Not only did my bike disappear from the lobby of the building where I was in a class all day long, the cycling craziness started almost the minute I got on my bike this morning. Well, about ten minutes after, really. I decided to head into town on a route that I hadn’t taken since the beginning of summer, along a road through the neighborhood on the south shore of Lake Monona. A short bike path connects the road to my neighborhood, and as soon as I came to the end of the bike path I could see traffic cones and saw horses with the little orange blinky lights on top and thought, well, this is going to be an interesting commute. Little did I know.
A little further along, the road was blocked by a pair of barricades and the sign, “Road Closed to Through Traffic.” And I said to no one in particular, Screw that, I’m riding a bike, and rode between the barricades and on up the hill. Had to dodge a few holes dug in the blacktop by heavy machinery, no trouble on my trusty Trek off-road mountain bike with knobby tires.
And then I got to the top of the hill, where I could see that the road wasn’t just closed, it was gone! The blacktop had been completely dug out, leaving nothing but a bed of gravel in its place. Okay, I get it now. The road’s closed. I’ll go around.
I had to go a long way out of my way to a frontage road along the beltway, ride along that as far as I could, then double back into the neighborhood to get down to the end of the gravel road, because at the end the road joined up with the bike path I would have to get on to ride into town. There was no way to get on it from the frontage road so, gravel or not, I would have to get through the construction somehow. But where I joined up again it would only be a short ride and, even on gravel, not too bad. Or it wouldn’t have been, had there been a gravel road.
There wasn’t. The end of the road was the part where the construction crew was tearing it out right down to the roots that day. There was no blacktop, there was no gravel, there was just ungraded dirt. And at the very end of the road, right at the point where the road joined the bike path, an excavator was digging a hole to China. On this day. This very day. The one day I decided to take this road.
I ended up walking my bike across some guy’s lawn to get to the bike path. Rode into town thinking that, around the next corner, there’d be one of those man-eating worms from Tremors shooting up out of the ground or something, but I managed to get all the way to town, park my bike and lock it up before the other shoe dropped.