Friday, April 09, 2010

Bike Day Three and Bike Day Four

Still a bit of a chill down on the River's Edge.

After working (volunteering) in the San’s organic garden—and riding 12 miles in a strong sunset headwind—a cold Spring head wind I might add—I was out of steam. Driving home put me in at 7:30 in the evening, and I had to still make dinner and clean up, etc, etc… As the evening wore on, I found myself with a mountain to climb to get ready to saddle up yet again at 5:30 a.m. for a 24 mile ride.

Wednesday, Day Three, would be rest day.

Snow melt from Mt. Lemmon, brought to you by El Nino this Winter.

But I did ride my campus bike to the Ft. Lowell pool for a noon-time lap swim! So I think that counts for something. My first of what I hope will be many more laps swims. Ft. Lowell was an old Army outpost from the 1870’s, and every morning on my commute, I ride through the old Parade Grounds. One side of the street the old ruins of the fort remain, and there are plans to try and restore more of the buildings. I can see the old mess hall with huge saguaro cactus growing what would have been the inside—those large saguaro can be 70 to 120 years old, so you know the old fort’s been slowly fading for a long time.

The lap swim went up to $2.00 this year at the Ft. Lowell Pool. I asked the life guard why they never posted the new price, and she said that the City may raise the price at any time—or just shut down all the city pools to save money. She didn’t know sadly…

I have on old bottle from Bike to Work Week from years past. I believe I've ridden in B2WW the last five or six years.

This morning for Day Four of Bike 2 Work Week, seemed very cold. It’s lighter outside, which means I can ride faster—but riding faster is easier said than done, Gentle Reader of This Blog. Actually I felt tired on the hills, and I made it to the bike locker in one hour and 34 minutes—that’s five minutes slower than Monday’s ride.

The Raleigh stowed in my bike locker for the day.

My ride home was a bit more interesting. As it turned out, I felt strong and decided to ride all the way back up to Dog Mtn. Rico, at UofA, normally does not need the car on Tuesday and Thursday—but he needed it Thursday. He was going to pick me up at the golf course, and he tried to make it—but he was running late. No worries—I can ride up to Dog Mtn and home the back way, via the old cattle trails the cowboys used to use.

This is the last stretch of un-paved bike and running path that I know of, here on the North side of the Rillito River. I've just recently read that it will be paved this year.

This part used to be a lot worse, but you can ride it okay--things get a bit dusty, and if its been raining, things get a bit muddy.

One minor obstacle...

Back on the fresh paved part and any time lost on the dirt is quickly made up as you pick up speed. Riders used to have to cross on the Campbell Ave bridge, which is not the safest thing to do as its one lane narrow sidewalk next to busy car traffic--so they want to get that dirt part finished up soon.

Wild flowers are everywhere there's space for them to grow!

Palm trees on Thornydale/River Road at about Orange Grove.

On the way home I stopped in the new Sun Flower Market, as they were supposed to have cold drinks and swag for any bike commuter stopping in the store. I got there and nobody knew anything about it--but there was this one fellow, named Todd, who went to talk to a manager to get some more information--and he got me a cold bottle of water (which I needed, mes amis) and we chatted for a few minutes. He was actually pretty impressed with my commute endeavor and has thought about bike commuting himself. He told me he was going to school and studying to be a police officer. He wished me well, and I wished him good luck with his studies.

Those palm trees look pretty sad, Gentle Readers of This Blog. This corner of a busy intersection was at a time, a car dealership--mostly abandoned as far as I can remember--and it must have been that there was an attempt to save the trees, and then transplant them again for whatever was to be built at this corner. As you know, Tucson, like other places in the US, has had many years of bad economic times--so these palm trees have been left here, and they seem to have now grown quite large. There are at least 100 of them. Maybe some will be able to survive.

The last 6 or 7 miles of my commute on the old cattle and jeep trails, back up to Dog Mtn.

If you've been following my blog, and I hope you have--and if you're a Tucson cyclist--you know how fuckin' dangerous Thornydale from Tangerine down to Linda Vista is--but in the early morning, I can just beat the odds--and since its a fast descent riding 25 to 30 mph, the two miles and change gets over pretty quick.

To ride up in the evening rush hour with all the fucktards haulin' ass would be suicide. So to get back to Dog Mtn and home, I take the old ranch trails the cowboys used to use. Mostly the dirt road is Camino De Oeste, which in Spanish means, "West Trail." Its quiet, scenic, and a gradual and draining climb. But I am very fond of the journey, and I believe of all the times I've ridden this trail, today was the most memorable.

Slow steady pace through the desert, mes amis

Large saguaro are everywhere!

It is against US Federal Law to cut down, remove, or destroy saguaro cactus. The Tohono O'odam people believe the saguaro are their ancestors. I must tell you that when you are in the presense of these incredible living things, you can feel their life-force flowing around you. Each one is as individual as we are--it feels sometimes that they are watching and thinking curiously about what exactly you are as you ride by...

This saguaro is probably 25 to 30 years old. The other trees provide what they call a nursery and the young saguaro are protected by wind, cold, and the sun until they grow more.

This gentle fellow is at least 100 years old or older--and I'd say 4o feet tall. I would not be able to put my arms around its trunk--even if I could it would not be good idea--spines and such...

I have left Tucson many miles behind...

Still riding strong, mes amis!

This large and familiar saguaro, right in the middle of the road, tells me that Tangerine Rd is just up ahead.

Here I am at Tangerine and Camino de Oeste. My house is two miles West and a mile North--just in Dog Mtn.

I've been riding up the dirt trail, and now you can see what the trail will eventually look like: paved. All the saguaro will be bulldozed down to make way for over-priced sub-divisions, mini-malls, Subway, Walgreens, and Target. Because of the poor economy, and the especially bad housing market in Arizona--those days may not come for a long while. After a week of dealing with bullshit, its nice to have a few miles of open desert with peace and quiet, and the sounds of bird songs, and the sweet smell of Spring in the Desert.

Callie is glad I'm home!

Cheers! Bruce

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