Monday, April 08, 2024

Country Views: Green Creeps In

Escape Route: Alleys.
After a nasty weather stretch which lasted for several days we finally had a day that was "tranquil" in comparison. It was Sunny, the temperatures were in the low to mid-50's, and the wind was just under 20mph with gusts to 25mph. Mere gentle breezes compared to what had been going on before this. 

I had a hankering to ride the King Fab Honeman Flyer, so I saddled up and headed down the Sergeant Road Bike Path Southward. This won't be possible to do soon since there are plans to replace some ancient, small rail road bridges which cross drainages at a few points along the trail. The construction should start soon. Then I'll have to find another way out of town Southwards if that's where I want to go for a ride. 

On my previous ride out in the country to this one, things were barely turning green, but on this ride it was quite evident that Spring is here. The grass is green, the leaves are starting to come out on the smaller trees and brush, and the farmers have been busy.

The hint of leaves coming out could be seen here and there along the bike path.

It sure looks as though the farmers have been in the fields.

I'm still kind of in my "getting to know you" phase with regard to the Honeman Flyer. So, no big ride mileage today, and for testing, I rode my regular loop down Aker Road, over to Quarry Road, back on Beck Road to Petrie, then over to Ansborough and back toward Waterloo. 

There are some good grades out on that loop which would test the climbing and the descending traits of the bike and my legs, of course! But along the course of this ride, I learned something remarkable about this bike, which I will get to in a bit. 

What the heck is this? Hero gravel South of town? Crazy!

We've had some decent amounts of precipitation lately on several occasions, but we are still no where near being out of the woods when it comes to this drought. The roads were bone dry, dusty, and while there was plenty of places where water was standing in the ditches, the streams are still very low. 

Rural garbage truck. The amount of dust being kicked up is a sign we're still in drought mode.

Is this field planted already?

I saw a lot of fields that looked like the image above where you could discern rows of.....something. Is this corn? In every instance that I saw this it was a field that had soybeans in it last year, so I surmised that it was corn. I'm probably wrong, but if not, this feels pretty early for corn planting. 

Beck Road

So, while I was lost in thought, which isn't uncommon while I am riding, I suddenly felt a tugging on the handle bar. I had found myself in a rut created by a large wheel and tire which had made an impression into the road when things were wet, but was now solid as concrete. My front tire had caught the left side of the ridge in the rut, causing my front tire to scrub and be pulled hard to the left. 

I was clipping along at probably 12mph - 14mph at the time, which is the window for my normal pace. So, on any other bike, this situation would have jerked the handlebar out of my hands or caused the front wheel to flop to the left . In either case, I would have been going down. 

Somehow, and I credit the geometry of the bike for this, I was able to hold the bars steady and steer out of the rut. The force pulling the wheel to the left was so great I could actually feel the carbon steer tube wind up a bit! That was crazy! But I kept the rubber side down, as they say, and rode on amazed by what had happened.

Look closely and you'll find the three deer in this image.

So, the rest of the ride went pretty well. I did run across a fellow on his road bike who said he was down this way from Rochester, Minnesota to ride our trail system. This was when I got back into town and was riding home on the paved trails. He looked at me funny, and I guess I can understand since I was riding the Honeman Flyer with its wild paint job, riding single speed (!), and riding with a flower covered vest and pink wool socks (!!!). He peeled off at a trail intersection and I did not see him again. But it was cool to know that people are already coming down to ride our trails here. 

Two and a half hours later I got home and was pretty tired. That wind made me work! But what a great day on the bike. 

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