Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wrong Turn

The weather in Indianapolis has been great this week and keeps getting better! I took full advantage of it on Tuesday evening striking out for a ride south. The Monon trail has been closed thanks to the I-465 project going on. It is open sporadically and I caught it on good night. I headed south on the Monon towards Broad Ripple and downtown. The Monon was pretty crowded (duh) so I headed west on the Central Canal Towpath. I've been on this path a few times but hadn't seen all of it. I decided I was game for an adventure and headed out of Broad Ripple. It was peaceful, but not much of it is paved (unfortunately). I knew that the Towpath connected to another trail that went all the way downtown. What I didn't remember was where or how. Before long I was pretty much by myself on the path. It was okay though, peaceful.
Then I got to the end of the path. The end of the path is at 30th Street and Harding Street, not the best part of town...Not being able to find the connector to the trail (turns out I had passed it prior to getting to "the end"), I considered turning around and heading back the way I came. Not looking forward to riding on crushed limestone for another 5 miles I decided to head east on 30th Street and catch Illinois and head back north. I didn't think it would be too many blocks and it would be paved. I soon forgot why this was a good idea. I was on a sidewalk with lots of starts and stops, glass, gravel...Then I crossed Martin Luther King drive and went under the highway again. By this point I was pedaling as fast as I could to get back where I knew where I was! A mile and a half later I finally saw the dinosaurs outside of the Children's Museum and felt better.
The dinos "break" right through, it actually looks pretty neat!

Turning onto Illinois Street I figured it be an easy ride back to where I could rejoin the Towpath (close to the Monon!). I've driven on Illinois Street a lot, but not in the right lane; with the sand and the potholes and the glass and gravel! Yikes! I tried to avoid as best as I could without riding in the left lane with the cars. My detour ended up being about 4 miles, slightly shorter than the ride out and probably a little too much adventure for a Tuesday evening bike ride. I got back to the canal and then the Monon. The path wasn't as busy on the way back and I was home well before it got dark.
I know I was in a bad part of town and I was a little scared. I didn't see any sketchy characters or shadiness. I was going as fast as my legs would carry me, but it wasn't so bad. I like to think I'm a fairly smart person and I would have turned around and gone back up the Towpath if I really felt in danger. I did decide that I'm going to stay on paved trails or roads and probably head away from the city rather than into the city!
Now that I've looked at a map again I'll probably take another ride downtown.
On a Saturday afternoon.
With more water and maybe a friend to enjoy it with!