Saturday, 5 July 2014

On being pushed by fear and being surprised by new bike paths

I have an aversion to yellow and black insects owing to having been stung too often as a child. Consequently, when a bee or similar insect comes into my vicinity, my reaction is try to leave. The problem yesterday, was that the insects were following me, partly in my bubble of air (c.f. "large nephews make good windbreaks").  When I was on the level or going down a hill, I got usually lose them, but going up hills became the challenge of not pushing myself to go faster!

I rode East on Highway 2 to Hurley, then shifted to Highway 51 South. The sun was out and winds were low. While it wasn't very hot, I was working in the direct sun which was demanding. At the town of Mercer, I took a long break for the final push to Boulder Junction. This also marked the start of using the Adventure Cycling maps. I had been afraid they would take me onto nasty back roads. Instead, they got me onto flatter roads with less traffic but also less in the way of a shoulder.

I must digress to explain something that is about to be relevant.  The numbering system of American roads is a mite problematic with roads having numbers created by the federal, state and county levels of government. To further muddy the waters, there are at least two numbering systems at the federal level, viz the Interstate and the "old" U.S. highway system. It is not always easy to figure which "Highway 12" the map or sign is referring to.  The State of Wisconsin in an apparent awareness of this issue has ordained that County road be instead "lettered" instead of numbered. Thus, at Mercer, I turned off Highway 51 onto County road "J".  (There are also a few double lettered roads such as "UU".)

After a dozen miles, I turned onto County road "K". I noticed there was a freshly paved bike path on the right. I got onto it but was keeping a very close eye on the "K" road.  After a few miles, I asked a passing cyclist about where the path lead. I was happy to hear it lead most of the way to Boulder Junction (my destination for the day). The path wasn't finished for the rest of the way, but it was obvious that the county was working on it.  The path wasn't on the Adventure Cycling map, so I will have to let them know about it!

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