It's a new year and time once again to give a new look to this blog. New graphics and colors. Same bike writer!

This blog is created not only to track my own progress on my biking journey but it is intended to also assist others who have either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis or both like I do. I hope as you read about the progress I have made that it gives you inspiration and hope that you can overcome the dibilitating effects of these conditions.

If your doctor agrees that you should be capable of expanding your limits read on and don't be afraid, just listen to your body and give it challenges. Biking is a great non-impact form of exercise and greatly enhances flexibility and range of motion.

It's not a substitute for Doctor visits, taking your meds or otherwise getting off your health plan but it auguments what your Doctor does for you and can give you a better quality of life. Go for it!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Best Ride - Writing Prompt

A group of bike friends who like to ride and write which I am a part of likes to get together after a ride and swap writing stories and such.  At times one of our members will put out a writing prompt and the prompt for this blog post was writing about your best ride. 

My best bike ride…

This is really a tough choice to narrow it down to one, they’re all good rides. Some are outstanding, a handful are spectacular and a couple are epic. But the rule says one, so here it is. In the first year that I took cycling back up I found a new-to-me-trail. The ironic part is that I had started out on a different ride and had a flat. My ride looked to be ruined because this was before I learned to fix my own flats. I took it to the shop and much to my surprise they were able to repair it while I waited. Ok, so now my riding day was not shot, just shortened and that caused me to chose a different ride and I wanted to blaze a new path. I had read a bit about the border to border trail in Ann Arbor but barely knew anything about it. I had spied a parking lot where I often saw people unloading bikes and taking off down a trail, so I set out someplace new. I quickly found out I was on the trailhead of the B2B trail. The trail started out in as park like setting, meandered along the Huron River, took me right over the top of a dam with water rushing under my wheels, and past a canoe livery.

Without a map and the trail only being sketchily marked I wandered off track for a while looking where to pick up it up again. After the bridge over the dam it was either left or right. Left took me to the canoe livery, another park, a very wicked hill and neighborhoods with houses. I couldn’t find the trail pickup point. Back to the canoe livery and right at the dam took me on a very narrow rutted path that was dirt, however it ran alongside the river on one side and had backwaters on the other (future home of Argo Cascades). After passing by a canoe portage ramp and around an electric power plant I was able to pick up the trail again as it traveled back alongside the river and through another park. The park turned abruptly into a densely populated apartment high rise and dead ended in a parking lot. Faced again with a right or left I chose right again and was greeted with a small B2B sign indicating that I was still on the trail.

Up a steep hill and near the top I realized I was coming up to the front of the University of Michigan Hospital Complex, more signage at the top of the hill indicated a left turn along now city streets, past a community swimming pool, a set of soccer fields and veered right and back into the woods along the river again. I later learned that this was called the arboretum mile section and it was beautiful, straight and densely wooded with the river on one side. This took me into an area just above Gallup Park that was called Fursternberg Nature Area where I got off the main trail and took a meander around and through some dense woods on a narrow foot trail that had me climbing and lifting my bike over a couple of deadfalls.

I picked the trail back up when I came out of the wooded area with the circular path in it and bore to my right again and came upon Gallup Park. The river widened out quite a bit here into what looked more like a long narrow lake. There was a canoe livery there with a concession stand that had beverages and ice cream. The area had lots of benches and picnic tables with large groups of people enjoying the outdoors in many different ways. Again the path made a loop around that portion of the river that looked like a lake with a series of small wooden bridges over a series of tiny little islands. There was a butterfly farm, a fountain, places to fish or put in a rowboat or canoe, and several places with playground equipment and picnic pavilions scattered in various places in this big park.

After making a loop I kept along the main path leaving the park behind and the trail continued along the river through wooded sections. I came to another dam and found by trial and error and making different choices, backtracking that I could bear to the right and wind through what is called Parkers Mill and end up in nearly the same place topside on the roads or bearing to the left over the dam up a wickedly steep hill and over a bridge over the top of the river, dam and park and end up on surface streets right before Washtenaw Community College with St. Joseph Mercy Hospital complex looming just ahead about a ¼ mile.

At that point I realized just how far I had come and decided to head back and explore the lower half of the trail on a different day. I was amazed at the distance covered and nearly all of it via bike pathway with a little bit of off road and some city streets thrown in. More incredible yet was the variety of terrain and scenery that this path carried me past. One moment you would be in densely wooded areas that seemed wild and remote only to round a bend and find yourself in a city/urban environment. The trail was richly diverse, provided me with an awesome adventure, great views and a wonderful experience. Discovering a new trail is such an adventure and satisfies the curious explorer in me. Exploring is one of my favorite pastimes, it dovetails nicely with bicycling.


  1. Awesome!!!!! I felt like I was riding along with you! :-)

  2. Well, we have done that same ride together once I discovered it. The trip from St. Jos to Ypsi is equally as diverse and that one was just as much fun to explore and discover and when I'm up to riding longer distances we'll have to do it. Jim took a trip from Gallup to Ford Lake in Bellville on this trail yesterday, can't wait to see a map and try that portion of the trail out. His photos looked great.