Trail Ramblings: Off Season? What Off Season?

If you haven’t been riding the last few days, you might be counted among the sensible. For some of us though, it’s just another challenge, or maybe even business as usual. The cold isn’t much of an issue if you’re dressed properly. I sometimes overdo it and end up needing to take off a layer, not believing I’ll soon have warmed up so much, even though I know better. Hands, feet, and usually face excepted. It’s the ice that gives me pause. It’s in times like the present that I’m tempted to get, or make, studded tires. I’ve mainly been using my winter beater bike with less pressure and wider tires. If it had disc brakes I’d try the zip tie trick and tie a couple of dozen around my tires. The edges are supposed to cut into the ice enough to provide some grip. On snow I’m fine, but on ice I take extra care. Today I altered my regular south Lincoln route to avoid ice-pack. The side streets I usually take to pick up the Boosalis Trail were not good, and the Tierra-Williamsburg had big patches of ice further down.

icy southpoint trailThe clincher though, was the South Point loop trail. The stream that runs along it floods the trail easily, and it had done so before freezing over this time, creating what likely would have made some fine ice skating through the whole east section. It was a good thing I came upon it when there was still a little daylight. I took the Rock Island back instead and had no trouble, as it’s elevated and doesn’t hold much water. Later on I took a different street a block over to avoid the icy side street on the way back home and it was completely clear of ice. Sometimes all you need is a small route change to avoid significant trouble.

It’s all worth it though. The trails have been beautiful, especially after the freezing fog frosted all the trees earlier in the week. The streams lift and deposit giant sheets of ice that look like styrofoam, and the lakes show separate channels of lavender and aqua water. Geese look like they are standing on open water, causing a double-take as I ride by.

icy pawnee pakeIt’s always interesting to see how tire tracks in the snow join the trail like tributaries on the Mopac. Just a few coming in from 70th and from 84th. A few more join at 66th, 56th more around 48th, until the trail is covered in tracks when it crosses 33rd. By the time it joins Antelope Valley, tracks are dispersing again to all points downtown or moving on through south.

bike tracks near whittierI’ll see a few of you at Commuter Club at Ploughshares this week. To all of you, be safe and ride on.