Friday, August 06, 2010

Stevens Point - August 5

We rode only about 68 or 70 miles from Appleton to Stevens Point on Thursday, August 5. With a steady headwind that made the flags stand out straight and whipped the tops of the trees back and forth it felt like more than 100.

Besides the one flat tire, we had about thirty miles on busy roads with narrow shoulders before we reached bike trails. One new experience: we were riding up a gentle hill, with the outside wheels on the white line, and a slow truck behind that just wouldn't pass. When it honked, I pulled the trikes off onto the gravel, and the reason for the problem became clear. It was a white-line striping truck. It left a freshly-painted line right where we needed to put our three left wheels, but after another couple hundred feet, the driver turned off the sprayer, and the whole spraying convoy turned into a side road. We got past the wet paint and scampered as fast as two people could pedal a heavily-loaded "Tiger-Snake" into a twenty- or thirty-mile-an-hour headwind until we crossed onto the next township.

The second half of the ride was mostly on limestone trails that were lightly used. The surfaces were not well-packed, and there were often tall weeds in the center. At every border between two fox territories (we were, after all, riding up out of the Fox River Valley) we had to ride around two neatly-placed piles of fox droppings, perfectly-centered and ten or fifteen feet apart.

On the trails, the trees sometimes waved back and forth above us, absorbing some of the force of the wind, and the old rail lines skirted the worst of the hills. We could forgive them for the rough spots.

We arrived at the Hostel Shoppe an hour and a half before closing. Ian Sims from Greenspeed was there, along with Greenspeed's US marketing director, Deanna. Customers were already around for the Rally. We gave several of them test rides before heading to the hotel.

We rode a short distance to Grazies, a nice Italian restaurant that is great about serving almost anything on the menu meat-free. We joined Ian, Deanna, Ben from ICE trikes in Britain, the aerospace engineer who switched to making racks that will carry recumbents, and a recumbent customer whose name our tired brains couldn't remember. Between jet lag from several thousand miles each way (Britain for Ben and Australia for Ian), and plain exhaustion from riding (for us), we didn't make it much past dessert, before everyone headed for the hotels.
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