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Friday, May 10, 2013

Sunday Odyssey

I was late for church. I had the hardest time getting started and Corinna had already left so there was nobody to point out to me when I got trapped near the Inner Circle of Fault.

I actually had an agenda for the day that involved kegging a pyment and a beer, making a fresh keg of club soda and cleaning a bunch of carboys that are way overdue for it.

I left the house knowing church would be half over by the time I got there if I rode, but I rode anyway. For reasons I won't go into here, I'll say the message was on topic for me. It's a funny thing, my 'belief' falters often, but there are those moments where it's like someone's reading my mail.

Anyway, afterward me and Corinna and Brian Gallmeyer set out to have an adventure. I kind of didn't want to, I thought I'd ride straight home and get to work in the brewery, especially since the brewery chores are compromising my bicycle parking situation in the basement.

But it was my bachelor weekend, and the weather was indecently nice.

We ended up on the Indian Creek Trail, which doesn't really go anywhere we needed to be but it is pretty and fun. And, they told me, there was good reason to visit its end, an end that is much further east than it was last I rode it.

At one of the places where you have to ride up onto a bridge and around to continue the trail, at Pflumn specifically, we spotted a concrete outcropping for a manhole that looked good for jumping off.

Corinna did it, Brian did it, and it looked like fun. I jumped way bigger things on my BMX as a kid and I'm sure I fell sometimes but I don't remember a single spill. Only the glory of being airborne, landing and holding on. I took my panniers off and went up to the top. It looked way scarier from above, but I figured it was really just a big bump.

When I pulled up on my handlebars nothing happened. They're already wheelie high, so go figure. I probably wasn't going fast enough anyway, but landing front-wheel first is a bad idea on any jump. My foot slipped off the pedal and the pedal went into my calf and drove me down. I heard the pop that tells me it's time for another $40 helmet, and I was inexplicably pinned by my bike, which somehow managed to be between my legs and on top of me all at once.

From there, we picked up my bike and did some quick field repairs/adjustments, then decided to drop in on my brother. He lives right off the trail, really, and we'd missed him at church. And my nephew is such a gas, how could we not ring that bell?

We stopped at Original Pizza on Antioch, one of my favorite places since way back in high school. Real hand-thrown New York pizza, crunchy yet chewy crust, not the cheapest eats you can get but probably the best bang for the buck. If it's not the best pizza in the K.C. Metro, it's top three at least.

Anyway, from there we picked up the trail again where it goes through Corporate Woods.

Well, after some thrift shopping at the new City Thrift down there on Antioch. I have mixed feelings about them, they run a really clean, well-organized thrift store, but the prices reflect the effort that takes. I think I generally prefer a junky, fire-hazard type thrift store where you never can tell where anything is but when you find what you want, it's practically free.

We passed this well ont he trail, Brian and Corinna wanted me to 'go in' it. Yeah. And me without my hip waders.

By now I guess we'd left Johnson County. The trail extends into Kansas City, Missouri and I have to say they've done marvels improving and extending it, including using concrete instead of asphalt.

The problem with asphalt bike trails is bikes and pedestrians don't provide enough compression to hold the stuff together. Concrete has it all over asphalt: I'm sure it's more expensive on the front end, and not invulnerable to tree roots and such, but since bike paths don't get salted in the winter, the lifespan of a concrete path is probably five times that of asphalt.

But as a bike commuter, I have to say Johnson county is bewildering. With obvious glitches where you'd want to cross major highways and the occasional terribly planned bridge like 87th Street over I-35, JoCo has the best bike infrastructure this side of Columbia (a tiny college town, but one that boasts more bike-friendly amenities than the whole Kansas City metro). JoCo has more streets wide enough for common use lanes, lots of marked bike lanes, some of the more developed streamway trails, and there's hardly any broken glass or bent nails strewn across any of this. There's a 'bike lane' on Beardsly on my commute that you have to watch out you don't roll over a shattered whiskey bottle and a case of roofing nails.

Yet almost all the bike traffic in Johnson County is strictly non-transportational. I get the value of a workout, the sheer joy of a ride, and I don't have to have somewhere to go to get on my bike. But it's weird to go riding on a Sunday afternoon and see virtually nobody using a bike to get to and from even the nearest, lightest errands.

Supposedly if you build it they will come, but maybe you have to tell them you built it, too.

Anyway, lest you think these awesome tag photos were taken in Johnson County, rest assured, the golden ghetto is safe and secure, protected by the most adamant gray paint Gestapo around.

These were mostly under a bridge on the Missouri side right before Blue River Parkway.

I was excited to see 'Boom' and 'Naik' — I'm sure it's the same tagger for both, though I'm not sure what the two words signify. The exact same combination is painted under the bridge me and Corinna got married on a good fifteen miles away.

That's quite a range, really, for a tagger.

Most of this bridge underpass has a funereal element to it, it's a remembrance mural, really. I don't know who these people were, but they are memorialized illicitly in this semi-hidden sanctuary.

Then there was the Jesus tag—which made me wonder. We were in the neighborhood of the infamous IHOP cult. When we saw a tree full of shoes, we wondered if that was an IHOP thing, too.

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