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The Hill of Some Concern

Recently Jim Schroeder was moved to reminisce a bit about biking trips to the Asheville area, where in 2004 he first encountered “The Hill of Some Concern”  [THOSC].

On one of our spring training trips, my friend Paul said he had his brother-in-law’s getaway place to stay in North Carolina southeast of Asheville for three days.  Well, we arrived in Asheville and ate at a Denny’s buffet (not recommended) and then travelled to “the place”.  It was quite dark by this time, and in the Subaru we were going every direction: E, N, W, S and especially down.  I was ready to see fire and all, as I was sure we had travelled to hell!

We all bedded down, and didn’t think till morning that we had to climb THOSC to get to breakfast.  Not just once but a total of three mornings in a row! 

At the top of THOSC
Switchbacks

I’ve taken a contingent of BBC members down there on three different occasions in May.  I was thinking of doing it again this year at the first May weekend, but Bloomington racers are having crits on Saturday and road race on Sunday, and they’re asking BBC to volunteer and co-sponsor the weekend.  Maybe next year.  On Saturday we would ride a 90 mile loop that rides to Marion and then follow the Assault on Mt Mitchell route up to Mt Mitchell and then Craggy Gardens back to Asheville suburbs.  On Sunday we would ride a 60 mile loop from Chimney Rock to THOSC and Saluda.  That is a beautiful ride, too.

What a view!

Banquet and Annual Meeting

For at least the third year the club met for its annual winter off-season meeting and banquet at the Monroe County Convention center. During informal time starting at 6 PM there was conversation, a slide show of 2014 events (prepared by John Bassett), and fresh fruit and vegetable hors d’oeuvres.

About 6:15 President Jim Schroeder called the business meeting to order. The first order of businesswas the election of officers as proposed by the nominating committee. Three offices needed to be filled. Warren Smith (vice president) and Stan Ellis (at large) were elected continue in the offices they had previously filled. John Kalill was elected treasurer to replace outgoing treasurer Jerry Arveson. All will serve two-year terms. Kathy Cummins (secretary) and Jim Schroeder (president) will be completing their two-year terms in the coming year.

Following the election Jim introduced ongoing committee chairs, including John Bassett (ride director), Andrew Dingman (education), Ron Brown (advocacy), Tammy Berger (membership), Brett Nelson (grants), and Yusuf Nur (marketing). Then he presented the recipients of BBC grants for this cycle: Bloomington Catholic Workers Charity, Bloomington Bike Project, Bloomington Parks and Rec, Boys and Girls Club, DeCycles, Hoosier Mountain Biking Association (HMBA), and IU Bloomington Health Live Well Campaign. Amounts ranged from $600 to $5000, averaging about $2000. We had a smaller pool of applicants this year and a couple of the awards went beyond the usual maximum of $1500 because of solid proposals and the availability of funds since fewer than usual grants were awarded.

Finally outgoing treasurer Jerry Arveson presented his annual report. Finance are solid, with RAIN providing by far our largest source of income and expenses. Ridership and income from RAIN were a little off in 2014 but expenses were controlled, leaving us still with a good net. We have maintained a healthy savings account and a CD over the last three years, with the expectation of possibly awarding a major grant that would have substantial impact on local bicycling infrastructure.

Following the business meeting we shared a very nice catered buffet dinner that included salad, green beans, mixed vegetables, eggplant parmesan or chicken cacciatore as entrée, rolls, and dessert of baked apple (a favorite) or pie. A big thanks to Tammy Berger who handle all arrangements!

After dinner we had a report from RAIN chair John Connell about plans and volunteer opportunities for this year’s event. Key people on the committee include Jennifer Miers (assistant chair), Keith Bobay (registration), John Bassett (Route and Start), Mark Villanova (Rest Stops), Ron Brown and John Connell (Finish Line), Tammy Berger (Merchandise), Yusuf Nur (Marketing), and Klaus Rothe (Web Design). Lots of volunteers are needed; travel expenses are reimbursed. Important needs include help with marking the route and site coordinators for rest stops in Plainfield and Franklin. There will be places for lots of folks stuffing packets, helping with registration and merchandise sales, traffic control at the start, and helping with several rest stops, as well as the finish line.

Then we had a presentation from Paul Arlinghaus, president of HMBA, discussed the history of the organization and gave an overview of past, current, and future trail development activities in Brown County State Park, Yellowood State Forest, and National Forest lands.

Finally Geoffrey McKim, BBC member and member of the Monroe County Council presented a report on “The Bicycling State of Monroe County”.  He gave an overview of bicycling and multiuse trails and marked bike lanes in the county, existing, coming soon, and being planned.

Thanks to Mike Finger for the photos.

Hoosiers Out On Tandems (HOOTs)

News from Hoosiers Out On Tandems (HOOTs)
From John Calhoun

HOOTs has been Indiana’s tandem club for nearly 20 years.  Membership in the Bloomington Bicycle Club entitles you to membership in HOOTs.  We’re hoping to present more rides that are attractive to teams from around the state.  Last year we hosted the Midwest Tandem Rally; the largest tandem event in the United States.  We also hosted a three-day spring rally in Batesville.

For 2015, the spring rally will be in Madison, IN on the weekend after Memorial Day.  We also plan to host two rides with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

To learn more about HOOTs, go to www.tandemhoots.ning.com/

Batesville Rally – photo by Don Kirk

Indiana School for the Blind – photo by Nathan Dinges

All who use roads, trails must follow the rules

This is the text of the Herald-Times guest column by Jim Schroeder, president of the Bloomington Bicycle Club, which appeared in the December 8 issue.

I would like to respond to Mary Ann Tharp’s “Follow the rules” letter to the editor in the Nov. 24 Herald-Times.

Rules: The bicycle is considered a vehicle and should obey all traffic laws as does a motor vehicle on streets, roads and highways. The Bloomington Bicycle Club and Bicycle Indiana strongly support this mandate, and I would hope that all serious bicyclists obey traffic laws and are well lit at night. Historically, though, traffic laws were instituted when society realized that motor vehicles were potential lethal weapons to pedestrians.

In well-documented studies showing all street users, traffic rules are broken by everybody. Pedestrians jaywalk, bicyclists yield at stop signs rather than putting their foot down at a stop sign, and motorists speed and don’t use their turn signals and roll through stop signs. Those studies have shown that the same percentage of each type break the law.

Bloomington spends a fortune: The majority of alternative transportation projects in Bloomington benefit walkers, joggers and bicyclists. In fact, bicyclists on the B-Line are a minority of the users. Also, these alternative transportation facilities benefit the motor vehicles by reducing the amount of motor vehicles and traffic gridlock. Projects like the B-Line were financed mostly through state and federal grants, and I doubt a small bicycle license fee would pay for much of anything related to upkeep. Should we also have stroller licenses, dog leash licenses and jogging shoe licenses, as they use the B-Line, too? I doubt that automobile license fees contribute much to street, road or highway upkeep, either.

Helmets: The use of a helmet is like motorists using their seat belts. There is a seat belt law, but how many motorists break that law? Trying to implement a helmet law would never be passed in Indiana, as that would include motorcyclists and scooters.
Motorists hitting a biker: Too many times our modern society and law enforcement regard this as an accident, although the motorist should have been cited for a law broken. Many states have “a 3-foot law” to further define that motorists must be aware at all times. Unfortunately, Indiana does not currently have this law.

Through education and promotion by the city, I observe many more bicyclists following traffic laws and riding with lights at night. Perhaps Ms. Tharp’s frustration is that there are more bicyclists in Bloomington than a typical Midwestern city of the same size. Motorists must realize that streets and roads were not constructed just for them. We all need to share the roads and the responsibilities of using them.

New Belgium Clips Beer & Film Report


New Belgium’s Fifth Annual Clips Beer & Film Tour Raised Nearly $140,000
in 2014 for Local Organizations

Another successful season gathered more than 20,000 people to sample New Belgium beer, view fan-made films and raise funds for local philanthropies


Ft. Collins, Colo. – December 2, 2014 – The 2014 Clips Beer & Film Tour, New Belgium Brewing’s beer-toting, film-traveling, nonprofit-benefitting showraised $139,524 this year after traveling to 21 cities (see local breakdowns below) across the nation. Approximately 20,200 people attended the various tour stops this year. Since its inception in 2010, Clips has raised $506,417 for nonprofit organizations. Kansas City raised the most money this year, bringing in more than $13,000.
 
Each Clips Beer & Film Tour stop featured New Belgium’s esoteric Lips of Faith beer offerings (and brewery classics) alongside amateur films created by inspired filmmakers from across the country. Volunteers served up popular and rare New Belgium brews with 100 percent of the proceeds from beer sales benefitting local nonprofits. Attendees also enjoyed food from local vendors in addition to a diverse offering of traveling games and contests.
 
Focusing on New Belgium’s commitment to sustainability, these events also encouraged people to recycle, with an impressive 80 percent of waste diverted from landfills. Alternative transportation was encouraged at each event and some cities even organized local community bike rides to the event.
 
“Mother Nature challenged us across the nation this year!  Even when there was rain people came out with big umbrellas so they could still see the films and support their local beneficiary,” said Christie Catania, Clips National Special Events Manager. “It was a great season and we are looking forward to planning a couple new cities in 2015!”
 
New Belgium selects approximately 20 short films for the tour each season. All selected filmmakers for the 2014 tour received a trophy-worthy beer in a custom screen-printed bottle, made exclusively for the winning submissions. This year, the chosen filmsincluded a banana with an attitude, ultra marathoners running with stubborn animals, neon spandex, and much, much more! It was a diverse and highly entertaining line-up with something for everyone. Filmmakers who would like to be considered for the 2015 tour can submit entries starting in January 2015 at www.newbelgiumclips.com.

2014 Clips Beer & Film Tour: City Breakdown


Grand Totals

  • $139,524 raised for nonprofits 
  • Approximately 20,200 attendees
  • 80 percent average waste diversion rate

Kansas City, MO – Thursday, May 22
Most money raised during the 2014 tour!

  • $13,086 raised for local nonprofits
  • 1,400 Approximately attendees
  • 91 percent average waste diversion rate

Bloomington, IN – Friday, May 30
Largest attendance during the 2014 tour!

  • $12,226 raised for local nonprofits (up $4,375 from 2013) 
  • Approximately 1,700 attendees (up 500 from 2013)
  • 91 percent average waste diversion rate

Chicago, IL – Friday, June 6
First time in Chicago

  • $9,070 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 1,500 attendees
  • 93 percent average waste diversion rate

Milwaukee, WI – Thursday, June 12

  • $6,147 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 1,100 attendees (up 150 from 2013)
  • 93 percent average waste diversion rate

Madison, WI – Thursday, June 19*
Show moved indoors due to bad weather

  • $3,409 raised for local nonprofits 
  • Approximately 200 attendees

Grand Rapids, MI – Friday, June 27

  • $9,665 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 1,400 attendees

Boulder, CO – Friday, July 11

  • $9,918 raised for local nonprofits (up $4,381 from 2013)   
  • Approximately 1,100 attendees
  • 96 percent average waste diversion rate

Colorado Springs, CO – Thursday, July 17

  • $12,088 raised for local nonprofits (up $6,643 from 2013)
  • Approximately 1,600 attendees (up 600 from 2013)
  • 88 percent average waste diversion rate

Seattle, WA – Friday, July 25

  • $10,208 raised for local nonprofits (up $860 from 2013)
  • Approximately 1,400 attendees
  • 80 percent average waste diversion rate

Davis, CA – Friday, August 1

  • $6,772 raised for local nonprofits  
  • Approximately 1,200 attendees
  • 93 percent average waste diversion rate

Berkeley, CA – Saturday, August 9
First time in Berkeley

  • $3,376 raised for local nonprofits  
  • Approximately 850 attendees
  • 97 percent average waste diversion rate

Santa Barbara, CA – Friday, August 15
First time in Santa Barbara
Highest waste diversion rate during the 2014 tour!

  • $4,773 raised for local nonprofits 
  • Approximately 800 attendees
  • 99 percent average waste diversion rate

Asheville, NC – Friday, September 5

  • $5,717 raised for local nonprofits 
  • Approximately 1,400 attendees
  • 77 percent average waste diversion rate

Charlottesville, VA – Friday, September 12

  • $4,147 raised for local nonprofits 
  • Approximately 750 attendees
  • 98 percent average waste diversion rate

Atlanta, GA – Friday, September 19
First time in Atlanta

  • $7,002 raised for local nonprofits  
  • Approximately 900 attendees

Charleston, SC – Thursday, September 25

  • $6,123 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 900 attendees
  • 88 percent average waste diversion rate

Charlotte, NC – Friday, October 3

  • $4,074 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 500 attendees

Nashville, TN – Thursday, October 9
First time in Nashville

  • $2,000 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 200 attendees
  • 77 percent average waste diversion rate

Tampa, FL – Friday, October 17
First time in Tampa

  • $6,395 raised for local nonprofits 
  • Approximately 800 attendees
  • 88 percent average waste diversion rate

Miami, FL – Friday, October 24*
First time in Miami
Show moved indoors due to bad weather

  • $2,083 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 200 attendees

Austin, TX – Thursday, November 6

  • $1,237 raised for local nonprofits
  • Approximately 300 attendees
  • 97 percent average waste diversion rate

*Due to weather or other circumstances, waste diversion rates aren’t available for some cities.
 
About New Belgium Brewing Company 
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, and one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews nine year-round beers; Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Snapshot Wheat, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Lager, Blue Paddle Pilsener, Abbey Belgian Ale and Trippel. Learn more at www.newbelgium.com.


Informal minutes of the latest BBC Board meeting

By Allan Edmonds

The board usually meets about every other month. October’s meeting took place on the 27th in the back room of Crazy Horse. All of the elected officers (Jim Schroeder (pres), Walter Smith (VP), Stan Ellis (at large), Jerry Arveson (treasurer), and Kathy Cummins (sec)) were present and most of the committee chairs as well.

Kathy Cummins’s minute of the last meeting were approved. Treasurer Jerry Arveson reported briefly before having to leave for another commitment. Club finances are in good shape with a good balance in the checking account in addition to our “rainy day/large grant” savings CD.

Ron Brown reported on ongoing advocacy matters, including signage issues, new greenway paths, etc. Soon a renewed push for a proposed bicycle pedestrian bridge over I69 will begin.

Education and Safety Chair Andrew Dingman reported that he is looking for “teaching opportunities”. A few ideas were discussed. The idea of sending out links to educational videos on riding issues sounded especially promising. Maybe also a “Bike Tip of the Week.”

Ride Coordinator John Bassett gave an overview of the past season. He observed that our official season now runs during Daylight Savings Time. He reviewed midweek and weekend rides. We were especially happy with the Beginners Ride run by Tammy Thompson. All Saturday rides had official leaders this year. The iRide and Training groups will continue as one group. OWLS continues to meet separately. Sunday Nice and Easy rides continue to do well under Ron Brown’s guidance. A few drive and ride events will be scheduled for next year. The double century is being planned to go from Evansville to Madison, requiring an overnight stay in Evansville, and will not be so inviting to riders who want to do a shorter options. Jim Schroeder is organizing some gravel rides in November. He will post them on the ride calendar.

Mountain Biking Chair Dan Hickey spoke briefly about upcoming ride plans. If there is enough interest he may have some MTB training sessions this winter.

Marketing Chair Yusef Nur discussed two matters. The results of our recent club slogan contest were not so compelling, but will be useful. A new idea “Break Away with the BBC” was approved as our primary slogan. Second was the issue of possibly sponsoring one or more Little 500 teams. After a fair amount of discussion it was decided instead to purchase a half-page ad.

Membership Chair Tammy Berger: Membership steady. From this point on all new members will be credited with dues paid tfor 2015-2016, since the 2014-2015 riding season is now over.

Media Chair Allan Edmonds: We still plan a Facebook “page”, to complement our Facebook “group” and blog. The club has a Twitter account at

RAIN Chair John Connell. Ridership was down a bit (like in other rides such as Hilly Hundred and due to so many other new rides and to other sociological factors beyond out control). Nonetheless our profits held steady because of much tighter control on some of the expenses. The committee has reviewed the last year with a view toward improvements. Preliminary steps are being taken to open registration for RAIN 2015 in January.

RAIN chair John Connell reports

Grants Committee work is underway, Chair Brett Nelson was unable to attend the meeting but had reported that additional committee members are needed. Contact Brett at pyromelana@comcast.net if you would be interested in serving on this committee that oversees the entire grant process and makes grant recommendations to the board. The target date for receipt of grant applications is the end of the year.

The board approved gift cards for people who led rides this year. The board also approved honoraria for the main RAIN committee chairs as a small recognition of their important and time-consuming work.

A club pizza party is being planned for November, probably the 18th at Café Pizzeria. The club will pay the cost. Also we selected a tentative target date for the winter meeting of either February 7 or 21, depending on space availability. We will need to appoint a nominating committee by the next board meeting.

The meeting adjourned about 8 pm.

Club Cycling in Belgium

A note from Eric Arnold, former BBC member now living in Belgium

I’ve been in Belgium a couple months and riden with a couple different clubs and observed many others.  I thought I’d share some observations on the club culture here in Belgium which is extensive – my community of 15,000 folks has four clubs and that is not abnormal at all.

1.        Length of ride – rides are typically 35-60 miles depending on the time in the season.    There are no regroups or stopping.  Its good in that it keeps the rides to a reasonable amount of time for those with families or other commitments.
2.       Routes – there are only 4-6 routes that are rotated.  There are variations that cut off distance depending where you are at in the season.  Routes change each year.  But once you riden each route a couple times, if you do get dropped, you can find your way home and more importantly you know where the many turns are.
3.       Racing/Sprinting or any other actions that split up the group. – strictly forbidden until last 6km of the course where it becomes a “free ride.”  Keeps the group together.  You have a pace and you stick to that pace.  Only a select 3-4 folks are allowed to take pulls and this controls the pace.  And the pace here is fast.  We did 52 miles yesterday and averaged 19.8 MPH with zero breaks.  The weaker riders could keep up because they didn’t have to take pulls at the front and where not expected to and the pace was absolutely steady so you didn’t get worn out early in the ride trying to keep up with someone you can’t keep up with.
4.       Support vehicle – always present with first aid kit, extra wheels, air, tools.  Protects the group from traffic approaching from behind.
5.       Club kit – mandatory for club rides.  Sold at a very reasonable price – certainly at cost.  Clubs also get sponsors for the kit which lowers cost even more.
6.       Weekend rides begin and end at a local bar.  Brings in the social aspect of things.  Strictly voluntary but 2/3s of those on yesterdays ride stayed for 90 minutes having a couple beers and watching soccer and generally kidding around with each other.  It was all in Dutch but I still enjoyed it greatly.
7.       Ability groups – most clubs have A-C groups and its really bad form to ride in a group you can’t keep up with.  You typically start at C and earn your way up to B or A.  Also, if you’re holding back the group by having a bad day, can always get in the support vehicle.

I’ve got to admit I really like the way they do things here.  Now granted, Belgium has probably, absolutely the best biking culture/history in the world – per capita anyways.  But I think there is much to be learned by the way they do things. 

Board Meeting Highlights

The board had its regular bimonthly meeting on Monday, August 25, 2014, in the back room of the Crazy Horse Restaurant downtown. Note that board meetings are listed on the club calendar a few days in advance of the meeting, which is usually scheduled via Doodle poll. Any club member is welcome to attend.

All five elected officers and six appointed chairs attended. We especially recognized Andrew Dingman, new chair of safety, education, and outreach.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as prepared by secretary Kathy Cummins.

Treasurer Jerry Arveson reported that the club finances are in solid shape, with almost all expenses for RAIN paid, leaving us with a strong balance sheet going into the fall when we will entertain applications for our community grants program.

Advocacy chair Ron Brown discussed several issues he is working on: the Cascades hill side path, which is very unsafe for cyclists; need for a stop sign on Rock East along a standard BBC ride route; expectations of reworking some club routes related to the planned i-69 interchange at Sample Road. He reported that 164 out of 173 dangerous drainage grates have been replace over the last few years.

Andrew Dingman discussed several issues related to Safety, Education and Outreach. Family rides have had limited but clear success, providing a good way to reach out to non-members who want to involve kids in cycling. Andrew has completed the League of American Bicyclist training course and now needs to offer classes in town We discussed a few ideas for that.

Ride coordinator John Bassett reported that the I69 closure of the Tapp Road crossing has played havoc with several standard club rides. He noted that Ron Brown has been updating club maps with minor alterations to reflect current road conditions and practices. John has tried to keep his GPS maps consistent with these club maps as much as possible. He noted that the midweek rides have been especially successful with 8 to 15 riders out for iRides, 15-20 for OWLS rides, and continuing good representation at Beginner’s Rides (led by Tammy Thompson) and Sunday Nice ’n’ Easy rides (led by Ron Brown). Jim noted that the Trailhead Pizza place at Pine Grove offers a 10% discount to folks showing up on bikes. Also he mentioned that Jeremy Schott is promoting the idea of a club velodrome ride at Marian University in Indianapolis.

Warren Smith reported on Mountain Biking in the absence of chair Dan Hickey, who is still convalescing. Often the group goes to Wapehani or Brown County State Park. Interest continues to increase within the club. They have a separate email list for announcing mountain bike rides.

We discussed the club picnic, which took place the evening before. By all reports it was a great success, with the largest turnout in recent history, of about 60 people.

Grant program chair Brett Nelson reported in absentia that he wants to get the application process started very soon, so that it can be completed in a more timely manner.
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RAIN coordinator John Connell reported that everything went well. The RAIN committee has met for debriefing and discussed various small improvements that might be made.

Membership chair Tammy Berger reported that things have been relatively quiet, with most joining and renewing having taken place earlier in the summer.

Media/blog/Facebook chair Allan Edmonds hopes to do more blogs and would like to have another person to work with. There was discussion of having a BBC page in addition to our FB group that would have more of an outreach/advertising character. He may implement that idea later in the fall.

There was discussion of the new City/County bike route maps that are now available in bike shops, at city government, etc., as well as online. It was noted that there are a few mistakes with gravel roads indicated as good for cyclists. Since we are sponsors of the maps we should be pointing out corrections and updates for the online version and later printings. There are instructions at the link above for submitting comments.

Under the heading of new business Jim Schoeder announced that there would be another Open Streets event this fall, scheduled for Sunday, October 5, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. We need something participatory. Best suggestion was some bicycles on trainers. In the afternoon there will be documentary on pro women riders; Jim will lead a Breaking Away ride, with registration via the Buskirk-Chumley. In the evening there will be more bicycling shorts shown, followed by a screening of the movie Breaking Away. Follow links at the Open Streets page for more details.

There being no further business the meeting adjourned around 8 p.m.

Midweek Century August 6

Jackson County Road Crews Awfully Busy in August

By Jim Schroeder

Four riders who are all rather knowledgable of southern Indiana country roads drove down to Heltonville for a midweek century titled “Houston Skyline Weave”.  Little did they know all their expertise was needed on that fateful Wednesday.

They all got started on that muggy morning at Damon Bailey’s old grade school southeastward on IN-58.  There’s some history and explanation on this particular route.  Back when IN-58 had a bridge out and the nasty chip n seal was laid on IN-135 Jim Schroeder decided to do some investigating for some country roads as an alternative. This route weaves those highways plus much too busy US-50. As the Nashville 90 route is on relatively flat roads, these weaving roads are not!

Planned route.

After riding through Norman and speeding down through Norman Woods, we all turned east halfway up the climb a couple of miles before Kurtz for our first weave.  This would lead us toward the western trailhead of Nebo Ridge on some good paved roads of Jackson County.  You might be familiar with them if you ever rode Seymour’s Ride to Recycle or Brownstown’s Round Barn Ride.  Unfortunately, due to last year’s harsh winter, there were a few stretches of gravel road magically appearing amidst good pavement otherwise.  After approaching the third stretch Mark Napier had had enough of this gravelly groove, and so he and Joe Anderson and Stan Ellis decided to backtrack to uncharted and new blacktop beckoning.  The classic cyclist that he is, Jim, forged onward on the designated route, and did find a fourth stretch of nasty, big, and ugly gravel.  The icing on the cake was five miles of some week old chip n seal all the way to Houston (how’-sten according to the locals).

We planned to meet at Spurgeon Corner at mile marker 25.  Joe’s Gang found some good pave’ but came upon the same chip n seal before Houston.  Joe actually scouted Jim’s tire tracks in the dust of the ground up chips, as there wasn’t much seal in the mix.  Their route had added a couple of miles as Jim had waited at the now closed corner store.

We returned to Houston on a different route on Buffalo Loop for our second weave and then headed to Freetown on Houston Road with a radio tower climb in the middle.  Racing down to IN-135, the road crews left us a smooth as silk blacktop almost causing us to forget the past chip n seal and gravel.  We were hungry enough to all have sandwiches at Freetown Grocery just before the lunch crowd came in.

The next weave crossed IN-135 and onto Kurtz via a hilly road up to a church and cemetery, but awaiting us on the other side was a car rally-esque descent to the town.  After a couple of miles past Kurtz, we then crossed over and travelled “up” to Clear Spring and rode some on this plateau bounded by highways 58,135, and 50.  Jim was describing another great switchback descent down towards Brownstown while on some half mile patches of new blacktop, but all of a sudden fresh chip n seal greeted us at the start of the great descent. We had almost forgot!

We dusted off at the Brownstown Huck’s and then rode up the now famous switchback up to Skyline Park.  Famous, as it is the easiest of the three ways to get to the top for a view of Brownstown:

Approaching Medora from the east, we rode thru the triple trussetted covered bridge, and stopped for some flavored ice cream cones at the popular c-store in Medora to prepare us for the switchback up and out of the dismal little town, now made famous from a PBS documentary.  Stan mentioned that Joe always has some good edible strategies while frequenting all possible stops.

When we approached the next famous Medora switchback a white dusty road greeted us, and we retreated along the river toward Fort Ritner. After a few miles we were again ambushed by those gravelly road crews again.  We escaped northward and made our way up to Old Highway 50 and proceeded to Leesville.

We did skip the next weave and stayed on the old highway and then crossed US-50 and onto to the always fun and windy Mundel Church Rd.  In order to make up for the skipped weave and get closer to 100, Joe suggested that we go westward all the way to Shawswick and onto IN-58 and a very nice stretch of windy downhills as we headed into Heltonville.

Jim’s actual route. Compare miles 70 onward.

Usually when one rides in the Brownstown area, the bicyclist needs to worry about the always flooding White River. That wasn’t the concern this past Wednesday.