This shouldn’t happen to anyone before their first cup of coffee: As I was bicycling in to work this morning, pre-dawn, cruising down Rose Garden at a decent clip, I found the road to be completely covered with dried seed-pods. So covered that the lane stripes were difficult to see. This, in itself wasn’t so unusual — at certain times of the year I’ve seen them blown about and scattered across the road by the wind. It was only after about a mile of spinning through them, tires constantly crunching, did I realize they weren’t seed-pods, but were really grasshoppers completely covering the ground. Not an easy thing to try to come to terms with so early in the morning.
Since the desert between north Phoenix and Carefree Highway is quickly being gobbled up by developers — especially along Carefree Highway where they’ve been widening it to four lanes all the way from I-17 out to Cave Creek Road. I decided that if I was going to ride across it to the ranch, I had best go do it.
I started by riding pavement to Deer Valley Road and 7 Street, then north along 7 Street, crossing the CAP aqueduct. Just a short distance across the CAP, is a small paved road heading east which has a break in the fence, on the north side, giving access to some faded double-track heading generally north-east. A couple of short climbs into the Union Hills put me past both the Cave Butte and Cave Creek Dams. The rest of the ride was over fairly flat and uneventfull land. As a matter of fact, I got bored riding along a freeway-smooth dirt road I found and headed off along a cow path that cut across the road. I did find the herd, by the way, they were all taking it easy in the shade of trees surrounding a large water basin. I eventually made a moderate climb and came out at the top of Central Avenue and Dove Valley Road in New River. From there it was just a short semi-paved ride to the ranch. In all, it was an hour and a half to loaf along 17 miles, six of which were paved.
To test the new bike, and show it off some, I rode out to visit my Grandparents in Sun City. It was all on pavement, but today was very windy. There were a couple of times I just about got blown out into traffic by gusts when crossing a minor street. With the nasty head-wind, it took a bit over two hours to travel the 18 miles.
It’s been a tough month scraping the cash together so quickly, but I replaced my stolen bike today. John at the Golden Spoke was very helpful, not only did he discount the bike to what I had paid last year — the price had gone up because Raleigh had made vast improvements to frame and components — but he also replaced all the little upgrades I had put on the previous bike, and didn’t charge me a dime for them. Yes, he’s gained a customer for life.
Ever wonder why you can’t get an insurance “rider” for a bicycle, but they’ll happily over insure your fishing tackle? It’s mildly irritating when you’re looking for insurance and incredibly infuriating when you discover you definitely had a need for it. My bike became “just another statistic” last Tuesday.