Tonight was the last Wednesday Night Bike Ride. It being October, sunsets are coming pretty early. There isn’t much time for after work rides.
Tonight’s ride was on a toll road – the Capital City Trail. The county website says the trail is closed for repaving ( though the same site says it will reopen mid-September, so there are no recent updates). Multiple other sources assured me that the paving is complete and the trail is open.
They were wrong, as evidenced by the “trail closed” signs at each road crossing/ trail entrance. The crossings are being redone and have six inch deep cuts, with gaps of 1-3 feet in the pavement. Trying to jump them would result in damage to more than a tire if one missed.
Due to the 25 mph wind, the trail was covered by debris including leaves, twigs, branches, and (concealed in the leaves) black walnuts. For those unfamiliar with black walnuts, they are a little bigger than golf balls, green, and slippery.
Due to the 85 degree temperature, the new asphalt attracted dozens of snakes 6-24 inches long (15-60cm for the Canadian readers) basking in the heat.
I forgot my phone. That it was momentarily distressing stuck me as odd, as I’ve had a cell phone for only six months. Still, it was with me every day for 4400 miles this summer, and its absence meant no pictures of this ride. Early on there were a couple of detours due to underpasses that were underwater. Later there were multiple stream crossings on a trail that isn’t supposed to cross any streams. It does run through marshland and the wet weather this summer meant a couple of dozen areas where we crossed running water. The wind was from the south and the last few miles we returned north. The tailwind was pretty nice.
In Praise of Quality Stuff
Long time readers of this blog know that I have a couple of bikes nearly 29 years old. I believe in buying good things and using them for a long time. When I returned from a 2 month trip this summer I discovered that the gauge on my tire pump had failed. I bought this pump in 1974. Ten or so years ago I replaced the hose, as it had begun to leak. I’ve had to replace the rubber chuck a few times. The leather washer in the barrel needs occasional re-lubing. I am happy to say that, after nearly 45 years a replacement gauge is still available. The pump and new gauge worked fine tonight. I think it will outlive me. Maybe I’ll will it to one of my kids. I don’t often plug specific products, but this pump is still available, in an updated version. It costs more than most, but is serviceable, repairable, and durable. Why buy anything else?
This may be the last Wednesday Night Ride, but it’s not the last ride. Stay tuned for the Ocooch Fall Ride and the annual Blue Spoon to Little Village ride. And you still have until October 15 to vote in Madison Magazine’s “Best of Madison” awards for your favorite local blog (in the “Arts and Entertainment” category).