Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bacon with a Side of Drizzle


Todd and Chris
While the radar and forecast didn't call for rain, there was a drizzle that hung in the air for a few hours.  This sucks for folks like me who wear glasses.  I had to wipe them off every now and again, and came close to just riding myopically with no specs.

Fresh Meat

The new guy, Todd, showed up on a brand new steel Allez with retro down tube shifters.  Despite not having gravel tires and clipless pedals, he hung in there pretty good.  I hope to see him out there on some other rides.

Oh No! A Flat!
Pinch flat!
Somewhere near Richfield, Todd got a pinch flat.  Chris, being a roadside flat tire expert (grin), took the lead in helping Todd unmount and remount the tire.  I was pleased to offer the services of my new Lezyne pump (see Amazon link below).  It took his replacement road tube up to full pressure in just a few minutes.  The pump has a dual headed hose, and mounts securely on my frame and doesn't rattle at all.  I'm pretty sold on this pump.

Lights and Loops: They Don't Mix

Somewhere along Mahoney Road, Todd's new Planet Bike Superflash (the new 1W version is plenty bright) bounced off his seat bag loop.  He stopped to look for it while Chris and I rode on a mile or so before turning back to see what was up (oops!).  Unfortunately, he couldn't find the light.

What's the Toll?

We had a funny incident with the kid running the gate at Plate River State Park.  This guy seemed like he was 14 years old, but it was amazing how he was running the show there.  We stopped and asked how much for bikes (it's $4 for a daily pass for autos).  He scratched his chin and said, "Hmm, I don't know.  Bikes usually just ride on through.  No one has ever stopped and asked."

Respecting his authority, I told him it was up to him to tell us, however, I offered $4 for the three of us, and reminded him that the bikes plus the riders was still way lighter on the roads on than a single auto.  He looked at us, half smiling, but with a bit of sternness, making me think he'd charge us $4 each if he thought more about it.  Again, I made my offer, handing over some cash, and thankfully, he accepted, giving me a sticker pass, which I put in my pocket (I'm not going to stick it on my bike).  Whew!  

The Reward

We rolled into PRSP just in time to see Leah, Mark, and another Todd just getting ready to leave.  Leah made the Bacon Ride after having won a race title just the day before.  Wow, Leah!

Fortunately, they didn't not eat all of the food, as they indicated to me as we were parking the bikes.

Todd's plan was to call his wife to come out with the kids and spend some time at the park. 

Unaware of each other's actions, both Todd and Chris paid for my breakfast (oops!). 

The Return

Chris and I rode back along the usual Fishery/Pflug route.  It was pretty awesome.  We seemed to take turns chasing each other, which might mean we were pretty well matched for the day's ride.

Around Walnut Creek, we decided to ride back through Papillion and La Vista to save some time, versus riding back on the creek trails.  This worked out pretty well, since the residential streets protected us from the wind that was picking up.

About this time I'm beginning to notice this weird cramp/numbness with the toes on my right foot.  Does anyone know what this is all about, and how to fix it?

I think after doing this ride several times, I'm finally able to remember all of the residential streets and turns to pass more swiftly through La Vista and Papillion, saving a few miles over riding the creek trails.  I hope to do it next time without a cue sheet. 

A B-Cycle station near the Keystone Trail
On the way back on the Keystone, we saw a woman riding a B-Cycle.  We stopped at Aksarben Village to check them out.  I think it might be fun if we all rode B-Cycles on the next Bacon Ride.  That would be one heck of a workout.

Ain't Gravel Fun?

Todd climbs the Mahoney Hill
I enjoyed seeing some new roads, choosing Turkey Road out of Walnut Creek, and Mahoney Road out of Louisville.  I just really enjoy riding gravel roads, and hope to be able to explore them all before they get paved over someday.

I like trains!

Chris likes trains, too. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Missouri River Flooding along Council Bluffs and Omaha Bike Trails

Pell and I rode out Sunday morning to check out how flooding has affected bike facilities between the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in the north and the Veterans Memorial Bridge to the south.  What we found wasn't surprising, giving the history of flooding in some of these areas, but it was nice to document them with photos.

Please see the photos and captions below for some notes on the flooding.

Flood Gate #8.  Normally this is open to allow cyclists to access the Lewis and Clark Landing.

Flood Gate #8

Flood Gate #8.  Note the Bob Kerrey Bridge towers in the background.

The water is only a couple of feet from the top of the walk.

The view of the Omaha skyline from Council Bluffs.  This section of levee appears to have been fortified.

Harrah's Casino parking lot is flooded.  You can see geese on the gravel island.

The Iowa Riverfront Trail is officially closed heading south at Harrah's.

The bike trail passes underneath the parking garage.

The south side of the Harrah's Casino parking garage.

This water level photo shows the bike path simply slipping underneath the water.

The north side of the Ameristar Casino is flooded, as well.

The Iowa Riverfront Trail heading north is officially closed between Ameristar and Harrah's.

Not only is the bike trail closed heading south on River Road from Ameristar Casino, the road itself is closed.  Note the private security protecting the pumps and hoses running across the street.

The levee road heading south from the Western Historic Trails Center is closed.

The trail heading west from the Western Historic Trails Center is closed.

And this is why it's closed.  The trail is under 5-10 feet of water.

From this point on, we rode east to 24th Street in Council Bluffs and picked up the sidepath on Highway 92/275 (Veterans Memorial Parkway) and headed east back toward the South Omaha Bridge.

The trail is almost complete.  There's a missing section between the bridge and a block or so to the east.  The cement sidepath on toward the Willow's Motel is done, but still has "Sidewalk Closed" signs posted.

This used to be a gravel parking lot and trail access for dirt bike and ATV operators.

This looks like the river, but it's actually the motocross park just east of the river.

The Missouri River as seen from the Veterans Memorial Bridge bike path.

This is the first time I've seen the Omaha Riverfront Trail gate open north of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.  Cyclists normally have to lift their bikes over the gate.

This ramp was constructed to allow vehicles to pass over the pump hoses.

This facility is protected by sandbags.

Water is pumped across the levee back into a spillway to the Missouri River.

The pumps here were humming, creating quite a noise.

These hoses were not protected.  To our surprise, a a guy out siteseeing in his pickup truck drive right over the hoses.

There are several cabins and trailers on the wet side of the levee.  I wonder if they will come back after the water recede.

This house is underwater.

I heard that these ramps will flat a bike tire instantly.  I didn't even risk it, preferring to walk my bike over it.

Those welded on grips look very sharp to a high pressure tire.

The gate on the trail at Hickory Street was closed.  There was an OPD cruiser waiting, presumably for the guy in the truck.  The officers didn't say anything to us, but followed us on out to Hickory Street, moving barricades back into the street.

And for fun, Pell and I rode up Hickory Street Hill.

I like this view from the top of the hill in the Dahlman neighborhood.
I'd like to do a similar trip showing the Omaha and Council Bluffs trails heading north from downtown.

If you know of any other interesting spots showing flooding, please discuss below.