After four days laid up sick in bed with some nasty stomach bug, it was a pleasure to have the sun greet me for my morning commute today. I was also pleased to find the Oak Leaf Trail through Doyne Park was plowed well enough for me to ride through without any sense of adventure. We had a decent snowfall since the last time I was on a bike riding home from work last Thursday, so thumbs up to the Milwaukee County crew who got that done.
When the humid air from yesterday’s relatively warm temperatures met the chill last night, they formed a pretty layer of frost in any low-lying area. As I pedaled down into the Menomonee Valley, I was looking forward to riding east on the Hank Aaron Trail through the dormant priairie’s golden glow, backlit by the sunrise. Sadly, the Hank Aaron had not been plowed at all. Despite that, many people had hiked on the trail and their now frozen footsteps make the trail impassible for me on my commuter bike, even with 28mm 700c studded tires.
As I mentioned in a previous post, in order to get some of the more high priority trails better cleared of snow and ice the Bike Fed has formed a Milwaukee winter trail plowing task force with some interested winter bike commuters. We are in the initial stages of meeting with the relevant stakeholders to develop a snow and ice removal plan for 2014 in the hopes of safer and more dependable trail riding. I will report back here as that project progresses.
Although the Hank Aaron was not ridable, the frost-flocked prairie along the trail was beautiful, so I dragged my bike off Canal Street and over the snowbank to take some photographs. That is one of the reasons I ride my bike places. It is so easy to stop and take a few minutes to take in one of the many Oscar-caliber cinematic moments nature provides us, no matter where we live or ride. My stop reaffirmed desire to ride make the trail more accessible next winter.
Even the Valley’s resident coyote couple was out enjoying the morning this Monday, though they were too busy hunting for breakfast to pause to let me take their photograph. The bunny who snacked on the bark in the photo above better watch out!
The daily dose of joy I get riding this red carpet commute is worth fighting for.