Morning rides are my favorite time for riding the trails. It's quieter, it's cooler, and I'm more likely to see wildlife. Then there's the morning light. It always soothes and repairs the soul.
The High Trestle Trail is one of my favorite trails to ride. However, weekends usually result in it being too busy for my taste. I took a gamble on gloomy weather keeping most folks away and chose this trail to kick off participating in another 30 Days of Biking. It had been a while since I rode here and I discovered some new features along the trail.
Leaving Woodward I noted the new sharing library in the design of a train car. The majority of free libraries I come upon have mostly children's books but this had a good variety.
Reaching the bridge I had it all to myself for a while. One of the perks of being out on a gloomy morning. I heard geese, chorus frogs, and even a pheasant. Remembering I had binoculars with me I tried to spot him, but didn't have any luck.
Approaching Madrid I couldn't miss seeing the new "on/off ramp" providing an additional way to get from the trail to local businesses. Outside Flat Tire Lounge, I noticed their own sign pointing the direction and mileage to typical trail stops.
Greg over at Gravelo has been working on what he's calling a renegade project contributing a bench to the trail. I was excited to find it. Made with former railroad materials It's coming along nicely. It's pretty cool to see people leaving something behind along the trail and it not being trash.
The Ballard Bombers were playing the Valley Tigers at the ballfield when I arrived at Earl Grimm Park. I watched the game for a while and ate the sandwich I had brought along. Can't beat a Saturday that includes bike riding, baseball, and new discoveries.
With a few extra hours in my day and weather uncharacteristic to February, I packed the handlebar bag and set out for Minburn. It's one of the sleepier towns along the Raccoon River Valley trail with a handful of houses, a grain elevator (of course) and a tiny "downtown". A bit of planning is required if choosing Minburn as a stopping point as trail amenities are scarce.
The ride was as lovely as the weather. Spring technically isn't here yet but hearing a Meadow Lark sing and seeing a turtle sunning itself in the warm sunshine indicated otherwise.
The Iron Giant cruised along nicely. I have been very happy with the change of handlebars I made late last year. Recently I removed the pedal cages and so far have been pleased with that decision as well. I suspect the next downsizing will involve the bike computer. I find it unnecessary to be constantly reminded of my slow speeds. The only useful information it does relay is how many miles until break time. In this instance, it was twelve 'til tea.
Yorkshire tea and Voortman Almond Krunch cookies were enjoyed at the Minburn town square. The trail mix ended up making the return trip home.
Rides have few and far between this winter. A lack of snowfall has kept trails clean so my only excuse for ignoring my bike has been cold temperatures. I've turned into a winter riding wimp!
Maybe it was the sunshine and lack of wind. It could it have been seeing cars parked at the trailhead. Perhaps it was guilt for the lack of riding. Regardless, I found myself bundled up and riding towards Dallas Center.
Noteworthy observations were a recently installed bench, a bald eagle resting in a tree, and additional stickers on the John Cisar memorial. The most significant thing was me having ditched my library book, cozy blanket, and cup of tea for a cold winter ride.
Halfway to Dallas Center I turned the bike around. Because it seems winter riding wimps are easily swayed by thoughts of books, blankets, and teacups.
Bundled up and took a pedal around town for a dose of Christmas cheer. Nothing too eventful, but I did run across Cousin Eddy along the way.