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The bike path did not end. I know this because my instruments (eyes, ears, and legs) told me so. The online "route planner" that I tried, however, basically said I couldn't get there from here.  Maybe I should have upgraded to the paid version or carried a GPS device. I doubt, however, that these would have warned me about the huge machinery that dug up the street and detoured traffic a good half mile away.

Two of the joys of bike riding are the sheer unpredictability of how to get where I want and the surprises encountered along the way.  So, beyond having some general idea of where I'm going (store, bank, library, etc.), I choose not obsess with the minutiae of every street, turn, or stop. I get on my bike and look forward to what happens. This is not simply hoping for the best; the best is just being alive and pedaling.

Two things that often cannot be avoided, even with a "plan", are steep hills and dogs. The hills balance out because there's often a nice view from the top, followed by a downhill run.  Besides, they are good exercise.

Loose dogs, however, are usually an unavoidable part of the experience.  All bicyclists encounter dogs, sometimes in absolute terror.  On a ride in a semi-rural area surrounding a coal-fired power plant, three huge dogs chased me, barking, snarling and nipping at my ankles. Their owners, sitting on the porch from which these beasts had launched, roared with laughter at my torment.  Their enjoyment changed, however, when I started bopping snouts with my bike pump. Thankfully, I escaped and the dogs' owners didn't chase me down in their pickups.

I've since done the power plant ride several times; but I haven't been by the dog house again. This isn't "planning;" I simply chose to explore other, unknown routes.  Happy riding!

Originally posted to http://grindthehills.blogspot.com/ on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 04:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Velocipede Vanguard.

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