The Cardinal Greenway is a 50+ mile paved rail trail that spans east central Indiana from Richmond to Marion. It’s the longest rail trail in the state and a ride I’d wanted to take since getting back on the bike in 2013. I was running out of time since our move to Utah was imminent, and so even though it was March and the forecast was bleak I loaded the bike onto the back of the car and headed east.
Yeah, there was a drive involved. I’m not a big fan of driving to a bike ride. I think it defeats the purpose. It’s bad karma, too. My bike is transportation, after all. But this was a special set of circumstances so I compromised. Rather than starting at one end or the other, I started in the middle near a place called Jacksonburg. It was the nearest spot on the trail to my home, so it meant less driving. It also gave me the opportunity to do a 66 mile round trip and then decide if I wanted to tack on the other 35 for a full century.
As the pictures suggest, it was sort of cold. I think it hovered around 32 the whole way, so I was bundled up pretty good. I didn’t mind. My only concern riding long distances in weather like this is the possibility of flat tires. It’s no fun changing flats when your fingers are numb. Fortunately, I didn’t have the pleasure…
The miles went by quickly. The countryside in this part of Indiana is quiet and empty in early March. I don’t know what it is about land lying fallow but I like it. I like it a lot. I had the trail to myself. I may have seen one bicyclist all day.
The ride passed through Muncie, a bleak post-industrial city that has seen better days. I turned around at a place called Gaston though I could have continued towards Marion on the back roads. I wanted to see Richmond, so I headed back and eventually made it there as well.
By the time I got back to the car, I’d logged 102 miles. I don’t ride many centuries, so I tend to enjoy them when they happen. I especially like doing them alone. Makes me feel like a cowboy out on the range. Gives me a chance to hear myself think. That’s never a bad thing…even in the Midwest in March with the sky spitting snow.