I Almost Crashed

Trail: The urban trails of Urbandale and Windsor Heights, Colby Greenbelt Trail

Location:  Walker Johnson Park to 73rd Street in Windsor Heights

Ride Length:  Short

Surface:  Asphalt

Terrain: Flat except for steep portions flanking street bridges

Date:    12-12-2013

Time:    10:30 AM

Weather: 20’s/Calm/Partly Cloudy

Starting Point:  Walker Johnson Park -  located on Douglas Ave, West of 86th Street, in Urbandale

Ride Map


Overview

  • This asphalt urban trail runs from Walker Johnson Park in Urbandale, to Windsor Heights where it meets up with the Clive Greenbelt Trail.  

  • The trail travels in wooded areas following North Walnut Creek.  It is in pretty good condition except for bumps due to tree roots growing under the asphalt.  There are some steep grades going under street bridges.  

  • I used Walker Johnson park as my trail head.  Facilities were closed for the season, however the Urbandale Public Library was closeby for needed water and restrooms.

  • First I circled the pond at the park to see how I would do on the bike in the snow before heading out on the trail.

  • I turned around and headed back towards Urbandale when I reached 73rd street and University in Windsor Heights.

Considerations

  • Since this was my first ride in the snow  I decided to borrow my husbands mountain bike. Even though there only a couple of inches of  snow, I figured the Iron Giant’s tires would probably not do so well.  I was glad I brought the mountian bike as sections of the trail were not cleared off well.

  • Despite them getting a bad rap from certain cycling circles, I’m a big fan of the kickstand.  My point was proven when I had to lay my husbands bike (which doesn’t have a kickstand) on the ground while I got ready for my ride.

  • YIKES!! Coming up from under the Hickman avenue bridge  I had a close call.  I turned a bit too sharp on a snowy spot and the bike slid out from under me.   Thankfully I was able to catch myself and stay upright. That was SCARY!!   Note to self: When in the snow, ride slower and take corners and curves slowly! I very carefully returned back to the park while calming my jangled nerves.

Stops

  • No stops just photo ops.

Sightings

  • There are several pieces of art on display in both Walker Johnson park and the courtyard of the Urbandale Public Library.  I saw some hands waving hello, some fish frozen in time and a bunch of kids who needed to be wearing their coats on a cold winter day.

  • There were a LOT of deer along the trail.  I saw at least 7 during my ride.  They were all very tame and didn’t run away.   

  • Just south of Hickman I saw a group of future postal workers practicing their driving skills.  They had a network of cones to navigate through and also mail boxes for test deliveries.

  • I didn’t expect to crack up laughing on this bike ride.  Just off the trail Colby Greenbelt Trail I saw an ape swinging from the trees!  A Windsor Heights resident with a great sense of humor had hung up an ape made from plywood to “moon” folks riding by.  Hilarious!

Treats

  • After wrapping up my ride it was time for lunch. To be honest big reason I chose to ride the Urbandale trail was so I could go Ted’s Coney Island for lunch.  I always get the same sandwich  when I go there.  The falafel!  It’s a fantastic vegetarian option that has tons of flavor.  Plus, it’s fun to order because the person working the counter yells “falafel!!” to the guys at the grill.  

Wrap Up

Despite almost crashing, It was a blast riding in the snow.  Hearing the crunching sound the tires made along the trail while experiencing something new was invigorating.  I’ll definitely be riding in the snow again. 

Happy Riding!