Ninety-five percent of the route to get there was great. The remaining 5 percent was a reminder of everything that's unenjoyable about bicycling out here. In a nutshell, I found myself dumped out at the intersection of 52nd Street and Shea, needing to make a left-hand turn across 5 lanes of fast-moving traffic, into the lane.
And it's never the driver who passes you too close and too fast who is the biggest concern. It's actually the driver behind that driver, who is tailgating and who won't even see you. So up onto the narrow, winding sidewalk.
At the corner of Tatum and Shea, I paused for a map-check, right behind another stopped person on a bicycle. He didn't look like your average road cyclist - no helmet, backpack on. But he was riding a decent bike and wearing bike gloves, and asked if I knew where Power Road was.
I do, but Power Road is at least 20 miles out to the east, in Mesa. He told me he'd started biking at 6 am on the previous morning (didn't catch where he started), and that the next day he was going to ride down to Florence. I decided that he clearly needed my bike map more than I did, so I got him oriented and pointed in the right direction, gave him the map, and carried on my way.
The Roadrunner Farmer's Market was fun. Part of my idea was to meet up with a friend and his daughter because they live on that side of town, and that worked out wonderfully. I appreciated the distinct offerings at this market, which included someone selling fresh-squeezed prickly pear juice, and another company selling Arizona pistachios. After shopping at the market, we went over to the playground so N could run around for a bit, then we stopped by a neighborhood bistro that J had been telling me about and had delicious Arizona food in a lovely garden/patio setting.
For my return trip, I took 32nd Street down to a crazy freeway overpass over highway 51, which led to a bike path and then Dreamy Draw Drive, along the northwest edge of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. I thought I'd been through that area before, but now I'm not so sure. Regardless, wonderful scenery out there. Dreamy Draw then connects up with the Arizona Canal, so I was able to take canal paths all the way back to Tempe Town Lake.
It felt good to get some miles in (42 or so), and the section along the Arizona Canal reminded me of the year I trained for and ran a marathon, because I did all of my long-distance runs along that section of the canal. Here's hoping I can continue to get in good bicycling adventures while I'm out here.
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