Exploration on Two Wheels

On Saturday Tim and I braved the 90 degree weather and went for a monster bike ride.  We took Grand to Kirkwood, Kirkwood to Iowa, and then Iowa to downtown.  We crossed the Mississippi using the Government bridge.  That is one unsettling bridge to bike over, what with the the platform of the bridge being a GRATE and all!  You can look down and see the river flowing beneath your feet.  From there we hit the bike bath and rode east all the way to I-74.  On the way, we saw things we’ve never seen before, even though I’ve lived here for over a decade, and Tim has lived here is whole life.

We discovered Sylvan Island.  It’s this island park between Moline and the Arsenal.  It’s laced with gravel bike-paths and the ruins of a steel mill.  I found this great article on the history of the island and the people who convinced the City to turn it into a park.  Road bikes are not the best bikes to use on those paths, however, so we didn’t ride around much.  We want to go back and hike and take the camera, however.

We also discovered that along the bike path in Moline, there are more industrial ruins – perhaps of John Deere facilities?  It looked as if there were walking paths and signage around the ruins, so we need to go back there with the camera too.

Once we hit the 74 bridge, we turned around and headed back to Rock Island.  We biked through the new Schweibert Park (where the gross casino used to be).  It’s a beautiful park now, and it was packed!

From there we biked downtown and onto the Centennial Bridge.  That bridge is even scarier to bike over than the Government Bridge, as the path is partially blocked at intervals by the beams holding up the arch.  We took it slow, though, and didn’t end up scraping any hands off on the beams.

We biked across downtown Davenport, and then headed up Main Street.  That hill is a KILLER, especially after you have already biked 20 miles in 90 degree heat.  Tim, of course, totally out paced me on the ride up the hill.  As I was slowly cranking my way up the hill, I ran across some people directing traffic (must have been some event at Palmer).  One of the guys was kind enough to give me a push, and, man, it made all the difference.  It gave me a great boost, both physically and mentally.  I love nice people.

Tim and I recuperated for a bit at the top of  hill, drank the rest of the water in our water bottles (which, even though our bottles are insulated was nice and lukewarm), and then headed home through VanderVeer.

By the time we got home, we were drenched with sweat and completely wiped out.  But, it was super fun.  I am so excited that I can see progress.  I am getting stronger and can bike longer and harder.  I’ve been wary of changing my left gear ever since I got my bike. The first time I tried to do it, the chain fell off.  But, since I’m getting stronger, I’ve felt the need to use the hardest gear on the left, and I’ve finally have figured out how to change it without jacking up the chain.  I just have to make sure that I’m in the correct gear on the right side first.  If I’m in the correct gear, the bike shifts seamlessly, amazingly well.

Our plan today is to get the bike rack hooked up to our new hitch, so we can drive over I-80 and catch the bike path there on the Illinois side.  Tim tried to hook the rack up yesterday, but we discovered we received a bum bolt.  It’s threads are off, so when Tim tried to tighten it on the bolt, it became fused to the bolt.  Tim and I together had to muscle it off, amidst a bunch of cussing and hand cramping.  Hopefully we can find a nut at Home Depot that will work until we can get a replacement nut from Swagman.

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day!

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