Sunday, January 6, 2013

exploring an alternate bike route (warning: dorky helmet photos)

With ice everywhere, I've been driving my car to work, rather than the bike.  I really, really miss my bicycle commute.  I've been thinking that maybe I could find a way to circumvent the bike path.  Maybe it's still possible to bike to work, if I choose nicely cleared streets.  Mind you, I LOATHE riding with traffic, but I'll do it when I don't have an alternative.

Since it was gorgeously sunny and a balmy 23 degrees out today, I set out to look for an alternate route.  Best to do that when time is not a factor, when errors won't mean I am late for work.  Besides, any day WITH a bike ride beats pretty much any day without one.  

You gotta dress right for a chilly ride.  Started out with my lightweight winter boots (they are nice and slim, and wool socks under them are enough - the ones that are rated for 80 below zero weigh like 8 pounds or something and are ginormous). 

(Okay, so when you photograph your own feet, it DOES come out upside down, but I swear I flipped it, but it seems to be determined to remain as original.  Welcome to my upside down world.)

Jeans with the running tights under them.  Long-sleeved UnderArmour shirt, topped by long-sleeved workout shirt, topped by long-sleeved fleece shirt with zip up neck.  You gotta keep the digits warm (and for me, that's serious work - I'd happily wear gloves in a 65 degree room!)  I chose snowmobile gloves for the job.  It happens that the only pair I own are a black and a blue - refugees but compatible (and who ever said I was stylish?)

Crappy helmet (grumping all along at my friend the pastor, who persuaded me to promise to always wear one...grrrr) with headband under to keep the ears warm - makes the helmet extra-dorky (what a benefit).  Face warmer, pulled down off the nose, so as not to fog up the glasses.  Yes, I am thrilled to look like this.  NOT!  

Anyway, it was all plenty of clothing for a nice 23-degree sunny afternoon.  Off I went to explore.  I had seen from the road that the bike path wasn't cleared.  So first I took the streets over to the Arsenal bridge, which only left me on the streets about 3 blocks longer than usual.  I jumped on the sidewalk in the last block to get up on the bridge.  Davenport or the Arsenal or somebody has lavishly supplied salt on that slightly steep sidewalk - hallelujah for no ice.  

Here's a peek, from the Arsenal bridge on the Iowa side, down at the bike path I was avoiding... 

See, the ice is somewhat cleared.  But I am completely a klutz, so I won't be risking crossing stuff like that.  Here's a pretty shot of the dam, just for free:

And my shots of the Arsenal bridge are probably getting old by now, but I do enjoy them...

  Across the bridge, the sidewalk/bike path was nice and clear, up to the point of the bike bridge.  I had looked from my car and knew it wasn't clear at the Illinois end.  See?

I could drive right off into a little snow bank...great fun, that would be.  And then, beyond the drift headed into Rock Island is more ice...
 So today I did not cross the bike bridge.  Today I rode along the car bridge, on the sidewalk (illegal and annoying, but I'm trying to work with people's expectations here, where it's reasonable to do so).  Ever wondered about that bridge that so terrified me, before God delivered me of my fear of heights?  Here's a shot looking down at it from the car bridge.

 When I got across the car bridge, I simply turned with traffic at the light and followed on the road down to 20th street in Rock Island, where I could turn left and shoot through the downtown.  That little section of road, before turning into downtown, is my least favorite part of the alternate route, as the road is not wide and there is just NO WAY for me to get out of traffic's way.  But today, it worked.  I cruised around downtown Rock Island, and there is no ice problem there.  I'm pretty sure 11th street is all clear now - I'll verify that tomorrow when I drive (can't bike on Mondays anyway, due to schedule constraints.)

Long story short:  looks like I may well be back to biking to work later this week!  WOO HOO!!!

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