|Riding just after ice-out and before the frost comes up puts you in weird places.|
Bicycling during this time in the Mid-West is tricky. Off road trails are, for the most part, off limits for quite a while yet. Paved trails are hit and miss. Under the overpasses and under bridges there are still a lot of icy and snowy patches. Tree lined trails will take a while to clear off. Roads are mostly cleared, but pot holes are appearing like zits on a teenager's face before prom now, so it is pretty sketchy. Add in the left over detritus of sand and other Winter trash and it can be a minefield for a road bike.
Gravel can be good, or it can be peanut butter mud, or both on the same ride. Frost heaves are likely, and those weeping muddy patches will start appearing like bleeding scars running down the limestone veins of Iowa. In the meantime, you'd better have yer mud guards, (fenders to us Yankees), on, because the slop is everywhere and keeping dry is tantamount to keeping warm now.
Then there is the challenge of what to wear. Starting out in the morning you may have booties or Winter footwear on, a wind breaker, a wool jersey, and some decent gloves. By noon you might be looking for a place to stash that stuff because you might be frying inside those layers. The wind might make this even more tricky to gauge. Oh yes........there will be lots of wind.
But give me a bike and an open gravel road. I'm ready no matter how sloppy and difficult it might be.