Bikes, shoes, and armadillos

Armadillos are an occasional feature on the local roadways.  Dead armadillos, unfortunately.  In 15 years of living in the Austin area I’ve seen three live armadillos.  The rest have been dead–splattered on the highway like a ‘possum on a half shell.  But I’ve seen more than usual on my bike rides the last few weeks.  I’m thinking that the rain we got from Hermine (16 inches at our place) drove the creatures out of their normal hiding places and they’ve been on the roads in unusual numbers.

But I can’t explain the number of shoes I’ve seen on the road lately.  I’ve occasionally seen a shoe on the side of the road in the past, but last week I saw at least one shoe on every bike ride.  I’m not talking ratty old beat up shoes, either, but relatively new and expensive looking running shoes.  The majority were on the 1.25 mile stretch between the office and the data center.  I ride that nearly every day to retrieve the backup drive.  Most days, I saw a different shoe lying in the road.  My only explanation is that the road is used by high school students, and somebody (or several somebodies) thought it’d be funny to throw his friend’s shoe out the window.

The other road on which I encountered shoes is a major surface street, and I suppose also used by high school students on their way to and from school.  Whatever the case, if you figure $100 for a good pair of shoes, last week I saw $400 or $500 worth of shoes on the ground.  Always just one shoe at a time, though, and I don’t think any two together would have made a matched pair.

Yeah, one gets an entirely new perspective of the road when riding on the shoulder at 15 or 20 MPH.

I picked up an old rusty metal file from the shoulder of the road the other day.  I don’t particularly need a rusty file, but I’ve been told that they contain very good steel.  A number of wood carvers I know make custom knives from discarded files.  I thought I’d give it a try.

I’ve signed up to ride the Outlaw Trail 100 on October 9.  Debra and I did this ride in 2005–her first century.  I’ve continued my training since the Hotter ‘N Hell ride, and expect to do a bit better here in Round Rock.

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