Our Tuesday morning ride

During the school year, I’m off early enough on Tuesdays that I can get home, jump into my bike clothes, and take off for three laps around the Veloway. It’s a nice 15-mile ride, and I use it to work on technique.

But during the Texas summers, temperatures in late afternoon are unbearable for biking. Luckily, my summer class doesn’t start until 5:30, so I can ride in the morning.

Pat and I often head to the Veloway on Tuesday mornings. We wait until at least 8:30 or so, when the morning rush hour traffic has passed. I find these rides to be pleasant, low pressure affairs, and Pat gets some cardio work in by trying to keep up with me.

Our route to the Veloway takes us along Escarpment Blvd. The crepe myrtles that line the street are in full bloom now.

Our route to the Veloway takes us along Escarpment Blvd. The crepe myrtles that line the street are in full bloom now.

Our Veloway trips are the perfect ride for Pat.

Our Veloway trips are the perfect ride for Pat.

The Veloway is just under three miles from our house. Each lap is 3.1 miles, so a rider can make a Veloway excursion as long or as short as desired. If I’m riding with Pat, I usually go three laps. She goes two.

The Veloway is open to bikers and inline skaters. A sign at the entrance says walkers and joggers are prohibited, and not too many of them flout the rule. On weekday mornings, even bike traffic is minimal.

Pat powers up a slight rise.

Pat powers up a slight rise.

At about this point, I take off for my three laps. On our Tuesday ride, I’ll keep my chain in the small ring, and work on cadence. My goal is to stay above 90 rpm throughout the lap.

It's a good thing I pedal fast, so I can outrun the snakes. Actually, they never cross at the marked crossing. They're jaywalkers. Or jayslitherers.

It's a good thing I pedal fast, so I can outrun the snakes. Actually, they never cross at the marked crossing. They're jaywalkers. Or jayslitherers.

Pat's always waiting when I finish. She struck up a conversation with this man, about his mouth-watering Trek FX 7.9 flat bar road bike.  All carbon, Ultegra equipped, and twice what I paid for my road bike.

Pat has a knack for meeting nice folks.

While I’m finishing my last lap, Pat finds a shady spot near the water fountain. She struck up a conversation with this man, about his mouth-watering Trek FX 7.9 flat bar road bike. All carbon, Ultegra equipped, and twice what I paid for my road bike. She found a kindred soul in him, since he also thinks it’s no sin to keep the kickstand on the bike.

This ride takes us about an hour to finish. Some people complain that the Veloway bores them, because you just go around the same track. But I love it. It mimics the kind of conditions you find on a country road, so you have to respond to a variety of situations. It’s fun to look at the other bikes, and wave at people we see regularly. I’ve seen deer, tarantulas, different kinds of snakes, roadrunners, and other critters. In the spring, wildflowers carpet the sides of the trail. I always look forward to Tuesday mornings.

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5 thoughts on “Our Tuesday morning ride

    • I’ve seen a number of little garter snakes lately. Once saw a four-foot thing (non-poisonous) cross right in front of my bike — but on the backside of the track.

  1. A couple of years ago I rounded a corner there and dodged a six foot Texas rat snake. I decided to turn around to get a better look. I slowed, came closer, went to step down, suddenly realizing I hadn’t clipped out of the pedal and promptly fell over right in front of the snake. Scared me – Scared the snake more. I don’t think the bike even touched the ground before I was back upright. (probably screaming all the while like a little girl)

  2. Yes, but have you seen the tree cactus by the Veloway? That would make an intersting photo for the readers living in non-Texas environments.

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