Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas Shopping Bicycle Ride on the Summerset Trail

The intersection near the GeoCouch Score.

Although it has been a very mild December for us in Des Moines, Iowa, our riding has been limited mainly to commuting back and forth to work.  It seems to be cold and wet on the weekends.  Finally we had a forecasted near 50*F and clear blue skies with a gentle to non-existent wind.  Everyone was talking about riding.  So we made plans.  Christmas shopping was necessary and we would be able to do this during our ride.  Mary and I also used this ride to test our new vehicle and since time was limited and sunlight as well we decided to drive to the trail.  This would save 2 hours and allow us to wait until it warmed up.  If I remember correctly, it was 23*F when we woke up.  Needed to give the Sun a few hours to warm Iowa up.

We took one touring bike with only its rear panniers and one road bike.  Now to get them into the vehicle.  My ideal requirement for a car is the ability to get two road bikes inside without having to disassemble them and close the doors and hatch.  The safest place for a bicycle during vehicular transport is inside the vehicle.  In the past we did this with a Saab and a Toyota Land Cruiser.  We could get two bikes in back of the Taurus but front wheels had to come off.  As luck would have it, an opportunity for me to spend all my Christmas money in December appeared in the form of a Honda CR-V which I bought at the beginning of the month.  Now it was time to test it.

The 520

Two bikes inside.

Seats fold down quite nicely providing 58" of horizontal room in back.  Lift open the rear window and then open the tailgate which sings to the right.  Put bicycles inside and close tailgate.  Window closes last which helps with adjustments of bikes and loading gear.  I placed the Trek 520 in first as it was longer and had racks and bags.  An old sleeping bag was used to keep the bikes separated.  Nothing irks me off more than stupid scratches especially during transport.  The Honda has a trailer hitch for an external bike rack and room for a roof rack but as stated earlier the safest place for bicycles during transport is inside the vehicle.  IF I wanted to I could make an internal rack to hold the bikes upright but that would require removal of the front wheels and thus putting unnecessary stress on the headset plus added steps.  Bikes safe we drove to the Summerset Trail in Carlisle.

Our 11 mile ride to Indianola on this trail was nice.  The people we met, every one of them, said that it was "a lovely day for a bike ride!"  Nice to encounter people not jaded by armleutching cyclists. As we rolled near Banner State Park and its shooting range we could hear gunfire.  That was on our left.  BOOM!!!  That one was on our right.  Mary saw the orange hat.  Deer season!  I hope that they were not shooting in the direction of the trail.  I had a Safety Yellow jacket on so I should have stood out in the brown December background.

Another thing we noticed.  The fields had a lot of water err ice.  Indianola had piles of snow here and there.  This seemed strange to us because we have only had a dusting or two of snow and relatively warm weather, but south of Des Moines was hit hard.  Indianola may have had 4" two weeks prior when we got nothing.  No snow on the trail.

Outside Crimson Anchor Coffee.  Had I been paying attention I would have noticed the flat tire.   Very apparent in this photo.

All our loot inside.  Merry Christmas!!

Once in our destination town we rode to the square.  We made our second visit to Crimson Anchor Coffee.  The previous trip was in September, coffee review, and our initial thought was that we should return here to purchase Christmas gifts someday.  The coffee shop shares the same roof with two other shops.  First things first, order coffee and thenlook around for presents.  We made sever purchases.  Bad news hit.  The owner of the building is ending their leases at the end of the year.  Crimson Anchor and the gift shops must relocate.  "No fear, this is his passion," she said.  Damn, finally have a destination in Indianola instead of the trailhead and turn around.  Good news.  A brew pub is to move in.  Bittersweet.  Not like there are not enough brew pubs near us but there is not one in Indianola.  I'll miss the coffee but enjoy the beer.  I know that CA will relocate.  Bittersweet indeed.

Still kicking myself for not making a purchase of beans back in September.  Not making the same mistake twice!

We left our bicycles outside the coffee shop and loaded our booty in them and then walked the square to see what else was available.  There is a business that does pottery, woodwork and powder coating so we stopped in and purchased a few items.  $75 to paint a bike frame.....  Another store gave me a free sample of CBD oil to put on my shoulder that has been bothering me.  Nice!  People saw us on bikes and smiled and said what a great day it was for biking.  After completing the square we loaded up and set off for home.

Universal sign of bike issues.

Something was wrong.  Flat tire.  SoB!!  Completely flat.  Rear of course.  Schwalbe Marathon Supreme.  Survivor of two week long tours.  1288 miles on that tire.  Mary decided to go back and revisit another shop while I dealt with the flat.  Fortunately I packed my tire repair kit, levers tubes and pump.  I grabbed a tube that I removed from another wide road tire that I was going to use for Mary's winter tires.  I also had a 700x25 tube for Mary's roadie.  Disconnect the brake and flip the bike over and remove the wheel.  Sit on the bench and get to work.  Appeared to be a puncture as a bit of something had embedded itself into the center of the tire.  Nothing sharp on the inside of the tire.  I pumped up the tube but could not find the leak.  Put the replacement tube in.  Something is wrong.  CRAP!!  I grabbed a 26" tube!  Wrong tube!  Fortunately, there is an outdoors shop here, canoes, kayaks and bikes.  I sent Mary there to purchase a proper tube.  Soon we were back on the road.  Daylight was limited.  Time to fly.  Glad we drove to the trailhead instead of riding from home.  It would have been dark by the time we got home.  For that matter I think it was dark by the time we did get home.

The trail was the same.  Downhill for the first 5 miles.  All the bicycles we encountered were heading to Indianola.  The gun range was still open.  More importantly for me, the restroom at the gun range was open.  I made my own explosion in the nick of time.  Steel cut oatmeal, Burger King and coffee was a near lethal mixture!!

Illegally dumped couch.

Ready for a long winters nap!

Then a GeoCouch Miracle occurred!  I spotted two couches discard on the side of a gravel road just off the trail.  One was a hide-a-bed partly in the ditch and frozen on the ice.  Obligatory photos were a must.  This may have been my 67th score.  After we left and when I went to take a photo of the street sign two truckloads of orange clad hunters rolled by.  Should have told them that the deer ran the other way a few minutes before.  4 of them, full speed over the trail.  For more information on Bicycle GeoCouching use the following link  Bicycle GeoCouching

At last we reached the trailhead.  The new tube did not spring a leak and it held the air I pumped in. No other mechanical issues.  Unload the purchases and then load the bikes.  Success.  Maybe take 4 panniers next time.

All the presents unloaded.  The snowman bowl is for Mary's collection.  Uncensored photo to be released after Christmas.  There is a possibility that the recipients may read this blog.

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