Sunday, September 03, 2006

Osage Prairie Trail: A Sunday Morning Ramble

I didn’t know what to do this morning. I rattled around in the house for a couple of hours, drinking coffee and donking around on the computer. What I really needed was a ride.

Out in the garage, the Centurion sat on newly repaired tires. I had three flats coming home from work Friday night, running out of spare tubes and daylight at the same time. I had to call my daughter to ‘rescue’ me, and she’ll have fun with that for a week or so.

So I didn’t really want to ride the Centurion. Since I’m changing to an earlier shift and the bike is set up for night riding, I passed on using it today. I’ll spend so much time on it over the winter that I’ll be thoroughly bored with the thing before long.

But the old Pennine hadn’t been out for quite a while. It too is a fixed gear, a 47x18 if I recall right. There was a light NE wind this morning, so the Pennine was perfect!

I went west from Owasso along 106th Street North, crossed over US75, and turned north on the Osage Prairie Trail, a rail-to-trail project that will link Tulsa to Barnsdall when completed, a distance of about 30 miles. I traveled from 106th Street to the present terminus in Skiatook.

The trail is almost dead flat and perfectly straight. It’s in very good condition since it’s obviously new, but there are a few areas just north of 106th that have limestone chat strewn across the pavement. This isn’t a big problem and as soon as we get some good rainstorms, it will wash away. The chat was deposited on both sides probably for erosion and weed control. It also makes a better running surface than the asphalt.

Skiatook erected a nice picnic pavilion at the terminus. As I approached, two women were sitting in the shade, one of them struggling with a flat tire. Now, after Friday’s experience, I may be jinxed as far as tire repairs are concerned, but I shoved superstition aside and offered to help. She was having trouble rolling the bead over that last bit of rim. The tire was narrow, maybe a 23 or a 25 mm, and they’re often hard to mount. I sat down, grasped the tire on both sides, placing the balls of my palms just under the bead, and with a rolling motion from the wrists, forced it up and over the rim. Long ago, when I worked in a bike shop, I had calluses on my palms from doing this, but these days I try to wear gloves.

Shortly, they were rolling south on the trail. I went east on SH20 through downtown Skiatook. I made a mental note of an ice cream place, for further reference and study some hot summer afternoon, and then went out of town toward Collinsville.

State highway 20 isn’t one of my favorite roads. It’s a divided four-lane with a 65 mph speed limit, and a partial shoulder. That is, the shoulder begins and ends abruptly, though to be fair, it does help along the steepest part of the climb. And it’s a climb! The road goes uphill from Skiatook almost all the way to US75, about 5 miles. Most of it would be characterized as false flats, with only 2 steeper sections.

Traffic was light until I’d almost reached US75. I wouldn’t want to ride there at 5PM on a weekday because of the 65mph limit, but a quiet Sunday morning was different. Still, when traffic started to increase, some moron just had to blare his horn. I figured that church mush have just let out.

Just east of US75, I turned south and worked back toward Owasso riding south and east on county roads. The best pavement going south was Memorial Drive, and I’ve decided to use it rather than parallel north-south roads in the future.

In all, I rode about 30 miles on the fixed gear today.

I made lunch for Jordan and me just after getting home. We had beanies and weenies from leftovers, with a whopping dose of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. Hey – it says right on the can - ”Great on Everything!” and we take that literally. As I write this, I’m drinking a BIG espresso, but despite that, I can feel a nap creeping in.


Blogger Tinker said...

I ride on the osage prarie trail regularly, and I seem to have several flat tires. I don't know what could be doing it, the 20" tires on my recumbent are thick enough to be safe from the chat.

3:02 PM  

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