Monday, August 30, 2010

Gabion Baskets and Art to Happy Up the Place

Rocks in cages, cactus in a bowl, art on a house in the modern style

I went on an approximately 40 mile ride in Phoenix on my road bike today to celebrate the weather, to ride somewhere I haven't ridden before, to see what I could see. I opened the maps this morning, chose a direction pseudo-randomly, NORTH, then a destination: Reach 11 Recreation Area, a long, skinny recreation zone that borders the Central Arizona Project canal, and proceeded to figure out how to get there. I have hesitated to ride all the way up that direction before because of what I perceived to be navigational challenges: between the mountains and the freeways, I've always thought of getting up to that part of the city on a road bike as hard. The middle part is easy on a mountain bike, not that I'd want to ride 30 miles of streets on one: ride up the canal, pick any one of a dozen trails, and cut across the mountain preserve (and have a blast doing so). But I'm not that keen on riding the canal gravel for miles on my road bike, and while cutting through the preserve is probably doable on a cross bike, my 700x23 tires aren't going to cut it.

My route ended up requiring a short ride along the gravel path beside the canal just west of the Biltmore, in order to reach the paved section just past 24th Street. From there it was smooth sailing up to Dreamy Draw Drive, then along the path to Mountain View Drive. That's where I saw the house above. From there, it was north on 36th Street (bike lane) to the Indian Bend Wash path, which eventually joins up with the path that runs beside the Piestewa freeway up to Reach 11. 

I took a lot of pictures, too many to try to boil down into one post, so more to come. This section of the house with the art, above, had some interesting stuff around the other side. I think it was the first Daoist humor I've seen in a long time. More on that tomorrow.

SWMNBN, with the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal, near Reach 11, in the background

The road bike was a joy to ride. I am just about to settle on a name for her: She Who Must Never Be Named  (SWMNBN). Even with the herky-jerky route I chose today, which was more or less the antithesis of a long stretch of smooth blacktop, SWMNBN urged me to ride farther, faster, and happier, all the way. That bike brings out the best in me, physically. After the ride, actually before the end, I felt like I had used up everything I had in the tank. I walked into the house, drank about three different kinds of replenishing liquids, ate some protein, and after cooling down and showering, took a long, restful nap. A ride like that charges me up with happy-tired vibes to carry the rest of the week. Get up. Go ride.


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