TART to Acme

Took my first ride on the TART (Traverse Area Recreation Trail) today up to the nearby town of Acme. Here are a few pics. Click through for a larger view on Flickr.

bike path flanked by snow

TART

Highway next to body of water, peninsula in the distance

East Grand Traverse Bay

bicycle leaning against a brick wall

No Bike Rack at Ace Hardware in Acme

Sign on the trail which reads

Detour

Wetlands

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New

I should call this “Dan Back on Bike”. Today I took my first ride of the year, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So much has happened since last fall. I have a new job, at a new college, and in a new city, Traverse City, Michigan.  So now you can expect ride descriptions and photos from my new town.

Today was one of the first warm, somewhat dry days of the season, so I pumped up the tires and explored the neighborhood a little. It’s a pretty place, but quite hilly. Both my legs and my lungs need to get used to riding again.

I’ve already mapped out the route to work, so commuting will start soon. Stay tuned!

image

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US231 Bypass Bike Path

Bike on paved trailThe US231 Bypass around West Lafayette opened yesterday, so today I decided to try out the bike paths found on each side of the road. Starting at the SR26 intersection, the path follows the new road up to Sagamore Parkway (well, almost all the way. More on that later). This path will most certainly become a staple of my rides to the north side of town.

The path is a little more rolling than the roadway, as it seems that the engineers did less to smooth out the hills than they did for the autos. Nothing difficult, but it does help us get a little exercise – and have fun coasting afterwards.

Here’s a question: since there are two paths – one on each side – is it appropriate to think of one as northbound and the other southbound? I saw both runners and a cyclist travelling ‘against traffic’, but I don’t think there is really any rule. However, OCD riders like me will always use the ‘correct path’. :)

Features

Maybe a little thing, but I was happy to see that the manhole covers for the sewer line that runs parallel to the path are not actually in the pavement, but off to the side. Makes for a more comfortable ride.

Another nice feature is the fact that at intersections the trail crosses in front of the stop lines painted on the cross streets. (Now we just need to train drivers to observe the lines)

There is a fence separating the bike path from the roadway. I guess all divided highways have these fences, but it feels a little weird to be on the other side.

Probably my favorite change as part of the project isn’t related to the bike path – a left turn lane from SR26 to Newman Rd. Regardless of if I’m travelling on my bike or in a car, left turns will be easier and safer for all involved.

Left Turn Lane for Newman Road

Still Work to Do

Construction crews are still working on an intersection in front of the Crossroads church – finishing the church entrance and what seems to be a new road heading west through the Wake Robin expansion towards Klondike Road – and in this area both paths are unfinished. Luckily there is a generous shoulder along the road that is suitable for bicycle use.

Road to Nowhere

I was surprised to see that the north end of the path just ends with a mini cul-de-sac layout – with no where to go. Today I was able to walk over to the road, but once the fence is finished that won’t be an option. What is the plan? Will they extend the path over to McCormick Road? Until something is worked out, I will jump over to the shoulder at the McCormick Road access. On the southbound side, the current state is a little better, as the trail end is very close to Bethel Drive.

End of the Trail - Northbound

Summary

Overall, these paths are a fine addition to the Lafayette area’s infrastructure. I hope that the State can figure out a better terminus for the north end of each side of the intersection.

Now, why don’t you get out and try this new route? Let me know what you think in the comments.

(View all photos from the ride)

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September is a Wonderful Bike Month

Photos from my last couple of rides. Click through for more info and other Flickr goodness.

Not Much Death Here Anymore

Gnarly Tree

Another Great Day for a Ride

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Turkey Shoots Tour

Turkey Shoots Every Sunday

I’ve ridden past this sign many times over the years, but never thought much about it. But today I noticed that the chain across the entrance was down, so I decided to ride back and take a look.

The dirt path dropped down to the fields pretty steeply, and my street tires found no purchase for most of the way. After that it was about a quarter to half a mile back to the river between two bean fields. Along the way I met up with a heavy duty pickup pulling a large cargo trailer. I jumped over to the side to let it pass, and the driver stopped and said “Can I help you?”

This gentleman seemed about sixty years old and was pretty surly, with a wife that looked about the same. I answered that I was just getting some exercise, and he replied that “it gets to be private property back there”.

Of course, that made me want to see more. I promised to be careful and we each went our separate ways.

Back in the Woods

Near the river the fields ended and I entered a wooded area. There was a pair of steel poles with hardware for another security chain, so I’m guessing that this was where it was getting to be private property, but I continued.

The photo doesn’t really capture the lushness of the trees and undergrowth – a very pretty area.

Turkey Shoot Compound

The path met the river and turned to follow it for a ways. At the end of the road was a small building with a TV antenna flanked by RVs and pickups. A fire was burning behind a dirt mound. I decided that I was close enough to the private property and didn’t go any closer.

Wabash River

The Wabash is quiet here.

The Path In and Out

This is the path heading back. The tree line in the distance is at the edge of River Road. Click any photo to jump to the Flickr page where I’ve geotagged each shot.

Wabash River Ride

In other news, the Wabash River Ride was held a couple of weeks ago, and their Dan Henrys are still clear on the pavement. I may try one of the routes soon.

There Used to Be an FAA Shack Here

This fence on 300W used to surround a shack that presumably held airplane navigation equipment. It was taken down last year.

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Road Bike Reunion

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden my road bike, so I got it out both yesterday and today to see if I remembered how it worked. Both trips were successful, but I learned that my body is not used to that bike or that kind of riding.

Right out of the gate, I remembered how I used to always wear padded biking shorts on this saddle, and decided to revive the practice. On this bike, I tend to ride faster and pedal harder, but on day one I found that I went too fast and too far, and each time I stopped I found myself a little dizzy. Could also be because of my lack of riding in the past couple of years or my general lack of fitness, but I’m going to blame the bike.

My everyday bike is a 1997 Trek 820 mountain bike – no shocks. I’ve replaced the knobby tires with a street model that has a little traction for cornering and a low friction bead in the center. I pump them up pretty tight and they provide a fast, smooth trip. The saddle has a little bit of padding (Nashbar bargin) and a slot in the middle to protect the tender bits. Top it off with padded grip shifters, and I’ve got a pretty good ride. It even handles frieght with a strong cargo rack in the back and my wide array of panniers and bungees.

My road machine is also a Trek, but this one a mid-2000s Pilot 1.0. Except for the slightly upright postion, it is all road bike. I used it on my now famous 2 1/2 daysof RAGBRAI in 2007, and it served me well (except for the saddle sores). However, I need to get used to the seat and position, and maybe adjust for my slightly heavier physique.

Anyway, enough about me, the scenery along the Wabash River was lovely as always. Plenty of birds singing and flying about, and not many motorized vehicles to spoil the tranquility. Here are some pics:

Wabash River on a Cloudy Day

Wabash River on a Cloudy Day

Lonely Bike

Lonley Bike on Granville Bridge

Future Totem Pole?

Future Totem Pole? (I hope so)

Bike Lane Needs a Little Trim

Bike Lane Needs a Little Trim

Mud Slide

Mud Slide into the Wabash

Wrong Way, Feldman!

Wrong Way, Feldman!

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Riding with the Boy

I convinced my son to head out with me before the rain came. We took what is becoming my usual route by the Fort.

Riding with the Boy

The Mighty Wabash

The Mighty Wabash

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Cycling is my Therapy

Bike handlebars

Signpost at Newman and Division Roads

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Division Road

Nothing better than a bike ride to ease stress. Today I ventured down Division Road.

Division Road

Division in this area is a quiet, shady route, as River Road takes most of the faster traffic.

Much like the other day, I stopped at Fort Ouiatenon to gaze at the Wabash for a few minutes.

Wabash River

Would have been a good place for a picnic.

Should Have Brought Some Lunch

On my way in I stopped by the the site where my wife and I participate in a 1750s reenactment – the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. It’s empty and calm now, but will look much differennt in a few months.

Quiet at the Fort

We setup our tent near the little tree on the right

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Ride to the Fort

Nothing else to do

Marker

Roots

Wabash River

Horse Parking

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