Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Practical Matter of Survival

First - Some exciting BiCi Co. news.  We just created a BiCi Co. Facebook community page.  This will be where announcements for the new shop go up.  Please - Like and Share!  We are still recruiting for the Fall youth Build-a-Bike / Earn-a-Bike program (online recruiting survey), and we are about to kick off a shop membership campaign.

In bike tour news, I did reach Santa Claus, Indiana this morning.  Not exactly the way I planned.  After a short mileage hot day on Wednesday, I woke up in the middle of the night with severe intestinal distress, and continued to make visits to the woods every twenty minutes and on into the daylight hours.  With potentially two more 95F days of hilly riding ahead (~100 total), I made a survival decision from my horizontal position.  A 7am phone call home brought a bail out by Bill and Sue Cherolis (AKA Dad and Mom).  Not too proud to make a phone call when the prospect of riding the next day might include an ambulance.  

Dehydrated and horizontal
Unexpectedly, I overlapped with a fellow bike tourist for the last day of riding.  Both Meghan and I rolled into Versailles State Park at exactly the same time, climbing the massive hill up to the campground.  I am not riding on a well used cross country route, so this was needle in a haystack territory.  We chatted for hours about stealth camping and touring.  Meghan was an opera singer (really!) and decided to head off on an adventure to mark a change in career to something in the teaching realm.  She is a first time bike tourist and was setting out with an extremely lightweight hammock camping arrangement carried via road bike.  After noticing the low spoke count wheels, I gave a crash course in wheel truing in case she snapped a spoke and needs to hobble into the next city with a bike shop.  We rode together in the 90F heat from Versailles State Park (pronounced verr-sails) to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge.  I will not admit to camping at a gazebo in the refuge.

A lightweight touring setup, for comparison
Another state line.  I heart riding on state highways.  That's a joke.
Prior to arriving in Versailles, we individually rode through Lawrenceburg, IN and picked up a fabulous bike path that would have connected to the neighboring city of Aurora.  This was a welcome development because the alternate state highway 50 is a monster of high speed, multi-lane, and no shoulders.  Welcome, except the path was closed (multi-month construction) and only does one find this out once you've committed 2 miles into the trail - no signs at the trail head.  Meghan and I both experienced this frustrating trail and the stressful route 50 detour.  One lesson learned in both Ohio and Indiana that bike paths are great, and state highways are a horror.  IN DOT and ODOT need to get a clue about Complete Streets.

View from the preserve gazebo. 
Lotus in the swampy lake.  Native Americans made flour from the seeds.
A fabulous trail between Lawrenceburg and Aurora, except... closed.
Would have been great to know the trail was closed at the trail head.
Aurora, IN has a bike killer grate right in the middle of a bike lane
After coming across this "bike killer" grate, I had to take a photo.  Right in the middle of the bike lane, aligned with the direction of travel.  I stopped by the splendid bike shop in Aurora, Weber Sports, and showed it to them.  Of course it was already on their radar as an important issue and it had been brought to the attention of their public works.  This kind of stuff is what happens when bicycle facilities are designed by non-cyclists.  Stay vigilant.  Bad bike facilities can be worse than no facilities at all.

Backtracking a bit in the tour - I crossed this bridge daily between my home in Madison Township and Middletown, Ohio.  You don't realize how beautiful the river is until you come back after being gone for years.  Something to remember when we take our own city's views for granted.  Stop, take a step back, breathe - and see what you're missing.
West Middletown Bridge - AKA home territory
The remains of the homestead tree house.  Tire swing still up after 25 some years.
We had a spectacular tree house and tire swing at the homestead in Middletown, OH.  The tree house is mostly gone, with just a few floor boards remaining.  The tire swing is hanging on, although I wouldn't recommend a swing on a 25 year old poly rope.  It was worth the half mile ride up Route 122, AKA West Middletown Hill.

Shed tears at the grassed over Sunset Pool
Our wet playground and training grounds at Sunset Pool in Middletown are now buried under the lawn.   This is a particularly sad thing, but offset somewhat by the cookie and icing sandwich I brought with me from Central Pastry.  Middletown has lost its amazing pool, but appears to be growing a functional downtown area with restaurants, coffee shops, and retail.  Was pleasantly surprised by the opportunity for lunch and catching up with a grade school friend, Christina Slamka at the new coffee shop - Triple Moon.  Christina's parents have owned and run Central Pastry since 1984.


Tenaya Taylor said...

Tire swing? Hm...

Jon Tomas said...

this place is so beautiful. Have you got experience on mountain biking?