Friday, November 27, 2015

Time to Start Acting Like a Thirty-Seven Year Old

First - December 1st is Giving Tuesday.  Consider the Center for Latino Progress and their new project, BiCi Co. when you give back.  Hartford has been without a bike shop since 2014.  Our city needs BiCi Co. to support safe, sustainable, and economic transportation for both existing and newly arriving Hartford residents.  BiCi Co. will help transform Hartford into a cycling friendly city, a city where teens can get brakes for their bikes, bike lights, and locks.  Bicycles don't just connect us to destinations, they connect us to new friends and opportunities.  It won't be Heaven, but we'll get closer to it.  Thanks for your support.  Please donate now.

Second - The last Slow Roll of 2015.  Sunday, December 6th.  Meet at 3pm at Majorca (2074 Park Street, near Prospect).  We will ride to BiCi Co., get a short tour, and then back to Majorca for happy hour and appetizers.  If you aren't one for December rides, you can still meet us at Majorca at 4:30pm.  FB event invite - share and invite others.  Did you know that the building that Majorca is in was a Columbia Bicycle factory?  Hartford's bicycle history runs deep.

Third - I had a ridiculous adventure on Friday.  One day after my 37th birthday, Ken K and Brian joined me for an impromptu mixed terrain ride.  Global weirdness put us in the 60's, and it was just too nice to stay indoors.  I lied to Brian and told him we were going to be road riding.  After taking the secret MDC road and jumping the gate that's always closed, we rode toward the Wethersfield meadows.  We may or may not have crossed on the closed Route 3 bridge pedestrian path.  There seem to be gates at both ends with signs saying that, "None shall pass."  

Leaving the secret MDC road.  
Transported to the Glastonbury side of the river, as if by magic, we continued our 'not a road ride' on the dirt roads and double track around Keeney Cove.  Ken K found a large, huge really, slab of Styrofoam and I immediately thought, "That would make a swell raft."  After a test float, I suggested that I would put my bike on the foam raft and see where it would take me.  Ken and Brian thought that was an obvious course of action and helped me shove off.  

This is a great idea!  
Plenty of room for the touring bike and myself. 
Remarkably stable.  Even in the windy chop at the center of the river.

Not the stupidest thing I've ever done.
Closing in on Brainard airfield.  The planes come in low.
The raft was very buoyant, and comfortable to boot.  Plenty of room for both me and the bike.  Rather than floating down river as I had expected, the strong wind pushed me upriver back towards Hartford.  I had a short stick and a longer tree trunk for poling.  The wind took me across the river towards Brainard air field.  I pushed the block up on shore and gathered up a long poly rope that I found tied to a tree.  It seemed like something I might want to have with me on a rafting trip.  I shoved off again.  With my long beard, I didn't want to hazard riding my bike in an airport.  Confusing airport security isn't prudent.  I relaxed on the raft (you can't hurry a raft) and kept going north.  The bend in the river and the wind took me back across towards East Hartford.  A couple of boats zipped by, but neither came over to see what I was up to or if perhaps I needed assistance.  "Oh, just another bike on a Styrofoam block."

The weather was stellar.
I picked up a rope.  Might be useful for a guy on a raft.
 The foam block is now resting on a dock in East Hartford.  I tipped off a couple of artists, as this could be really fun to work with. Imagine carving a sled out of that block.  Or building a giant puppet head.  Or formalizing the raft setup and taking it for a much longer trip next time.  So many possibilities.  If I wasn't neck deep in starting up a community bike shop, I'd be going back tomorrow myself to pick it up.  I consider this a first dibs opportunity to claim the block for a future project.  Not saying exactly where this is, but you can probably figure it out.

That looks like a good place to land.
Another photo for scale.
After landing, I kept riding.  There is a concrete flood wall behind the East Hartford water treatment plant that I only have the guts to ride every tenth time.  This was that time.  I was feeling pretty good about the foam block ride, so I rode the wall.  The Hockanum River Trail was pretty empty, as per usual.  An under used gem of a trail that starts behind East Hartford town hall.  A quick stop at the top of Wickham Park, and one of my favorite fast descents down the sledding hill.  Some coffee and a muffin at the Riverfront rounded out what may have been the best ride of the year.  It's hard to compare rides, but this was by far the most unique.  I feel closer to Mark Twain today.  It's time I start acting like a thirty-seven year old.

A new spot for graffiti.  I hadn't looked under this bridge before.
Riding the wall makes my tummy feel funny.
One of the better views of Hartford, and a nice ride to get here.

Amazing that the weather was so pleasant today.  Soaked up all the Vitamin D.
Nothing to see here.  The article is done, but since you're so thorough, you should go over to the BiCi Co. membership and fundraising page and make a sizable donation.  Wink.

5 comments:

C said...

You took the road leas traveled by and that has made all the difference!

The Connecticut River is a tidal river in Hartford. In fact, the name Connecticut comes from the Mohegan word quinetucket, which means "beside the long, tidal river".

I have experienced reverse currents in Hartford on my kayak before, especially with southern winds. There are even muscles in the river. They are very plentiful up by the sandy island in the north end.

Thank you for keeping helping to keep the river clean! I can only imagine how that "raft" got in the river.

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