Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Accidental 24-Mile Bike Ride

All through the week of my staycation, I'd been wanting to go to Panera, to drink a frozen mocha and write somewhere that wasn't home, but we've had issues with the car. On Friday, I finally decided just to bike over there. It was a longish ride -- 6.5 miles one way, per Google Maps -- but my normal workout ride is 10-14 miles, so it was within reason. The biggest downside was that it meant biking alongside 40 Highway. Now, 40 Highway is not an interstate -- it's more like a busy boulevard, four lanes and with a speed limit of 40 mph. Fortunately, most of my route had a nice wide shoulder, so I had plenty of space and the motorists gave me a wide berth on the few sections where the shoulder was narrow, so it turned out to be a perfectly fine if moderately hilly route.

As I neared the plaza with the Panera, I remembered that, in the medical complex on the opposite side was the place I'd had a mammogram two years ago. I was overdue for another. And it was Friday at 3PM. And they take walk-ins. I should get a mammogram! So I did. Impulse-buy mammogram! Yeah, that was kind of odd even by my standards.

That took about an hour, so it was 4PM when I got to Panera. I checked my workout app to see how far the ride had actually been, and it was around 7.3 miles. I got a bagel and a frozen mocha, and sat in one of the comfy chairs to eat and write (on my phone, because that's how I roll) for about forty-five minutes. Then I didn't want to bike home along 40 highway during the heart of rush hour, but I also didn't want to stay at Panera for hours. I remembered from a Google search that there was supposed to be a bike trail that crossed through this general area, though I did not recall ever actually seeing it. So I biked around the plaza and the road that ran alongside it between various other plazas and restaurants. At the Independence Events Center, I spotted a sign in the parking lot that said "Bike Trail Entrance Point". Aha! This must be it!

Then I looked about the parking lot in the vicinity of the sign. There was a sidewalk leading back to the access roadm and a sidewalk leading to the back entrances of a small medical center building. There were no "Trail Thisaway" signs.


I biked down the sidewalk going around the medical center, and sure enough, it led to the back entrances and not to a cleverly hidden bike trail. As I was coming back around, I noticed a woman standing on the lawn, watching me. When I was within hail, she asked, "Are you looking for the bike trail?"

"Yes! Yes I am. What gave it away?" I asked, smiling.

She laughed. "You have to go back to the street, then down the street about a quarter mile and over a little bridge. The trail goes under the bridge; there's a little path leading down to it."

Thus informed, I found the trail without further difficulty. It ran under all the roads in the area, including two different highways. After going to all the trouble of finding it, I figured I couldn't leave without checking it out, so I headed north along it. The first half-mile was smooth pavement, delightful biking, then it turned to gravel. Which was okay but not as pleasant. I went past three mile markers before turning around. There's a Costco in the same plaza, so I stopped in there for a few things, and checked my phone app to see how far I'd gone total. 9 miles -- apparently I'd covered a couple of miles looking for the trail.

By this time, I was starting to regret not having worn sunscreen. I don't usually wear it when biking, but I don't usually bike down roads with NO SHADE AT ALL like 40 Highway, and I usually only bike for an hour a day. I'd already been out nearly two (granted, with a few breaks in doors in between) and I still had to get home. The slog back along 40 Hwy was particularly onerous: hot, unshaded, and hilly. I took a longcut that added about an extra mile to the trip home, just to get off the highway and onto a shaded sidestreet for the final leg. So ... about twenty-four miles total, almost twice what I'd planned. Oops?

Remarkably, the next day I was not sunburnt, nor was I sore from the extra exercise. I wanted to do it again, in fact, but thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday prevented it.

Today, however, is supposed to be clear! So I'm hitting the road now. It'll be hot -- 84 now and a high of 94, oof -- but I am usually all right biking in the heat. I am going to wear sunscreen, though!

And there's an ice cream shop along the bike trail, if the heat is just too bad. ;)
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