Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wilderness Park - Just Add Bikes

The Saturday rides for Cycle Works are officially done for the summer season, yet here it was another Saturday morning and I found myself in Lincoln, at Cycle Works and heading out on another ride. This one however was an unofficial ride, Tyler and I were talking on Friday and we were kicking around ideas on where to ride on Saturday. The initial plan was to try some Omaha gravel out to Platte River State Park and then ride a lap or two before riding back... problem was as we were talking about it we realized that the trails would be closed to bicycles because of the horses. Plan B was a quick trip down to Lincoln and then a spin through Wilderness, this worked out well for Tyler as he had just bought a Rocky Mount BrassKnuckle fat bike roof rack and hadn't had it out on the road yet... to Wilderness Park it was.


Tyler's best side. I quickly created a personal event and invited the usual suspects that I figured would be most likely to show up but with it being a long holiday and the first Husker football game I kept my expectations on the lower end. I was amazed that there ended up being 6 of us for the last minute ride and we were all fat... the bikes that is, not the riders.




Although maybe not the fastest route, we decided to shoot down Antelope Valley to Rock Island.



Seems like this summer there is almost as much construction on the trails as there is on the roads so we had to bob and weave our way through Lincoln on the way to the Park.

Nobody seemed overly in a hurry for the ride so extended regroups were the norm, which was alright with me a slow and go is always a welcomed ride every once and again.


Finally we made it to the Jamaican Trail and had another short stop so that we could make sure that nobody was waiting for us at the Van Dorn trail head as that was also posted as a second meetup spot.


We didn't find anyone waiting at Van Dorn so it was time to duck into the trees and get out of the wind, I think Tyler expressed everyone's sentiment.



The dirt was in perfect shape, the city has even been out mowing and trimming the branches back. Had you not seen the water that was in Wilderness a few months ago you might not have known anything happened, the only signs of the flood left were a few reroutes here and there and one or two sections that are still pretty close to the banks. Wilderness Park did an amazing job of taking the best that Mother Nature had to throw at her and shucked it off without too much trouble, the Park lives!


What would a ride through Wilderness be without a stop on the bridge, new bridge or old bridge, stopping here is kind of a must. Plus I got to get pictures of our rides.


Ed's Rocky Mountain Blizzard.


Janelle's almost brand new Trek Farley 5.


Jamie's brand new Surly Ice Cream Truck on it's first ride in the wild.


Matt's Singular Puffin, complete with a Borealis carbon fork.


Tyler's Salsa Mukluk.


And my Trek Farley 6. There was a whole lotta rubber rolling through the park on this ride.


Of all the bridges that we crossed and we crossed them all, this was the bridge in the worst shape but all it' needs is a little TLC and some tightening of the wires and it'll be good as new.



Another bridge, another break...


The two water crossings need a little bit of love down at the bottom as well, one was probably ridable the other looked like an accident waiting to happen so walking seemed like the smart move. Here is Ed being the gentleman that he is and helping pull bikes out of the ditch.


Steep hard bank to ride, sucks just as much to walk it.


Halfway point and time for a bit of a longer break and some interesting conversations. I won't go into the conversations that happen during these fat bike rides but they are interesting to say the least, if you want to know what goes on you have to come out and participate. Here we are all standing around Jamie's new bike figuring out what colors and customization can be done, not sure if any of the ideas were good ones but we had plenty of them.


Took the west side out and the east side back, some parts of the park are in worse shape and some surprisingly seem to be in better shape. There are a few low spots that I think are improved because of the dirt, sand and silt that got deposited in them to make them a little more level and faster.


Hey look, water, mud and lots of trees in places trees shouldn't be.



Another bridge and of course another regroup and rest break.



Once back out of the park it was time for a wheelie clinic by MG, pretty impressive.



Tyler had never been in Lincoln on game day and it was still a few hours before kick off and probably still not a complete mad house so we decided to roll through the Haymarket... and got stopped by a train.


Even made a new friend on the ride, not sure how long he was there but snapped a few pictures of him and then picked him off and let him fly somewhere else before we got downtown to a less than ideal Cicada environment. Had I not bothered him he probably would still be on that jersey today, he looked pretty content and didn't seem like he was going anywhere.



The sea of red wasn't much more than the pond of red when we rolled through but it was crowded enough to make you not want to be there on a bicycle when it got close to kick off and the hordes truly started to descend on downtown.


We all survived and got more than a few looks with 6 fat bikes rolling through the pond of red. Ride was great, park was awesome and the day was fantastic. While Wilderness Park is still not officially open, the trails are in great shape and could really use some traffic to get them back into pre-flood conditions. I can understand why the park is still closed as the city is worried about liability but between you, me and the tree, I kind of doubt anyone is going to chase you out of Wilderness if you decided to unofficially take a walk/hike or ride through there. Just be careful both in the park and on the Jamaican trail which might be in even worse shape than Wilderness in some sections still.

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