IU property, or so we thought.

We rode on a ways, the road was not even graveled, like a logging road. We went nearly to the end, then pulled over to eat some lunch and watch to lake below. A couple of guys pulled up in a jeep and offered to sell us lots, and the whole place was for sale for $2.7 million. The realtor told us they expected to sell 5 acre lots, put I wondered how many house they could get on this narrow ridge. I asked about the problems they would have with septic permits, but they did not seem concerned, as anyone willing to build here would have plenty of money for what they called “creative” solutions, I guess they think they have enough land for some mound systems, but who knows. If there is anyone out there reading this with a few million to invest in saving this great piece of land, let me know!

Lake MonroeSpring BeautyBald Eagle on Rush Ridge

Nature Journal: I found a patch of Spring Beauty on Rush Ridge, apparently it has small tasty tubers that are edible, but I did dig any out, they were somewhat scarce. Also along Rush Ridge Road we saw mature Bald Eagle sitting in a tree limb. We heard a couple of red-bellied woodpeckers, and saw a pileated woodpecker in perfect profile sitting on the side of a tree, his bright red cockade a contrast to his dark black and white feathers.

Rush Ridge Flower Eagle

Picture Album
Weather: Cool with both sun and clouds

Jojo and I headed out our normal route to the lake, which includes riding to Jackson Creek School on the city bike route and then up Rhorer to Harrell Road, and then down the no brakes hill on Stipp Rd., which leads right to the gravel boat ramp at Moore’s Creek Road. We often then ride up Swartz Ridge Road and head south to go down and back on Pine Grove Road, there is always great bird watching at the near the water, and a good place to take a break and then head back up the hill, and then back home along Knight’s Ridge Road (which runs parallel to SR 446.)

But we knew that Stipp Rd. was closed due to the high water (the lake is just a foot below flood stage, when it start pouring over the spillway and over Mission Valley Road. So we stayed on Rhorer Road rather than go south on Harrell, and we rode down Moore’s Pike instead, but slowly as it was quite sandy all the way down. We rode a little past Schwartz Ridge Road, but we were soon stopped by the flood waters, they totally covered the road. We couldn’t see it, but the bridge over the creek must be totally under water, as well as about half a mile of road.

Flooded Moore's Creek Rd Rush Ridge and Lake MonroeResting on the ridgetop

We climbed Schwartz Ridge, and got bit warm doing so. When I first started riding I never thought I could ride all the way up this road, it is just so steep and straight, there is nothing to do but keep pedaling and pedaling. But once again, we made it all the way, no problem.

Since we did not get the extra miles by going down Harrell Rd., we decided to head farther down SR 446 to Rush Ridge Road, which heads east just before the highway rolls down to the causeway over Lake Monroe. Jojo and I came off the lake ice at the very tip of the pennisula last winter, and found a dirt road that then connected to the paved road connecting the various housing developments back on the main ridge. Jojo spotted a both a pileated woodpecker and bald eagle, which We rode where the road goes left and the dirt road begins. We saw a private property sign, but assumed it was for cars, this was IU property, or so we thought.

We rode on a ways, the road was not even graveled, like a logging road. We went nearly to the end, then pulled over to eat some lunch and watch to lake below. A couple of guys pulled up in a jeep and offered to sell us lots, and the whole place was for sale for $2.7 million. The realtor told us they expected to sell 5 acre lots, put I wondered how many house they could get on this narrow ridge. I asked about the problems they would have with septic permits, but they did not seem concerned, as anyone willing to build here would have plenty of money for what they called “creative” solutions, I guess they think they have enough land for some mound systems, but who knows. If there is anyone out there reading this with a few million to invest in saving this great piece of land, let me know!

Lake MonroeSpring BeautyBald Eagle on Rush Ridge

Nature Journal: I found a patch of Spring Beauty on Rush Ridge, apparently it has small tasty tubers that are edible, but I did dig any out, they were somewhat scarce. Also along Rush Ridge Road we saw mature Bald Eagle sitting in a tree limb. We heard a couple of red-bellied woodpeckers, and saw a pileated woodpecker in perfect profile sitting on the side of a tree, his bright red cockade a contrast to his dark black and white feathers.

Quick wet ride

I got to Jojo’s house late on Sunday as I had been at the MHC planning retreat all morning through lunch. It was drizzling still after hard rain all morning. I put on my kneepads and nylon pants, and we got on our bikes, and it started raining hard. So we waited it out, and then started west on Allen St. to Weimer Rd. and the Clear Creek path. We were able to make it down to Church Rd., and then cut on Fairfax to Schact Rd. If you have to climb a ridge, this is the way to do it, there are number of easy climbs strung together, I usually have some juice at the top, and it is a beautiful quiet stretch of road.

We rode back north on Harrell Rd., then back east on Rhorer Rd. to Jackson Creek School and the city bike route back to the YMCA and home. We got lucky, there was only one short shower on the way back, and we ducked under a picnic shelter and waited. I forgot the camera, and so for the first time in recent memory I took no pictures, and we saw very little wildlife or wildflowers, but we really were happy to get a ride in between the showers.

Cooper’s Hawks return to Dunn Woods

Coopers Hawks in Dunn WoodsI was walking around last week when I thought to stop by last year’s hawk next in the woods, I thought I heard a hawklike squawk, then saw one fly into an upper branch about a hundred feet from the nest. This week I saw a pair, I am pretty sure the bigger one is the female, and she flew onto a branch with the male, and proceeded to eat what looked like a small mammal, while he kept watch.

Then today I saw what appears a new nest a few hundred yards from the bigger original, and I’ve seen the mom sitting on the nest, and the dad swooping down from the incredibly high beech tree and fly through the woods. If I stand on one of the pathways for a while, I am able to spot one of them, often after hearing them call. In a few weeks, the babies will be calling for food all day long, that is how I spotted them last year, and I will be keeping a close eye on their growth.

Two weekends ago, Jojo and I saw a courting display by hawks on the ridge overlooking Lake Lemon, and the week before I saw the same at Dubois Ridge Rd.