A New Beginning – October 9


Well, it had to happen eventually.  Amidst all the fun and games something bad had to happen.

It was inevitable.

The weather continues to be beautiful so I decided to get out and explore on Wednesday.  I haven’t had the bicycle up and running all year for one reason or another.  So I inflated the tires, tossed into the car and decided to find someplace interesting to ride.

Have you ever had those moments when you look back and think, “I should have taken the hint”?  In my mind it was going to be simple.  Grab the bike rack out of the trunk and…oh, wait.  The bike rack is in the trunk of MY car.  Which is headed to Pittsburgh today.  Sigh.  Oh well, no biggie.  The seats fold down in the back of my Lady Wife’s Subaru so I’m good.  Then the bike just didn’t want to go into the car.

Should have taken the hint.

I had been reading about some paths along the south side of the James, through some of the James River park system that appeared to lead onto Belle Isle from the other direction than I had explored before.  Great!  Got the address for the 22nd Street trail head and took off.  As with everything around here, it was a short drive.

Only to discover that the parking lot there closes after September 1.  (Should have taken the hint).  No problem, the map I’d glanced at seemed to indicate the trail extends out from that parking lot so I’d just ride down and get going.

Small problem.  I first had to carry the bike UP a flight of stairs to get to the trail (hint).  When I got to the top of the stairs I was greeted with something that only barely qualified as a path.  In the middle of it was a HUGE mass of tree roots that looked like they were from a Banyan tree. (hint, hint)

After portaging over the rough spot I came to the actual trailhead.  Which required that I now carry my bike DOWN several flights of stairs (hint, hint, HINT).  At the bottom the trail was only slightly better.  It was narrow, uneven, the camber on it was VERY peculiar at times and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to walk here let alone run or bike.  (hint, hint, HINT, HINT!!)  When I finally got close to the James the trail pretty much ended with no sign of how it might get across to Belle Isle.

At that point I simply decided to turn around and try somewhere else.  I was fine till I got to the bottom of the first flight of stairs to negotiate.  At the very end, the path suddenly tilted upward very sharply.  If I had been riding more I think I would have caught that and either shifted into a very low climbing gear or just stopped.  But being out of practice I missed the moment of decision.  The bike basically came to a halt since I couldn’t turn the crank.  As I went to put a foot down my foot caught in my toe clip and stuck.

There’s a moment on a bike when you realize there is nothing you can do.  You’re going to hit the ground.  Period.  My landing spot was made up of blacktop and large, bread loaf sized rocks.  It hurt.  Kudos to the other folks on that trail, three of them checked to make sure I was OK.

Upon further review there was no serious damage to me or the bike.  I’m going to have large bruises on my right elbow and buttock.  Plus I took a long gouge out of my left shift, probably from the bicycle.  The bike appears to be fine.

I should have taken the hint.

  • 133 days without a rude Virginian.  In fact, as noted above, the locals continue to be wonderful.
  • IMG_20141001_122215090_HDRTried one of the legendary pizza places in Richmond, Bottoms Up.  This is in the Shockoe Bottom portion of the city.  I was amazed how quiet the place was at lunch time on a weekday.  Pizza was most acceptable. This is a single slice of one of their specials.  Thick, crunchy crust on it.
  • We’ve been doing quite a few festivals (with the Folk Festival coming this weekend!) so I will do an Exploring Richmond post for the end of this week to try and get caught up.  There is a LOT to do here!

It’s a new beginning.


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