Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ADVENTURES IN BIKING!

This is what I see every time I load RAMBLER on the back of DEERSLAYER

For me biking is more than exercise.  I pick out my outfit for my bike ride.  I fill up my water bottle.  I carry my bike up to my car.  I load my bike on the back of DEERSLAYER.  I drive past Dairy Queen, Fritz's Custard, and my favorite house in Valley Park.  I drive down an original brick paved road and underneath a railroad bridge built in 1930 to The Meramec Greenway parking lot that I favor.  I select the play list I'll be listening to while I ride.  I pick the leg that I'll be staring on and...

I push off.
 
 
Today I pretty much rambled.  No land speed records set by yours truly.  I rode the Simpson Lake leg.  I rode the leg that reminds me of Ft. Riley.  As I finish the first half of the Valley Park leg I ride past the entrance to the Levee bike trail.  I wonder what it's like to ride the bike trail way up there.  As I turn around for the second half of the leg I decide to pedal UP the entrance to the Levee bike trail.  It's steep.  I turn left and coast down the bike trail off of the Levee to discover that the bike trail starts about 100 ft from where I got on.  Now I have to pedal back UP to the Levee bike trail.  It's steep.  I follow this new trail (new to me anyway) as it parallels the Valley Park leg of the Meramec Greenway.  It ghosts along between Valley Park and the Meramec Greenway and I've seen snippets of it as I drive thru town and when I'm riding on the Greenway.  It's high up, and the wind is really ripping across the top of the Levee.  I pedal along and discover what Valley Park looks like from the other side of things.  Not all that pretty really.  Following the bike trial I end up crossing the road that I usually drive on to get to the Greenway parking lot on top of the Levee Gate.  I'm not sure if that's the correct name for it.  It's where a road pierces the Levee and there is a huge cement gate you drive through and there are metal tracks that cross the road where you can lock in big cement doors to seal off the Levee in times of flood.  ::shrugs::  Riding on top of the Levee there is a big change in perspective.  I was used to seeing the Levee Gates from ground level as I drive thru them not from the top as you ride over them.  Here is a picture of what I am talking about...
 
My Keister cries "Uncle"
 
 
As you approach the Levee Gate the paved bike path turns right and descends to street level where sensible people can then cross the road and ascend back up the paved bike path to the other side of the Levee Gate.  I think you can see where this is going.  Straight ahead of me the bike path degrades to a loose gravel trail that goes right up to the cement bridge on top of the Levee Gate.  Not an exactly bike friendly approach.  I of course do the UN sensible thing and pick up speed on the sketchy gravel path and barrel my way to the Levee Gate bridge.  RAMBLER has a front Springer Fork and my new RavX saddle has lots of trail bump reducing features.  It is not enough, not nearly enough.  I hit the cement slope.  Hard.  I make it up to the top owing to momentum and dumb luck only to realize that the exact same incline is waiting for me on the other side of the Levee Gate.  In for a penny, my tailbone gets a pounding!  ::whee, BUMP, ouch::  I ride the bike path on top of the Levee until it starts to veer left away from the Water Treatment Plant next to Simpson Lake.  Uncharted Territory.  I don't know where this path goes or how far.  I know, let's text Tiffany and ask her!  Me, "I'm on the Levee Trail that runs next to the GREENWAY.  I'm on the leg that veers left at the Water Treatment Plant next to Simpson Lake.  Where does this Levee Trail go?"  Tif, "I dunno."  Thanks Sweetie.  So all full of the Lewis & Clark spirit I follow the trail to see where it leads.  It's really windy on top of the Levee.  As I pedal along I get to admire all the small dark ducks floating in the settlement ponds next to the Water Treatment Plant.  I have no idea what species.  Pedal.  Pedal.  Pedal.  I get to see the back side of the other side of Valley Park.  Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.  The bike trail dead ends about two blocks from the large Catholic Church next to the levee near a railroad bridge trestle.  It looks like this...
 
Pay no attention to all the Canadian Geese poop I had to dodge on the bike trail
 
That's RAMBLER in the corner.  I love my bike.  It's a 1995 copy of a 1955 Schwinn Cruiser and it weights over 60lbs.  I'm bragging.  Twice.  Once for how cool my bike is and the second time for how much it weighs.  Here's another picture so you can appreciate just how pretty my bike is...
 
::swoons::
Since I've stopped to take some pictures I get out my water bottle for a drink and no sooner do I have the screw lid off than the wind blows across the top of the water bottle and it sounds like I'm on a HEE-HAW rerun.  Gloom Despair and Agony on me...  Saddle up and pedal back the way I came, take the bike trail off ramp besides the Levee Gate Bridge and link back up to the Greenway at Simpson Lake.  All in all I'm guessing I biked somewhere between 14 and 15 miles today.  I'm tired.  Here's a pretty picture...
 
Flowering tree at my apartment complex
 


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