Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Going For A Saturday Ride

After posting on the greenways I decided I should try some of the new parts.  It wasn't even going to hit 80 degrees today with incredibly low humidity.  A perfect day for a ride.  I'm not sure but I don't believe I've ridden my bike since entering school.  I used to ride those greenways all the time.  The tires were flat and I was missing my water bottle.  A quick trip to the gas station would solve the former.  The tires stated they could handle 40-65 p.s.i. of pressure.  The back tire was filled to 50 p.s.i. and the front tire exploded.  It is always disconcerting when pressurized air sounds like gun going off next to you.  I figured the bike store could install a new inner tube as I shopped for a replacement water bottle.

Less than 15 minutes later I had a good tire and full water bottle.  I normally didn't like the Fall Creek Trail as the section north of Kessler was unmarked, in addition to being on neighborhood streets, and the southern section wasn't that long as it ended at Keystone Ave.  Yet this spring the extension to the Monon was complete and the adventure awaited me.  The trail was light with traffic as it always seems to be.  The crown jewel of the Monon always has the most traffic.  Fall Creek burbled, geese wandered to and from the water, and a few people had fishing poles out.  The new blue steel bridge crossing the creek itself marked the new part.  What was on the other side I didn't know.  But that is the fun part isn't it?  For awhile I could hear the burble of the creek and the roar of the traffic on the road, yet I couldn't see any of it.  I got into some light industrial areas, then caught the side of the railroad that carries the Fair Train next month.  A car went by parallel and below me.  So weird to be so close yet so separate from the automobile traffic.

Fall Creek Trail finally terminated at the Monon where the later used to end.  Turn right and head north towards Broad Ripple and I would see the sights I've seen a hundred times.  Turn left and head south towards the inner city and I would be in unknown territory with new visions.  Turn left into the unknown.  That ws the point of today. 

As I crossed the bridge tressle over the quickly flowing Fall Creek I spotted a blue herron standing in the water simply ignoring the people above it.  A rather large piece of Mother Nature was wading in the middle of a very urban setting.  I continued south through an industrial area.  The remains of railroad tracks that used to service the buildings were everywhere.  Hissing, humming, and puffing sounds were common.  Those were from the machines, not me.  The trail designers had learned something over the years: park benches are good things.  They were plentiful on this new section and some were being used by those needing a quick rest.

The trail is tight with buildings until 25th Street.  Suddenly the buildings set back from the trail allowing me to see the nearing downtown skyline.  Many small streets cross the trail forcing me to slow down and stop to ensure I didn't meet the front end of a Buick.  At the 22nd Street was the hq of Habitat for Humanity.  They were open to the public today until 2pm.  If I had more than 5 minutes I would have liked to gone in.  HfH had a volunteer weekend with the law school last year.  Had I not been committed to something else it would have been interesting to have helped for a day.  Perhaps this year I'll get the chance to help out.  I ran into many people wearing reflective safety vest and carrying trash bags there.  Perhaps a HfH crew helping clean up the neighborhood?  I was passing houses in various states of repair.  Some were well maintained with a sense of pride.  Others had lost their luster long ago.  Sadly many were boarded up and appeared abandoned.

One thing about the unknown is that you'll never know what you'll see.  Several of the factories had murals painted on their sides.  A farmer planting wheat and seeing a huge field of it on the wall and sliding door.  I also found several streets paved with brick!  These lightly traveled residential streets allowed the brick to stay in good condition.  Sometimes the red brick paving went to the next street; other times it went several intersections down the road.  Rather odd to see what I feel is an upscale paving material in what is honestly an economically challenged area.  The city likely never felt a need to put asphalt down as long as the brick stayed in good shape.  What a lucky happenstance!

As I approached 16th Street I could see a concrete and steel ribbon approaching: I-70.  I was also nearing the edge of The Old Northside, a neighborhood I have literally crawled through to examine.  A few kids were flying their kites from the soccer fields.  I could hear the roar of the interstate traffic and passed underneath the inbound lanes.  The gaping hole between I-70, I-65, and 'the spaghetti bowl' was the eye of the hurricane.  A maelstrom of cars, 18-wheelers, and SUVs roared over, behind, and around my silent peddling as they jockeyed through and around downtown.

The Monon's southern terminus is 10th Street.  I have driven by it numerous times when I used Mass. Ave. to get to school.  Instead of sitting in the truck looking up the trail, I was on the trail looking at the traffic.  Being a few feet off from what was 'normal' gives you a different perspective.  Of course heading back northbound would be a different point of view as well.  I had quite a bit to look forward to!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.