Venturing across the bridge for more urban gravel.

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Riding gravel in Superior Municipal Forest. Not another soul around.

It’s the weekend, we’re having some of the warmest weather of the year. I felt drawn to cross the river into Wisconsin for some reason. Maybe the thought of crossing over the river on one of the local high bridges would seem cooling in our hot weather we’re having. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t able to get across the river by bike last summer because the bridge was being refurbished and the pedestrian/bike way was closed all summer and into the fall. I’m not sure what the pull was. It was strong enough to coax me across the river both days.

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Crossing the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge heading for Wisconsin and the City of Superior.
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The A-train on the bridge. Not only is this my all-weather commuting bike, it’s my camping bike, and today it’s my gravel bike.
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It’s rare to see a freighter this far up river from Lake Superior. It happens, but it’s rare.

Today’s ride was to be extra slow. The temperature reached an incredible 91F/32C degrees while I was out today. You have to realize how hot that is for us Duluthians. There are entire summers where the temperature never reaches the 90 degree mark. Just four days ago we had a high temp of 51F degrees. Forty degrees cooler than today. I acclimatize to hot weather very slow. But, I did pretty well in the heat yesterday when it was only about 5 degrees cooler. So I took it slow and drank water constantly.

My destination for today was the Superior Municipal Forest. I’m not sure of the history of it, but it appears to be older growth woods. The forest lines the bays and inlets along the St Louis River. There’s a nice gravel road that winds it’s way through the forest and in and out of the bays. Here’s my route for today: //ridewithgps.com/trips/9542772/embed

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Superior Municipal Forest.

This gate is usually open during the summer. The gravel road doesn’t look like it’s received any maintenance since winter. We’ve had a lot of rain. Maybe they’ve been waiting for it to dry out a bit before grading the gravel.

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What it meant for me was a lack of any other humans. Not a soul to be seen. It was almost eerie being in the middle of a city and not seeing another person. I felt like I was in the middle of a wilderness far away from any cities.

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Chunky.
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Bays were muddy with silt from rain runoff.

About halfway though the forest roads I started to feel the effects of the heat. I had to take the short gravel uphills quite slow to avoid feeling light headed. I slowed my pace and kept the fluids coming.

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My A-train all-rounder is a fantastic gravel bike.

Despite the crazy heat, I had a wonderful 20 mile ride. No traffic to speak of and very few people. Even when I wasn’t in the municipal forest.

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That hill in the distance is Minnesota. Yes. Minnesota has hills. Well, this part of Minnesota does.
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Low traffic roads…or I should say, no traffic roads.

With the exception of a couple of aggressive deer flies, I didn’t have to worry about bugs today. High winds kept the bugs down. Sustained speeds over 20 mph with gusts much higher. It was so high on the bridge coming back I had to get off and walk the bike for about a mile. I know from past experience it has to be over 45 mph gusts to get me to dismount on the bridge.

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View of the Bong Bridge from the Wisconsin side. Rough, muddy waters today.

I’ll leave you with another picture of my A-train on a fishing pier in Superior, Wisconsin.

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4 thoughts on “Venturing across the bridge for more urban gravel.

  1. Pondero June 20, 2016 / 6:01 am

    That looks like a great route. It is good to see that one of us ventured out into the hot air. This post has me kicking myself for missed opportunities yesterday. I guess my overnighter in hot temps took away my desire to get out in the heat. Now, of course, I’m back into the work week…wishing I would have found a way to push myself outside to watch the moonrise last night.

    Like

  2. bribikes June 20, 2016 / 7:23 pm

    I have been riding in hotter temperatures than I ever have before the past few days and I have realized that it may be uncomfortable to ride in the heat but I feel even more uncomfortable sitting around in the heat-even in the shade. The breeze I feel when riding is a life saver!

    It is looking so lush and green up in Minnesota, those trees look super inviting 🙂

    Like

    • fourseasoncycling June 20, 2016 / 7:27 pm

      I would imagine the trees would look super inviting after riding across Kansas in the heat with no shade.

      Like

      • bribikes June 20, 2016 / 7:29 pm

        Yes! Exactly 😉 The trees of the Ozarks seem like a distant dream…

        Like

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