Saturday, July 4, 2009

RAIN-DRENCHED BIKE RIDE IN KANSAS CITY

A Friday morning urban bike ride through a Midwest thunderstorm

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. It was only drizzling when I left our daughter Abby's place on State Line Road and headed north into the midtown and downtown areas of Kansas City on Friday morning. An hour later, darker clouds gathered and the skies opened up with pouring rain, lightning, and thunder. I left my rain gear back in Indianapolis, so I just soaked up both what as falling down from above and what was spraying up from my tires. If it had been cold, this would have been a miserable situation. But the temperature was in the mid-70's, so it was not bad. I rode for two and half hours before arriving back at Abby's looking and smelling like a river rat.

TO LIBERTY MEMORIAL. My ride took me past Kansas University Medical Center, where Abby is beginning her second year of a nutrition/dietetics masters degree. I rode east from there to Country Club Plaza, a charming shopping and entertainment block in midtown. I rode north along Broadway to the Hospital Hill area and from there to Liberty Memorial, which overlooks the whole Kansas City area. During my first few weeks of seminary here in 1983, I spent a lot of time sitting with Mitch Snyder and folks from the Community for Creative Nonviolence as they carried out a hunger strike at Liberty Memorial in order to get President Ronald Reagan to release excess commodities, stored in nearby salt mines, during another economic tough time.

URBAN ROUTE. From Liberty Memorial, I rode through the Crown Center complex and north into downtown, riding up and down its hilly streets through the rain. I found my way to part of the Riverfront Heritage Trail that took me to a vista that overlooked the Missouri River (photo). From there, I turned back south to the Plaza, over to Ward Parkway, and then home. I good ride for a rain-soaked holiday. When I was in seminary here back in the day, I rode around Kansas City frequently. I commuted back and forth from our apartment on 95th St to the seminary at 63rd and The Paseo. I rode through Swope Park and along several of the parkways and trafficways. Riding in Kansas City and Overland Park is a good challenge because it's hilly and windy.

A STAGE 1-LENGTH JULY 4TH RIDE. Today, I rode south from 59th Street along State Line road to 135th Street and west to Antioch Road in Overland Park. Not a long ride, but I kept a brisk pace and had a good workout--about the distance the competitors in Stage 1 of the Tour de France in Monaco covered today. The Tour de France is always inspiring to follow on the Internet and TV. I like to get out on my bike after each stage is run, in appreciation for the high effort these cyclists are putting forth. I won't be able ride their distances or paces, but I'll ride more than usual through the month of July in a salute to the TdF competitors.


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