I’ve been meaning to put up a clothesline in the laundry room downstairs and today is the day. I was up early and hopped on my bike for the 3 mile downhill run to Walmart. There’s a hardware store closer, but it was early and they weren’t open yet. This particular Walmart is downtown and right on the River Parkway, so it’s a little different than the average suburban big box surrounded by acres of parking.
I could have bombed down 22nd Street and caught the Parkway at Jackson, but I decided to take the Bonneville Shoreline Trail from the 22nd Street trailhead down to Rainbow Gardens. This requires a little more climbing and a moderately technical downhill on rocks, gravel and dirt and it’s a lot of fun so why not? It also turns the three mile one way trip into five miles which is fine with me.
It’s windy descending down into the canyon. It’s always windy here in the morning and the wind is always blowing out. If it’s true to form, the wind will die down long about mid-morning .
I think these canyon winds are thermally driven. After sunset, the air far up the mountain cools off and since cooler air is heavier than warmer air, it tumbles down and out the mouth of the canyon. As the sun rises and air warms again, the winds die down. I’m not 100% sure that this is scientifically correct, but it makes sense to me so I’m going to run with it for now.
Our home is close enough to the canyon to feel the effect of this wind, but for whatever reason riding a bike makes it more real. I was up here the other day during an inversion. The air was dirty and ugly everywhere else, but it was crystal clear at the mouth of the canyon. Our air was good. We’re lucky.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s not just the canyon. Riding a bike makes everything more real. Today I was on my salvaged Kona Lava Dome. This bike is quite a bit different than my “other” mountain bike, a Surly Instigator 2.0. The ‘Gator climbs like nobody’s business. The Kona needs to be muscled uphill. Coaxing won’t get ‘er done. It’s like a mule with a mind of its own. Downhill is another story. It’s an absolute delight going down. People who drive cars don’t have these adventures. This is real.
I’ve been using a bike for basic transportation now for about eleven months. It has been a good choice. Sure, there have been challenges but they haven’t been bad challenges. They’ve all been learning experiences and they’ve enriched my life. For trips further afield, I find myself using the FrontRunner commuter rail service provided by UTA more and more. Even though I can bring my bike on the train, that’s not always a good choice. I might get a bike locker at the train station if my schedule has me traveling into the city more next year. It’s $70/year and that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
It feels odd for me to get in a car these days. I’d rather not. As I pedaled into the stiff wind coming out of the mouth of Ogden Canyon on the way home, I found myself wondering if the motorists I passed know what I do. Ogden Canyon exhales at dawn. You can set your clock by it.