I've got a mile of fairly busy pavement to negotiate to get to Moline Road which then is the escape route to the Northern gravel. That busy road has no shoulder. Nothing. It is a remnant of how roads were done going back to the 1950's, most likely, when this paved county road intersected with HWY 63 pretty much out on the very edge of Waterloo, Iowa. So ingrained is the perception that this road is a "highway" that drivers ignore the speed limit and drive highway speeds right up into the city's edge. Compound that with the fact that when I am going out I have to climb a bit of a hill before my left turn out of the city and that means that passing cars are very reticent to give me any space. Yes- we have a passing law, but no one enforces it, so it is a moot point.
|The temperatures have swung back and forth so much that most of our snow cover is gone.
This makes that mile to get out on gravel a hair-raising experience at times. Winter is worse because motorists have decided I am stupid for being out on a bike in the cold anyway, so why care about my well being? It's funny how we go from a rage inducing annoyance in Summer to a being that is not worth having Life in Winter.
But I made it out there.
Then I turned North, and once I hit the gravel, well, the other shoe fell.....
|Mushy, wet gravel, with a smattering of ice. Not good.
The gravel was crap. Totally mushy and where it was a section that had any cover from trees or buildings near by, it was icy. Bah! Maybe I could make it a few miles and turn back?
Or not.... The chain started skipping and that reminded me that this drive train was due for replacement. Okay, okay! I get the picture here. I turned around, took a few moments to soak in the peaceful countryside, and went back the way that I had come.
I see folks about 70 miles South of us have perfectly dry, clear roads to ride. I see folks a few hours North of us that have perfect fat bike conditions. In between? Crap. Pure crap. It is very discouraging. Now we've swung back to very cold and back to the 40's again between the time I did this short little ride and when this posts. Yo-yo weather. Neither Winter at its finest nor a falsified version of Fall. It's stuck somewhere between and that means it sucks for cycling here right now.
But then again, January usually isn't a great month for outdoor cycling here. I shouldn't be surprised. I'll wait it out and try again soon.......