Bike on water...or along it, to all the beautiful, wild places you did not know were right in your backyard until you saw them from your bicycle. I am still bowled over from the beauty of my morning ride today.
The Mississippi? A big thing to get across to get to work, an event, school. That's from your car. On your bike? It becomes mystical, magical world of its own, ever-changing, ever alive.
The bike path along the river that winds its way through Davenport, Moline, Bettendorf and Rock Island is like a road through France; a small country with huge landscape and climate changes in a matter of hours. In ten minutes of biking today, I went from mist surrounding the far banks, making the hills appear to be distant mountains as I rounded a bend in the path, then swirling and dipping into the water like the gulls and pelicans along my way, to the sun rising on a jungle-lined section, clear blue water, and suddenly,through the trees, coming nose-to-nose with a barge awaiting its other half before it sailed down and under the majestic I-74 bridge.
The same bridge I've been cursing in public and private for the past month (construction having reduced its utility by 50 percent and increased my commute time from five minutes to forty-five. It is magnificent; it's lines graceful and regal, seen from the bike path with the rising sun behind it.
The fun doesn't end with the river; there is a bike path along Duck Creek too. I deliberately took it on the way back home, instead of the streets, to see which I preferred. The comparison was revealing; the bike path, the familiar place I walk the dog and kids along all the time, was a world of immediate quiet and satisfaction; here the birds are trilling in your ears, the prairie grasses rise along the edges of the trail on one side and the trees on the other. It did not hold the wildness of the river path, but neither were the sounds of traffic a part of it. I love summer again. Go ahead. Try.