Saturday, January 29, 2011

Old 24 Almost Done

I rode east today, toward Ohio, then headed south toward Woodburn. It has been several months since I've been down that way and I wanted to check on the progress of the "Fort to Port" highway project. That would be a 4-lane, divided U.S. 24 from Fort Wayne to the Port of Toledo on Lake Erie.

The reason I am interested in this project isn't so I can get to Toledo 15 min. faster, but because I will feel safer riding on old U.S. 24, a two-lane highway which was built on the old Wabash and Erie Canal Right-of-Way. The old highway is a scenic route which follows along the south bank of the Maumee River. It is twisty and is wooded along much of the north side, between highway and river. It's also a very dangerous road to drive, with many semi trucks and people in cars who want to pass the big trucks. Passing on a twisting, two lane road isn't a good idea for many people, and many people have lost their lives, or taken other lives on this road. But for a two lane road, it has wide shoulders, so I'm thinking it'll be safe for riding a bike on.

East of Indiana 101, the open portion of the new highway is open. West of Indiana 101, it looks like this all the way to New Haven (a small suburb of Fort Wayne):

On the way back, I rode many miles of gravel roads, which are packed snow and ice this time of year. Riding in the center, without studded tires, is actually pretty good. When a car passes, I scoot over and stop, since the snow on either side is an oatmeal-colored dry mush that is difficult to remain upright.

Most of the time, I am quite a bit faster than the Amish buggies in my neighborhood, but on packed snow, they are faster. I tried to catch up to this buggy to draft, but could get no closer than this.

I'm happy today got up to 31F, but I am looking forward to when it gets a little warmer. Biking is helping to keep cabin fever at bay, but another couple months of winter, plus a month of winter/spring transition after that, usually with lots of wind. Well, I digress.

Happy riding!


limom said...

Uh, could be time for some new bar tape.

Pondero said...

A buggy could make for a pretty nice draft if you could catch it. Or a pretty tough workout if you can't. Seeing your photos, it was pretty good to be in Texas today.

Rat Trap Press said...

Cool! Where else in America could you draft of a horse drawn buggy?

jeff said...

I've ridden on 24. A little bit in Colorado and a lot on Biking Across Kansas last summer.

John Romeo Alpha said...

If / when you draft behind a buggy, it is wise to be prepared with the road apple avoidance quick turn maneuver, just in case.

rlove2bike said...

Good for you with the new highway going in. Sounds like that will be a nice stretch of road to ride and it is always nice when new routes open up. Judging by the photos and write-up it looks like a nice ride you made.

Big Oak said...

Limon - yes, I know. The gel padding beneath the tape has compressed and the tape on top is now loose. Trying to decide what color next.

Pondero - judging from the photos on your blog, every day is a good day to be in Texas!

RTP - actually, probably lots of places - the Amish are scattered throughout the northeast and midwest. The bishops around this area still require their folks to use buggies, but some an hour or so northwest of hear use cars.

jeff, if you ever follow 24 to Indiana, let me know, I'll ride with you!

JRA - I'm generally pretty good about missing the road apples, but every now and then I hit one. I'd much rather hit a fresh one than a frozen one!

rlove - Yes, ever since the Fort-to-Port project was announced, I immediately thought the old 24 would be a great road. I'll take a ride on it soon - the part that's been abandoned - and report back.

Steve A said...

Is your Tricross wrapped with two layers of tape as well? It is a really nice combo and I'm surprised more bikes don't do it.

Big Oak said...

Steve - no, at least not yet. There's a gel padding that sticks to the handelbars, then the tape is wrapped around that. The gel padding sticks mainly on top of the bars and at the corners, and there's some on top of the drops, where your hand goes. I don't know if it's the same brand Sheldon sells though.

For replacement, I'm going with a re-purposed inner tube as the padding, then cork tape (or something similar) over the top.