“Dirty Metric #4. It was almost 60 degrees when I left the house with just enough breeze to blow the dust off of the road when the traffic went by. I headed north on Burton to the Bremer County line where I turned west towards Janesville. I was only 10 miles into the ride and I was surprised at the amount of traffic on the roads. The gravel was fresh and thick, and the vehicles and tractors where stirring up a lot of dust.
I crossed the Cedar River in Janesville and continued west towards the Shell Rock River valley. There were farmers planting crops in many of the fields and the traffic on the gravel roads wasn’t letting up. I headed north and west along the east side of the Shell Rock River into the town of Shell Rock where I turned north and picked up a gravel road heading NW towards Clarksville. I was still on the east side of the Shell Rock, but I had to head north to stay on the gravel roads.
I had never been through this area before, and I wasn’t too familiar with the roads, but I could see the town of Clarksville to the west and started heading in that direction. About two miles NE of town, I turned on a B-road heading south. There was water standing in places, but there was a ridable line as far as I could see. At the other end of the B-road, there was a trail head for the Rolling Prairie Trail. I rode the bike lane into town and stopped at Casey’s for lunch. I then crossed the Shell Rock River and took he first gravel heading SE towards Shell Rock. The roads on this side of the river zig-zagged along the west side of the River until they ended at the ethanol distillery.
I took a left towards Shell Rock and managed to find a route through town and headed south. The same Australian cattle Dog that threatened me the last time I rode by barked and started to chase, but his owner stopped him halfway to the road. Instead of following the river, I continued south towards the West Fork River. I crossed on the old steel bridge and turned east toward the Butler/Black Hawk County line. I then turned south and crossed Beaver Creek and Hwy 57 before turning east on 12 th street toward Cedar Falls. I didn’t count cemeteries that I rode by all day, but I guess I passed 15-20 of them; most were little pioneer family plots or abandoned/burnt down church plots.
When I got into Cedar Falls, I stopped and texted my wife to see if she was done with work for the week and wanted to meet me somewhere for a drink. She agreed to meet at the new Single Speed Brewery in Waterloo, so I told her that I could be there in 30 minutes. I was making good time in the Friday afternoon traffic, and was within a mile of the brewery when I came upon a “SIDEWALK CLOSED” sign. I knew the road was closed, but since there was no sign at the last intersection, I assumed that the bike trail was still open.
I continued past the sign and found 20 construction workers with jackhammers working on the bridge. I had to turn around and ride ½ mile back to the last intersection and take a detour, making me 15 minutes later than I had planned. I didn’t have a lock with me, so I parked the bike inside the brewery.
My wife had saved me a spot at the bar,and we enjoyed a few beers before heading home. By the time I got home, I had 77.75 miles on the Garmin.”