Road Respect: My favorite morning bike ride, cool happenings

The Lovelands on their tandem during the Washington County Road Respect ride in Enterprise, Utah, May 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kai Reed, St. George News

FEATURE –  Whew, it’s hot out there. Or I should say it’s going to get hot. As I write this, it’s 6:45 a.m., 73 degrees, and I’m poised to take advantage of the last bit of morning pre-sunrise by hopping on my road bike.

Key ingredients for the author's morning bike ride, Ivins, June 29, 2016 | Photo by Kristine Crandall, St. George News
Key ingredients for the author’s morning bike ride, Ivins, June 29, 2016 | Photo by Kristine Crandall, St. George News

In anticipation of what’s to come, I’m in the garage trying to find my sunglasses — the pair with the attached mirror and without which, on a bike, I feel naked.

Note to self: Clean garage.

Additional note: Wear dust mask when cleaning garage.

Ah, found them hidden underneath a couple of old tax returns. Now the water situation. I cram a bunch of ice cubes into my bottle and then fill it. I do the same with a second bottle.

Nice to be underway, feeling the cooler air. I pass a woman jogger in black shorts and a yellow top.

“Good,” she says, “you got the memo to wear yellow and black.”

I laugh.

Others, including several more in yellow and black, greet me. There is a sense of camaraderie and enjoyment being out and about at this strategic time of day. I ride past Ivins Town Hall, turning south at Vista Charter School.

A young rider enjoys the activities at the Washington County Road Respect event in Enterprise, May 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kai Reed, St. George News
A young rider enjoys the activities at the Washington County Road Respect event in Enterprise, May 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kai Reed, St. George News

Small flags are stretching out in the light breeze while the giant Harmons flag at the grocery store remains lazy, at least for now. This is one of my favorite bike rides because of the diversity of terrain and scenery. I follow the multiuse path across the lava rock, popping out on Lava Cove Drive and joining Pioneer Parkway, appreciating its ample shoulder.

It occurs to me that once the road and trail work is complete on Highway 91 from Santa Clara into Ivins, I’ll have additional options for piecing together fun loops.  

I stop at the pond near the ballfields, watching a few floating mallards primping their feathers. On the sidewalk are two jet-black grackles with their distinctly long tails. The sun has breached the horizon.

After chugging some water and having my traditional midride ginger chew, I head back to the west along the Snow Canyon Parkway Trail, amazed at all that is blooming – gorgeous verbenas in various colors, Texas rangers, red yuccas and the sacred datura blooms that appear at first like errant paper towels.

Descending the final hill, I dump the remaining water across my neck and face. It’s in the upper 80s as I unclip before walking down my gravel driveway (a lesson learned the hard way) an hour after starting. The day is young, and I’m invigorated and ready to launch into it, which will include writing this article and — oh joy — cleaning the garage!  

Road Respect, Utah | Logo used with permission; St. George News
Road Respect, Utah | Logo used with permission; St. George News

My morning ride took me through different neighborhoods, open spaces and expansive views.

It also took me through three different communities: Ivins, Santa Clara and St. George, all of which are Road Respect communities. And, of course, all are in Washington County, which celebrated its own Road Respect designation during an event in Enterprise on May 21.

Washington County is the first county in Utah to receive this status. It’s a very cool thing. The event drew about 65 kids and 35 adults as the buzz spread across the small community of Enterprise.

Washington County Sheriff’s personnel helped with the activities, including a bike rodeo, safety talk, helmet giveaway and bike ride. In addition, County Commissioner Zachary Renstrom was on hand to formally recognize the county’s Road Respect designation.

The resources to come with Road Respect distinction will support: evaluation of the health, community and economic benefits of a county bicycle plan; establishment of a kids’ bicycle safety program; and designation of the area’s first bike route with directional signage.

The route will be the popular Veyo Loop, which goes from Ivins through Gunlock to Veyo, then south on Highway 18 and the adjacent multiuse path, and finally on the Snow Canyon Parkway Trail. In the fall, signs will be installed, and there will be a ribbon-cutting and ride.

I’m stoked that the county, with this Road Respect commitment, will assume an important role in the broad-based effort to promote the benefits of cycling and encourage safety through enforcement of rules of the road. It’s a big next step for Southern Utah, both motivating and matching its growing reputation as a cycling mecca.

Stay safe and cool out there, and take advantage of the many possibilities across our communities and the county for riding through our magnificent landscape.

Resources

St. George News Road Respect column is developed with the Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy organization devoted to making cycling safe and convenient for everyone who rides a bike. Opinions stated are those of the columnist and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • .... July 8, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Road respect ? never ! not with people like Bob and Real Life around you ain’t never going two see that from them ..and they have both made that quite clear in previous comments they have posted. but I’m sure they will deny it !

  • Common Sense July 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Thank you Kristine. Your article is enjoyable. Makes me want to go for a bike ride!

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