Saturday, December 3, 2011

Murphy's Bridle Path Bicycle Reading Expedition

Sign up on the gate at the entry to Murphy's Bridle Path alongside north Central Avenue in Phoenix

It's Books and Bikes Week here on OSG.

I set out on expedition to see if there are any good spots to sit and read a book for a while along Murphy's Bridle Path. As the sign states, this path dates back to 1895. Artur Ciesielski has a good write-up and short video of the path here, so I will only focus on the results of my ride, since he did a great job of explaining the history and showing off the neighborhood.

However, in case you don't want to click over there, I will say that the neighborhood is mostly large, older homes on large lots, some of the very large and very expensive varieties, others of the large and historic type, still others of the angular and modern "hey look at me" type. Murphy Bridle Path runs along the east side of Central Avenue for 2.8 miles, and is lined with mature and gorgeous Ash and Olive trees.

Late afternoon shadows again

Bus stop bench and refuse receptacle

I saw many cyclists and pedestrians along the path, which is gravel and slightly bumpy in places, probably better suited to the mountain bike I was riding than a road bike. I did not find many places to sit a bit and read, except for a couple of bus stop benches. Here's the book I took along:

 It consists of short, engrossing meditations on various Nature-related subjects, and I find it compatible with relatively brief yet relaxed reading sessions at random, comfortable outdoor reading spots. After riding the five and a half miles down and back along Murphy's Bridle Path, though, I found it better for riding than reading. It's easy on the eyes, but busy, and at the street right next to it was full of traffic at odds with meditations on Nature. Ah, the challenges, and rewards, of loving both bikes and books.

The path itself: a very pleasant ride

Possibly a superior random outdoor reading location to enjoy the rewards of reading

After riding the Bridle Path, I paused to sit for a moment at this familiar bench-pot which is near the freeway, yet still quiet, with the sound of running water and quacking duck families from the canal. This spot had shade, peace, and a bit of solitude, right next to the canal path. A good spot for a brief meditation. So I scored this expedition as a double success.


  1. Actually, a triple success because it may have reminded other readers to rediscover John Muir after too long away.


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