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Mallards paddle the Walnut Creek flood control reservoir in Sarpy County, Nebraska
Mallards paddle the Walnut Creek flood control reservoir in Sarpy County, Nebraska

Strava Around the Lake

Last November we moved across town into a newer home, a smaller ranch with a walkout basement and nearby bike trail. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I could pull out my electric-assist bicycle and take it for a spin around Walnut Creek lake, recording the five mile journey on my smartphones Strava app.

Despite several heavy snow storms and bitter cold temperatures, it's been a mercifully short winter here on the Great Plains. We've had unusually warm, though brief, spurts of mild (relatively speaking) weather, this weekend being one of them. Saturday was in the 50s F, Sunday was close. Both were bathed in wonderful sunshine, inspiring me to hit the trail just up the street.

At the moment, I have a choice of two bikes to ride: my aging (2003) Wavecrest Lab TidalForce M750 pictured below and my (2015) K15 bamboo and aluminum conversion using the ZeHus BIKE+ all-in-one hub motor. I chose the M750.

TidalForce M750 at Walnut Creek Reservoir

Before saddling up, however, I fired up the Strava App. If you've not tried it, I recommend it. It uses the phone's GPS chip to track your ride - or walk - and when you're done display it as a map overlay. Below is the display of my ride Sunday afternoon, while my wife was out grocery shopping. Besides tracking the route from start to finish, it shows the exact distance, the average speed, the changes in elevation, even the estimated amount of calories consumed, though because I was riding an electric-assist bike it's probably not all that accurate, though as research has shown, you get as much of a workout on an ebike as you are likely to get on a non-electric model. You can also share a link to the ride on your social media sites.

Strava screen capture of e-bike ride around Walnut Creek Recreation Area in Sarpy County, Nebraska

As you can see from the Papio-Missouri River NRD map, the Walnut Creek Recreation Area trail is just part of a larger system that is gradually being linked, providing walkers and bike riders with safe trails to explore. And believe me, people around here use them. On Saturday and Sunday when I rode both days, I passed dozens of walkers, many with their canine companions on leashes or toddlers in tow. While the most of the lake is still frozen over, there's enough clear water to provide a refuge for local flocks of Canada geese and even Mallard ducks like those in the top photo.

While the Sunday ride also took me into the adjoining subdivision, if I ride from the house to the lake, around it and back, it's exactly five miles. That will enable me to begin testing the e-bikes we plan to use in our Quikbyke pilot rental trials starting later this Spring. We should see the first two models arriving later this week, and while the weather is forecast to be cloudy and cool, next week we should see nice weather return, allowing me to begin evaluating them for rental. They will also help us figure out our energy needs, how much solar energy does it take to keep their batteries recharged. I'll be writing on that as we move closer to Spring, so keep visiting.

Posted By: Bill Moore [22-Feb-2016]