Saturday 28 November 2015. Cloudy Skies Over  Kauffman Lake and Heritage Park 

This post-Thanksgiving Saturday morning was full of time-slots liberated by the holiday, and I filled the first one with yoga. 

Though there always, always is more yoga that could be done than time in which to do it, felt reasonably calm this morning about temporal limitations. 

Promised myself to methodically work  through the Neck and Shoulders book, which I opened and came upon a pose (Pavan Muktanasana) with variations that I hadn’t much studied before. Lo and behold, it was exactly what I needed just then. The rest of practice was calm and reasonably focused, and, as I try to facilitate for my students, felt much better when I left than when I’d arrived. 

It was 9:00 am before I got Rhododendron out on the road, heading west for Kauffman Lake in Champaign. The traffic was light for 9 am on a Saturday, but still planned not to come back on Springfield.

There was not much to grab my attention until close to First Street, the somewhat “dressed-up” Boneyard retention area,

  looking toward downtown Champaign. 

Looked into the water and saw a couple of somewhat unusual sights: three white (escaped domestic, presumably) ducks  

 and another waterfowl that made me think “bufflehead” or “hooded merganser.” 

 Wow. Could be anything from this pic. But decided it was the later. 

Rode and rode (it was nice, and not too cold!) to Kauffman Lake (which actually is labeled “Clear Lake” on the Google map, and is next to Copper Slough, a headwater of the Kaskaskia River.)

 Was tempted just to turn around from there so I could more quickly get down to coffee and blogging, but let curiosity lead and turned into the park. 

Rode between the lake and the train tracks to another point of decision: under the Interstate where the path was interrupted by gravel  

 and the structures covered with graffiti. Gave me pause, and a real shot of apprehension, as I didn’t really want to meet the artists, just then, anyway. 

Again curiosity won, and I forged ahead in spite of my fears to where a paved path  reappeared and went under a very low bridge,

 and past more graffiti.  

 Made me wonder when it was that the artists worked. 

Then suddenly looked out on a tidy, open park:

  

Heritage Park. Rode on the path by the creek (Copper Slough), stopping for lichens 

  

and mushrooms. 
  

Took the sidewalk at Bradley Avenue and also at Mattis–there were no pedestrians and was careful crossing parking lot entrances. Then turned east on University Avenue. There noticed a ginkgo that had shed its leaves recently enough that the pile of them on the ground still was bright yellow. 

  

And did not plan to stop at Trevett-Finch Park at Prospect Avenue, but that Osage orange tree is just too compellingly peculiar to not try to photograph. 
 Then rode on and made a stop at the bakery for coffee and blogging and things for a couple of deliveries of baked goods. 

It was a full morning!  And my heart was very light as I rode, after stopping at my son’s apartment, toward the middle of the quite unattractive (in my opinion) campus business district

 as a light rain started to fall. Really enjoyed the ride through the cold ang the grey–go figure–and felt very grateful for that.

Closer to home saw what looked like more graffiti, though perhaps the artist didn’t  consider it so.  

 

Made me wonder about human imposition on nature and what it means to “spoil” something. 

Was content for today just to appreciate being outside on the bike, able to take in the ordinary wonders between home and Kauffman Lake. 

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Thursday 13 August 2015. West on Windsor 

It was 66 degrees F at 6:35 this morning and mostly clear. 

Ah, so much is going on these days! Had a particularly great need for another long ride, as continuous as possible, so chose Windsor Road to the west. 

Rhododendron was in the shop to repack the crank and front wheel bearings so rode Discovery II

Did stop for a shot of “my” apple tree

with its many smallish, spotted apples and interspersed bare branches. 

Rode on Race and turned west at Windsor, and rode some more. It was good to ride without stopping. There was a fair amount of traffic, which tends to discourage me from stopping for photos. But felt safe in the bike lane and rode on, savoring the feeing of smooth, continuous movement. 

Felt grateful once again for the new bridge over I-57 with its bike lanes; remembered how narrow it used to be, and carrying  all that traffic. 

Rode past I-57 up to a residential street, Mullikin Drive, where I looked north and noticed a bridge over a stream (Copper Slough, according to Google Maps).   Turned onto Mullikin and stopped just long enough for a look into the stream. There noticed a great blue heron standing in a riffly place.  

 
Always it’s a treat to see those tall, handsome wading birds. 

Then rode on, unbothered by the morning rush traffic. Was beguiled, though, by a particularly velvety dark green carpet of soybean leaves and could not resist getting an “iconic” portrait of central Illinois. 

  
Farther on was taken by the apples dropped from an overhanging tree, and especially the morning sun hitting them and making long shadows on the bike path. 

  Rode toward home. Approaching Race Street there still was construction, and this time opted to risk the sidewalk being open to the intersection rather than thread among the construction materials or line up with the cars.   It was!

 
The long, continuous ride was so soothing, as if mixing all the jumbled lumps of concern and difficulty into something smoother and more integrated.  Cycling like this does help me stay sane. 

The hybrid bike was comfortable, making me wonder whether or not my big bike investment should go into a road bike. Need to gather more data….

Meanwhile, I am liking the longer rides!

Sunday 12 May 2013. A Wobbly Ride to the West.

Surprisingly chilly this morning: 36 degrees F, and with a bit of a northwesterly breeze!  But at least the sun was out.  Did take gloves (in May?!?), fortunately.

Decided to ride west on Florida/Kirby Avenue, a busy thoroughfare during most of the day, most days of the week, but certainly manageable early on a Sunday morning.

Still, there was a fair amount of traffic.  May have had something to do with U of I graduation, which was today.

The route on Kirby Avenue in town does not tempt me to take pictures, as a rule; guess there is too much to be careful about, even on a Sunday morning.  The scenery improved west of Duncan; did like the crossing at Copper Slough.  Of course, then came the narrow bridge.

Kirby Avenue Crossing Copper Slough

But then Blue was doing something rather troublesome: the front wheel seemed to pull alternately to the left and right.  I think it may be the result of a lot of riding in the snow and rain and not doing the needed maintenance to counteract the ravages of the weather.  Actually, it was doing it the whole way, but by Duncan Road the slight pulling got to be tiring and rather annoying.  In particular, it kept me from enjoying going downhill at high speed over the interstate overpass.  And it made it hard to turn my inner upper arms out, (see last Sunday’s post) an action that alleviates neck tension while cycling.  It was downright distracting.  And tiring.  But kept on.

Noticed that more and more the trees were arrayed uniformly, continuously, in business green.  Seemed like another life-metaphor: in

Less Pink, More Green

youth one wants so much to stand out, like a blooming tree; eventually one needs to get practical and make a living (all those green leaves for the practical work of photosynthesis).  But it’s not necessarily tragic.

Had planned a longer ride, but somehow I always forget how much distance there is just to get out of Champaign.  Turned back at Staley Road.  Good thing the net slope eastward was downhill!

Closer to home, wound through the U of I Campus, among graduates and their family members of all ages.  Stopped by the persimmon

Persimmon Trunks and Sky

trees near the Architecture building.  Love that blocky bark.  Also could see the pecan tree (only one on campus as far as I know, still with little light green leaves behind them, all against the clear, blue sky.

Liked this sign on Lincoln Avenue.  It can make sense for bikes to use sidewalks along busy streets, provided cyclists use caution and

A Reasonable Alternative

courtesy.  I just know that with a little more awareness, everyone can get where they’re going safely.