Sunday, March 23, 2008

Around town

When I realized that I had this past Friday off, I immediately allocated some time for a nice long ride. Several possibilities surfaced. First, I thought about doing a killer "Ironcross" type training ride up and over Ft. Lewis and Poor mountains. Unfortunately, no one else's schedule matched mine, and I wasn't too keen on doing that kind of ride alone. Next, I thought maybe a singlespeed epic of some sort would materialize, but again I wasn't fond of 4 hours alone in the woods.

Last year around this time, I did a ride where I strung together all of the Roanoke Valley Greenways. It was a blast. It was also sort of a personal "State of the Greenways" exercise where I could get a picture of the entire system and how it was progressing. A year ago the ride took me five hours on my mountain bike, and was about 65 miles total. I wish that all of those miles were on greenways, but truth be told about 2/3 were road miles necessary to get from one greenway to the next. Now in 2008, more greenway miles have materialized and the overall loop would be even longer. I only wanted to do 4 hours, so my plan was to link together as many greenways as I could in that time.

I used my cyclocross bike this time around for a couple of reasons: It's perfect for the the varying surfaces that I would encounter, and it's the only bike I own with gears on it.

Friday morning came with a scheduled visit from a home appraiser to get the final steps on the sale of our house rolling. Turns out his wife was a realtor who had some clients from Colorado who are looking to relocate to Roanoke and are interested in learning about places to ride. I hope they read this post. I pointed him in the direction of the RCO website and a few blogs, then it was out the door right on schedule at 9am.

Very shortly after leaving the house, I hung a left on the recently completed Murray Run Greenway. A cinder surface allowed my cx tires to go to work immediately.

Soon after it starts, Murray Run turns into a fun, fairly wide trail.

Once I crossed over Brambleton Ave into Fishburn park, it was back to cinders.

After stringing together some alleys and side streets, I arrived at Garst Mill Park. The short greenway there runs along a very nice babbling brook. (And you though only I babbled!)

Then came a health dose of road miles to get to the oldest section (I think) of the Roanoke River Greenway that runs past Moyer Sports Complex in Salem.

A few more road miles, then onto the newest section of the RRG in Green Hill Park. This circular terminus will be as far as she goes...for now.

The fresh, silky smooth pavement is already teaming with walkers and joggers...although I failed to catch any in the picture. Trust me, when it's warm outside, they are everywhere.

A trip up West Main Street in Salem eventually led me to the Hanging Rock Battlefield trail. This is one of my favorites. Riding towards Hanging Rock definitely gives you the feeling of getting out of town.

Eventually after (you guessed it) more road miles, I rode the Lick Run Greenway into downtown Roanoke. This stretch along an old canal beside the Roanoke Civic Center is very well done. It has a very old-world feel, yet a modern vibe. (Deep, eh?)

I took a break at the observation area of the newly renovated MLK bridge to watch the trains roll through downtown. I live in a very cool city.

After navigating through Vinton on some more side streets, I headed out the Hardy Road bike lane onto the Wolf Creek Greenway. This is where the entire road was re-routed to make way for the greenway.
Since I was nearing my allotted time, I headed home via the Tinker Creek and Roanoke River Greenways, but neglected to snap any more pics. You'll have to get out and ride all of these for yourself! I never did ride the Mill Mountain Greenway, and still logged 60 miles in 4 hours 15 minutes.
The greenways are growing! Get out and ride 'em!


Jen said...

Please assure the readers that you didn't actually roll your tires on the MLKJR bridge. Also, where is the Wolf Creek picture taken from? The oval bridge is intriguing to me. Ah maybe it's just the drugs... Sounds like fun though.

The Goat in a Turtle Shell said...

Good to see so much town linkage. I'm currentley selling my home in Hendersonville, NC and as soon as its sold, I'm comimg your way. Just a another 29er singlespeeder to add to the mix.