Unflooded Bottom Rd-Sat Jan 27

The fields around Bottom Road are now drained, we went past Lawson and Simpson Chapel and up Williams, which is now paved to the top of the hill. But the rest of the ride to the north end of Sample Rd is gravel, but well packed and easy to ride. Nice forest, quiet and little used road. Across 37, then south on old 37 and up firehouse hill and back through Cascades. My speedometer is still frozen.

Miles: ~25
Temp: 32
Sightings: Heard some geese flying high, saw the same small hawk just north of Dolan sitting on his wire.

My Rans renewed

Dec 15, 2006

I just got my 10 year old Rans recumbent back from Bike Garage, they did a good job replacing the totally trashed bottom bracket, and installed new clipped pedals, and a speedometer, Jojo and I will now know how far and fast we are really going! Sunday I hope to get with Kevin to look over his bike, Jojo may be interested in the foldable model, more maybe even the big Linear.

Nature riding in Southern Indiana

flowerbike.jpgThis is my bike journal to track routes, mileage, wildlife, plantsweather, etc during my rides in the Bloomington, Indiana region, aka the Hoosier Uplands. I often ride with my pal Jojo, we are both over 50 and no longer racing through life. But we are still traveling, at about 12 mph on most weekends, up and down the ridges and valleys of Monroe and our surrounding counties, in all types of weather conditions.

Flooded Moore's Creek/Stipp Rd. Ride

Another beautiful January day in Indiana, still too cold for my speedometer, but plenty warm for riding. The exeptional rains during the week added to the already high water on Lake Monroe. We did not even try to get through, and o we came back up Stipp and explored the addition at the top of the hill, then came back past the YMCA.

Road Ends in Water, no kidding?Road be goneNo Vehicles
Dist: 20 miles
Temp 30-35
Partly cloudy
Spotted 2 herons at Jackson Creek.

Also, there was a teepee at the big field at the south end of Harrell Rd..
Teepee on Harrell Rd

Flooded Moore's Creek/Stipp Rd. Ride

Another beautiful January day in Indiana, still too cold for my speedometer, but plenty warm for riding. The exeptional rains during the week added to the already high water on Lake Monroe. We did not even try to get through, and o we came back up Stipp and explored the addition at the top of the hill, then came back past the YMCA.

Road Ends in Water, no kidding?Road be goneNo Vehicles
Dist: 20 miles
Temp 30-35
Partly cloudy
Spotted 2 herons at Jackson Creek.

Also, there was a teepee at the big field at the south end of Harrell Rd.
Teepee on Harrell Rd

Wet Bottom Rd. Ride-Jan 13, 2007

Dang, it was wet when we left for Jojo’s house to ride, I just did not think to take the camera. The mist was pretty heavy when we started, and we hit some real rain on N. Kinser Pike. We figured if we got soaked we would head back, but the rain was light and when we crossed 37, it stopped. At the bridge at the bottom of the hill, the Bean Blossom was totally out of its banks, which are normally about 10′ high. The water was up to the bottom of the bridge, but the road was not flooded here.

We rode to the sewage treatment plant and went to the bridge behind the plant on Maple Grove, and it was totally flooded there as well, all the sycamores were under water by several feet, branches in the water make some very unusual sounds as the water rushed through them. As we headed back to Bottom, we heard a large splash, and saw a movement from the corner of our eyes as something big leaped from the edge of the flood right into the current. Beaver, mink, otter, we just had no clue, but it had to be big and a good swimmer.

We passed several spots where the water was crossing the road heading west towards the BB, most of the the fields were flooded. We rode past a field that was filled and in the middle, 1 foot waterfall, about 100 feet wide. just past Lawson, there was a large stretch of water over the road. I started across and it was only about 6 inches deep, but at the middle it was a foot or more. I got across, and so did Jojo, but not before getting his toes wet.

We turned off Bottom Road and up the hill (we got warm), and at the top Jojo pointed to a red fox in the field who was intently staring at a point in front of him in the grass, I assume a mouse, vole, or rabbit hole. I had to shift, and when I did, he heard us and took off for the woods. She/he was is good shape, big bushy tail and smooth coat.

We crossed SH 37 again, and came back into the Bean Blossom valley and caught old 37 back south to the city. We played tag with a hawk on the power line before coming into Dolan, where a car coming off Robinson pulled out in front of an oncoming car, who barely swerved enought to miss the fool. We were on the other side of the road, riding in the parking lot of the old tent rental place, but if they had collided, we could have been in the way.

It was wet on the road, wet in the air, but we were dry inside and warm at times. Really interesting to be out there in this weather, not as bad as you might think.

Miles: 27
Weather: 40, misty with some rain
Avg: 11mph
Sightings: Unknown swimming creature, red fox, red-tail hawk, near accident at Dolan

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!

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

Why ride my bike?

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.

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.