CLUB PICNIC, JULY 8, 2001, TYLER STATE PARK
We have secured permission from Tyler State Park to have our family club picnic there on Sunday, July 8, 2001. We will use the same location as last year, which is known as the "amphitheatre".
We will start at 1:00 p m, and as always, ask those attending to bring a covered dish or other food item (chips and dips). The club will furnish burgers and dogs, and drinks. Mark your calendars!!
Six people (Eric and Galén Williams, David and Sue Starrett, Bill Cornelius, and Jim Walker) gathered in Tyler early Saturday morning on June 2 to load bikes and supplies in a Suburban secured by Bill Cornelius with the TBC trailer in tow. The Natchez Trace excursion began with no definite itinerary, and it was decided along the way to begin in Natchez and not Nashville as previously planned to start cycling that afternoon. The riders changed into cycling clothes 311 miles from Tyler at Natchez State Park, and after a photo at the Natchez terminus the group set off into the unknown at 4:30 p.m. Sue Starrett sagged, and sixty miles were covered before dark at an average speed of 18.5 mph with only three rest stops. We were still about 25 short of Jackson.
After spending the night in Clinton, MS, Sunday morning came very early with Dave Starrett, who was ready to ride, waking everyone about 7:00 a.m. We sagged back to the where we stopped the night before and rode back in to Clinton. We had to sag around Jackson, since this is the only point on the Trace that is not completed. When this section is completed, cyclists will have about 460 miles of uninterrupted highway with no stop signs or traffic lights. The Day's Inn in Kosciusko, MS was the night's stay after having pizza at Pizza Hut.
Day three saw our first mishap with Sue discovering why you dont pull off in the grass. A wrecker had to extract us from the ditch with no problems. However, we didnt get to see Elvis that night in Tupelo. We did meet a park ranger from Maine and a very friendly wrecker driver. The cycling distance for the day was 75 miles ending at Witch Dance. A newly opened motel, Western Inn Suites, was found in Houston, MS,
Back at Witch Dance we began the fourth day with our first rain, but it lasted only for a few miles. We all stopped at the park headquarters in Tupelo, MS for a tour before heading off for lunch at Twentymile Bottom Overlook. I overshot the overlook and Eric drove the Suburban eight miles down the trace to retrieve him. After Sue's sandwiches at the fifty mile point, another forty miles was ridden to Buzzard Roost Springs for the longest one day distance of ninety miles. Accommodations were at the Days Inn in Muscle Shoals, AL. Wednesday morning we headed back to Buzzard Roost Springs to begin the fifth day's ride. We crossed the Tennessee River and started up into the Cumberland Mountains. The creeks immediately changed from muddy to clear The 77 mile ride concluded after riding up the longest climb on the trip, a 2.2 mile hill on Devil's Backbone. Deerfield Inn in Hohenwald, TN was the last motel on the trip.
The rain was falling on a cool Thursday morning with only 50 miles left to ride on the Trace. After breakfast , it was still raining when the group arrived at Devil's Backbone, and the thought of ending the tour early was given attention, but the decision was to ride. The rain was steady and cool, but finally ended at the Nashville terminus where a decision was made to drive the 600 miles back to Tyler. After one fuel stop and a stop to eat at a Cracker Barrel and later for barbecue, the tired travelers arrived in Tyler at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning.
Writing this column is a challenge just like going up the Beast. Im mastering the art of inventing phrases, and these and the ones I sometimes loan, get me in trouble at times. It has been fun, though, and I will continue for the next five months trying to master this art in order to keep everyone updated.
One Thursday afternoon after a ride, I was coming into the UT Tyler parking lot and saw this little boy riding his bike. His Dad sat on the tailgate of his white pick up truck and watched him go around and around. Of course, I got curious and rode my bike to meet him. As I closed in the distance, he started showing off his skills.
What made this little encounter so special was the fact that he was wearing his helmet. He really looked cool with the helmet on. I think he wore it with an attitude! I complimented him for it and was surprised to hear him say very, very proudly that he had won it at a race. He also said he had signed a contract saying he would wear it! He was serious. The helmet fit him perfectly. His detailed account fascinated me. He was very articulate in his speech and told me that his name was Alex Breaux and he was five years old. He was one of the kids who came to the Bike Rodeo held at UT Tyler and signed up for the Kids race. What a surprise!
Alex made my day. Bicycle safety should be taught at an early age. Alex will be protected from head injury, if he ever falls. A special thanks to the Tyler Police Department, to the Smith County Safe Kids Coalition and to the concerned parents for promoting safe cycling in Tyler. I am happy that we can be a part of their efforts. This boy and others like him reminded me that our efforts are worthwhile.
Take a peek at our website regularly and keep informed. We have a good website, and we get compliments all the time. Along with Topica, this has proven to be the best way to keep in touch with the latest happenings in our club. My appreciation to Jim Walker on his constant watch.
Hope to see you at the club picnic on July 8. Be sure to bring your family, for this is a family affair.
I am replying to your inquiry about the trails at Tyler State Park.
As you know we have received a grant that was awarded in October 2000. We have a two year timeline in which to use the money for trail improvements. The grant totals $49,000 after deducting the matching "in-kind" labor and donated materials, monies, etc. We have spent approximately $7000 of the grant thus far during the workshop that was conducted in October of 2000. We have almost completed the handicap trail and have purchased tools for trail work. These tools are available for all volunteers to use while working the trails.
To date we have over 1000 volunteer hours since October 2000 that will be used as In-kind donations for the matching grant money. I have received three bids for the parking addition and plan to have installation by the end of the summer. Showers and bike wash are in the planning stage. Trail improvement is moving very slowly. We have rerouted some of the trails and have marked other locations for re-route.
We have closed some of the trail and will continue to do so as necessary during several phases of trail repair and forest management. The park is currently undergoing a five year plan to improve the flora/ tree population that has seen overgrowth and insect infestation for several years. At present we will not add any new trails until a management plan has been written and the current trails are sustainable.
I do not have a trail steward at this time but I have two new positions that will be filled by September 1st, one of which will be in charge of the trail grant and preparing a management plan. We have had several "pay dirt" volunteers and park staff has worked the trails to keep them clean and safe. I am confident that we will have the trails in great shape for the 2002 season.
We welcome any and all volunteers. If you know of any volunteers that would like to set up a work day to rebuild some bridges or re-route trails, please have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope I have answered most of your questions. Please feel free to call or e-mail me at anytime.
Editors note: This response came from an inquiry by Jim Walker, our webmaster.
Human bottoms come in as many shapes and sizes as do human faces, making the job of the bike saddle designer very challenging. Like faces, some parts of the bottom are hard and structural, while neighboring bits are soft and fragile.
A motorcycle saddle can be wide and soft to protect those fragile parts since the rider sits fairly still on it; a bicycle saddle has to allow constant leg motion without rubbing or chafing on the rider's skin. That means that bicycle saddles have to be both narrower and harder than you might find comfortable at first sit.
Conventional bike saddles are wide at the back to support most of your weight on your pelvic bones, and narrow at the front to pass between your thighs without rubbing them. It is very difficult to pedal strongly without leaning forward. This is good for your bottom in one way (some of your upper body weight is transferred to the hands), bad for it in another (some of the most sensitive parts of the male and female anatomy come into contact with the nose of the saddle). To eliminate these pressures many saddle companies have developed special saddles with gaps along the middle of the saddle.
With any conventional bike saddle it is vital to get one that fits your body in a quality level sufficient to match your intensity and duration of riding, and then to adjust it properly. If your saddle is too high or too low, tilted too far up or too far down, the best saddle in the world will be uncomfortable. When adjusting your saddle, start with the saddle level (place a carpenter's bubble level fore/aft on the saddle), then ride a bit, and adjust it (usually nose down) from there.
Some padding is essential but the more and harder you ride, the firmer the saddle you will prefer. Some very comfortable saddles have little padding; the nylon shell structures are carefully shaped and molded to flex in the right spots. Note: any saddle will make you sore when you first start riding. You will get used to a well-chosen saddle after a week or two of consistent riding.
Our National Flower is the concrete Cloverleaf