1. No need to fear the Ides…

    The Ides of March came and went without incident. There was no Brutus waiting in the wings, nor a car for that matter.

    Deby and I attended the city council meeting yesterday. Deby made a public comment concerning the cleanliness of the bike lanes around the city.

    After the meeting, Tomas Reyna approached us to talk to us about our concerns. He explained that not all the lanes belonged to the city and that they couldn’t just clean them whenever, TxDOT doesn’t allow them. So much for a limited government mindset at the capitol in Austin. Anyway, I digress. He gave us his contact information so that we can let him know when we see large debris in the lanes. He also let us know how to call in for dead animals we see, and yes, there are a lot of dead animals in the bike lane. By the looks of them though, it’s not at the hands of a bike. These things are so flat they look like area rugs. 

    After the meeting, Deby and I had some dinner with some fellow cyclists who were also at the meeting. We tried out a new taco joint near the campus called Tacos Reynosa. It was pretty EPIC. I had a botana for 1 that was so good, I wanted it for breakfast this morning. The only criticism I have of the place is the lack of WiFi, but hey, it just opened. Maybe it’s a future amenity.

    Don’t be fooled by the size of that white bike, it’s a beast. On the way to the taco place, I dropped everyone and cruised along at a nice 24 mph for a ways until that little rocket caught up to me going 29 mph. It’s not the size of the bike, but the strength of the legs.

     
  2. Fueled by pork…

    After a long day or riding on Saturday, we were a little sore and tired, but we got up anyway. We had made plans to ride out to the Mission Trails and then over to the birding center at Bensten State Park. After guzzling a protein shake and some water, we loaded up and headed out.

    We were meeting our partners in crime at 107 Cafe at 10. It took a lot of will power to not go in and eat something before we rode. We were promised a mind blowing breakfast over at the flea market in Alton. So we waited a few minutes.

    Our riding companions showed up and we were off. We headed west over to Conway. With the wind blowing at our backs, it was easy until we made the turn south. Going south was work, but it wasn’t as bad as the day before. After 12 miles or riding, we reached our destination. We walked our bikes through the flea market and over to a great little taco place called La Malaguena. We locked up the bikes and headed in.

    This is what we put off eating for.

    And boy was it worth it. Nothing like some delicious pork tacos for breakfast to get you through the day. After this, and a Mexican Coke, we continued through the flea market. We met two gentlemen who had also biked there. They were riding custom chopper style bicyles and they were cycling chic. After talking to them for about 15 minutes about all things bicycle, we continued south to the Mission Trails.

    Conway has a shoulder all the way south, except for a little piece in downtown Mission. It wasn’t bad riding on the very right of the lane. There was plenty of room.

    Right before reaching the trails, we saw a winter visitor also biking over to the trails. It’s always great to see people biking instead of committing bicycle torture by hauling their bikes around on the back of car.

    We finally arrived, after some ferocious wind.

    We continued down the paved trail all the way over to Bensten State Park. When we got there, we noticed a lot of bikes. It was probably the most bikes I had ever seen parked anywhere. It was great.

    We grabbed some water and explored the facility a little before heading out again. We biked over to the butterfly center about a mile down the road. It was nice to see that they have a big bike rack there. It’s also a proper bike rack that can actually hold bikes. Not like some others I’ve seen around.

    We wandered around the center for about an hour. We looked at all the great native landscaping they had. There weren’t many butterflies but I’m sure that they have moved on since I last saw them last fall. There were plenty of birds though. We saw a lot of green jays as well as some cardinals.

    There is a great walking trail that they have there that doesn’t look like it belongs in the valley.

    During that walk down the path, it felt as though we had all been transported elsewhere. It’s hard to believe that the valley used to look like this many many years ago.

    We took a break under a great canopy there and had some great discussions about the sprawl that is killing the RGV. Every time somebody bulldozes an orchard or clears brush to make way for development, we lose out on potential eco-tourism dollars. It seems short sighted to build a cookie cutter house that never feels like home in order to make a quick buck. What about the long time earning potential of a great nature preserve? I guess our collective hive mind here in the valley can’t look at things like that. We want to make the same mistakes everyone made 20 or 30 years ago in bigger metro areas. It seems like we really do get everything last here.

    We biked back through the Mission Trails over to Conway. We then cut across on Trinity through the industrial parks and through Cimaron. We got a look from a resident who was driving past us. He just didn’t get it. Neither did we. How could you be trapped in that car on such a great day?

    It was finally time to get some grub, but there were issues. Our first choice ended up being closed when we got there. So was our second choice. Luckily, Russo’s was open, so it was time for some carbs.

    There was pizza on those pans, but I got my camera out a little too late to get the full pizza picture.

    The day was winding down so we headed out.

    We headed home for some much deserved rest. We clocked about 45 miles worth of riding on Sunday. It felt like a lot because of biking close to 40 miles the day before as well. It was worth it though, it was a great adventure.

    PS

    Here we are riding down Dove. It doesn’t have a bike lane.

     
  3. The winds of March…

    Saturday was our regular CU ride. There was no way we would miss it. The weather was too nice. We headed over to El Patio and had some breakfast. I had a last minute adjustment made to my rear derailluer before heading out. There’s nothing like mis-shifts to make your ride a drag.

    We headed out, into the wind, and took a country route. The group normally tries to keep it more “urban”, if that’s possible in sprawlandia, but today, we headed out. It was nice to see that part of Edinburg. We saw plenty of fields of greens that are about to be harvested. The smell of cilantro made me instantly crave tacos.

    At the halfway point, we took a short break. Across the street from the Stripes we were at, a heard of goats was grazing on the side of the road. I couldn’t help but think of cabrito for lunch. Maybe another day.

     

    We then proceeded back into town, but only after stopping at the birding center, where we took some group photos. I don’t have any handy right now.

    Next stop, market days in downtown. It’s something the group always does. We stop every month. It’s our little way of putting a little money into the local economy.

    It was then time to run some errands. Both Deby and I needed to go to the bike shop for some items. A friend of ours from the CU group also needed to go. The more the merrier and safer. Four of us embarked over to McAllen to Bicycle World to get what we needed. It was a hard ride there because of the wind. It wasn’t impossible though. We just needed one short stop to grab some water.

    Since we had been biking since 10 and it was now nearing 4, it was definitely time to seek out some food. After a coin toss, Le Lai was our next stop. Nothing like some Asian cuisine to fuel us up for the ride back to Edinburg.

    Our day wasn’t done though. Once we got back to into Edinburg, we had to stop over at the pharmacy. We decided to just go through the drive through.

    After 38 miles, we finally made it home. What a day. I have to admit, I was pretty worn out when I got home. All that wind and hauling around the trailer really did me in. I just look at it as though it was a workout. It wasn’t that tough though. The next morning, we were back on the saddle and ready for another 40+ mile journey over to Bensten State Park. More on that trip later.