Riverbend Park Bike Ride

Anne Rodgers Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6555I see SE Missouri may be looking at another wave of ice and snow, so I ALMOST hate to post this. Friends Jan Norris and George Primm have been talking up riding their bikes on the trails in Palm Beach County’s Riverbend Park near Jupiter, Florida.

When Anne Rodgers sent me a message saying she had an afternoon free for a ride, I set aside stuff I was supposed to be doing and decided to see if I could still ride a bike. For the record, the trail, is beautiful. It’s not long, but there are lots of loops and it is very peaceful. (At least on a weekday when very few people were around.) Click on the photos to make them larger.

I USED to ride a lot

Anne Rodgers Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6558Before I started this blog, I did one on PalmBeachBikeTours.com. I was riding as much as 3,000 miles a year, with metric centuries (62 miles) a couple times or more a month and a century (100-miles in a day) a couple times a year.

Interestingly enough, I rode a lot more when I was working than after I retired.

  • This blog takes a lot of time and travel.
  • My long-distance partner, Mary, crashed while not wearing a helmet, fractured her skull in five places and hasn’t been able to get on a bike since.
  • Riding partners Osa and Anne have real lives, so scheduling rides is a lot more complicated and we never rode enough together to do long distances.
  • I don’t deal with heat as well as I once did, so I switched a lot of my riding to nights. Don’t worry: I’m more visible at night than in the daytime.
  • I have a feeling like a pebble in my sock when I ride more than about 35 miles. The foot doc gave it a fancy name, but it boiled down to I don’t have the padding around my toes I once did.

Trail is mostly packed shell rock

Anne Rodgers Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6559My Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike has relatively wide tires that rode very well on the hard-packed shell rock trail.

Here’s part of the account I sent to Curator Jessica when she asked how my ride went: I am severely diminished.

The first loop was a beautiful shaded trail with abundant wildlife. Then Anne, bless her heart, (an old Southern expression) suggested we ride another trail. She, being young and eager, led the way. THAT trail led under a bridge and then into single track mountain bike country that took us to a part of trail with water and ruts that could have been called the Grand Canyon had that name not already been taken.

Shell rock turns to grass to sand

That trail changed from packed shell rock to grass. Fortunately, that didn’t last long. Unfortunately, the next segment was patches of sugar sand with stretches of mud and water. We had strayed onto an equestrian trail.

Anne is a twig. I looked at Anne’s tire tracks. She was sinking in about half an inch. I’m two Annes and was plowing a rut. I was operating at  wobble speed or less and my heart rate monitor was approaching the line marked “Red Fountain.”

I told Anne that I was on the verge of bonking and needed to fuel the furnace to tide me over until we could find a nice place to dive into the sub sandwich she had brought along. We each had an energy gel that is about like a gummy worm in consistency.

We hadn’t gone very far when I got impatient and bit down on the gel. On my second bite, there was a very un-gel-like crunch. I told Anne to hold up a minute while I fished around in my mouth. Just as I had suspected, I had pulled a dental crown loose.

I ended up pushing my bike about half a mile because it was too soft to ride.

Deer were a nice surprise

Riverbend Park_02-25-2014_6588Once we got back on the main loop again, we made much better time more comfortably. We weren’t going so fast, though, that we missed this herd of deer chowing down on grasses. They showed interest, but not fear, even when I got to within about 50 feet of them.

Another rider spots the deer

Riverbend Park 02-25-2014_6594Two guys on mountain bikes rode up while I was shooting the deer. They were nice enough to stand back to keep from spooking them, but I motioned the one guy forward so he’d have a better chance at getting a shot. The deer drifted away slowly, but they must be used to seeing people in the park.

The parking lot we started from is also where there is a canoe concession to float the Loxahatchee River. If you are in Florida and want to have a taste of what the region used to be like, Riverbend Park is the place to go. Just stay out of the sugar sand and don’t crunch down on a sticky energy gel.

Oh, by the way, right after the dentist got me all numbed up, he told me he wasn’t going to be able to reuse the old crown and asked if I wanted to discuss payment options. NOW would be a good time for you to click that big red button at the top left of the page to order something from Amazon to help me pay for my new crown.