Thursday, January 21, 2016

Urban Ramble

Sharing the trail with some Canadian Geese next to the Cedar River
 Wednesday I had to drop off the family truckster for routine maintenance, so since that vehicle has a Thule T-2 rack and a fat bike kit, I decided to take a fat bike so I could just leave the vehicle and take the opportunity for a ride. While my first choice, the Ti Muk, was out of commission with a mysterious soft rear tire issue, I decided that the Blackborow DS would have to do.

Things have moderated around here weather-wise. It's in the teens above zero now! Funny how much of a difference that makes after being down below zero so often for a few days time. I was feeling fine and the streets and sidewalks were covered with a light dusting of snow we had gotten overnight. I had to be very careful about those hidden "land mines" of ice! But before that, I had to drive over to the repair shop. On the way, I scoped out possible routes through the downtown area.

I knew my route coming back from the repair shop for about the first third of the way back. It was through an older residential area, and then I was going to cross the Cedar River near to where the former Rath Packing Company once was. All that's left of that now are a few mammoth brick buildings which are in various states of decay. I would avoid passing under the shadow of those derelict monuments of Waterloo's meat packing past and cross on the 11th street bridge which has been recently replaced. It's a nice bridge with a wide, smooth bike/walk way on the Eastern side.

The morning Sun is shrouded by clouds over the Cedar River.
I ended up spying out the bike path along the Cedar River, and since things had gotten above freezing for a while last week, and then froze hard, the once nearly unrideable powdery, sand-like snow was now a crusty fat biker's dream surface. So, although parts of the trail were deep in snow, I floated right on top with the massive 4.8"ers. It was fun while it lasted. I was bombing over some old drifts and climbing like a champ, despite icy patches where my wheel would spin out briefly.

The almost Velcro-like traction of this drifted, crusty snow was a dream to ride on. Too bad there wasn't more of it on my route! 
One thing that I have become a little jaded by, and maybe forgetful of, is that many people still haven't seen a fat bike, or haven't seen one up close. I was reminded of that on my ride. As I was riding a wide bike path along a busy street, a guy in a work truck literally jammed on his brakes to stop and get a look at me as I rode down the walk. Good thing there wasn't any following traffic! I kind of felt like a circus freak for a moment or two, but then it passed.

I kind of watched other people's eyes as they passed me by along the streets, and I also saw some of these drivers or passengers doing some rubber necking. It became kind of comical after a while. So, I guess fat biking is still kind of a rad deal, especially in Winter. I figured everyone knew about it by now.

1 comment:

That Iowa Boy said...

Long time reader, first time commenter and after reading your circus freak line, I just had to comment! Down here in southern Iowa, Creston specifically, we (3 of us) cyclists do get looked at like weirdos, and I get the "training for Ragbrai?" comments all too often. But the last two nights I have been out riding my fatty I have been honked at (positively followed by a thumbs up and a wave), cheered on, commented towards about my bike, and tons of rubber necking. I think its bizarre that even when I ride around Des Moines, people still stop me to ask questions and take test rides. And here I thought fat bikes were too "mainstream."