Fresh from a spin on my new bike I felt, well, not fresh. In fact, I felt a little like Jim Carrey’s character in “Me, Myself & Irene” as I picked gnats from my teeth. Yum, Protein.
However, bugs aside, my maiden voyage into the Iowa City trail system was just what the doctor ordered after a stressful week of exams. I instantly felt at ease rolling down Burlington Street with the wind in my face and Janis Joplin’s “Son of a Preacher Man” streaming through my iPod. While the widened sidewalks that serve as part of the trail system through downtown were crowded with pedestrians on my afternoon ride, traffic dwindled to a few bikers and runners as I turned on to my chosen route – the Iowa River Corridor trail.
Completely unfamiliar with the city’s trail system, I visited the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Web site (www.icgov.org) before embarking on my ride and spent several minutes studying the rather complicated trail map before deciding on the six-mile Iowa River Corridor trail, which runs from Napoleon Park on the south, through City Park and onto First Avenue in Coralville.
My out-of-practice cycling legs appreciated the relatively flat landscape, and my uneasy sense of direction appreciated the well-placed signs keeping me on the right path. My goal was to branch off from the trail and make my way over to Clear Creek Trail, which runs from near Iowa City West High School through the Clear Creek Greenbelt and comes out near Coral Ridge Avenue.
Unfortunately, I zigged when I should have zagged and did not find the correct combination of trails to connect to Clear Creek. Not feeling confident in my ability to maneuver my bike through rush-hour traffic, I turned around and headed back the way I came, following the river home. But there is always next time.
If you want to get out on the trails in the Corridor area – and there are tons — but don’t have a pair of wheels, get up early on Saturday morning and visit the Iowa City Bike Library (www.bikelibrary.org) where you can check out a bike for up to six months for a $20 to $80 deposit. Return the bike within the six months and get your deposit back, minus fees for wear and tear. Be sure to get there early, bikes are limited and in hot demand — there is always a line waiting for them to open.
Happy trails to you
Iowa Bicycle Coalition: www.iowabicyclecoalition.org
Bicyclists of Iowa City: www.bicyclistsofiowacity.org