For the Birds

Spring in Pueblo may actually be proving to be colder (during the day at least) than it is at Christmas, but at least there are a greater variety of birds at this time of year. In fact, one of the coolest things we’ve seen are the flocks of swallows swooping low between the cars at even the hugest intersection, intent on scooping up bugs and – so far as I have seen, anyway – miraculously avoiding getting splatted by the traffic (it’s lucky I’m not driving because I find watching them far more interesting than noticing the light has gone green). So this afternoon, the rain having stopped we set off with binoculars and bird book on the bikes to head down to the river path and see what we could see.

It all started off so well – lots of not particularly rare birds, but cool ones all the same, like a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in a tree, and a broad-tailed hummingbird hanging out at a bird feeder (and how amazing would it be to have a hummingbird among the birds that visit your back garden?). And there are flowers blooming along the trail and everything is fresh and green. The river trail gives us the freedom of Pueblo, basically – if you’re prepared to take a huge detour, then you can use it to get to within striking distance most of the places we want to go by bike, and although there are bits of it I wouldn’t want to use after dark, in daylight it’s fine. So all was going well until we got to this sign:

trail closed sign

Obviously, being cyclists, we just ignored it and pressed on, hoping it was exaggerating, but after skating through some muddy bits and some just a bit flooded bits, we came around a bend and the river was basically flowing over the path and we decided to back up and try and work our way past the flooding on the roads.

Unfortunately, although the roads alongside the river path are generally pretty quiet, they have to cross the main highways and that meant tackling a junction that looked like this:


This isn’t even a large intersection, by Pueblo standards. But it was plenty big enough for me


A swallow might be able to survive flitting through this little lot, but on a borrowed bike – a bike with a front brake that is merely advisory, and a back hub brake that effectively locks up the wheel – well I didn’t fancy my chances. The other half manned up and took the lane but I’m not that brave so I got off and walked along the sidewalk* until we found some quiet roads again. And even then, crossing every highway meant a dash across traffic, not helped by the fact that I’m still instinctively looking the wrong way when crossing the road.

It was only after we’d given up and were making our way back that I noticed that this was, in fact, a bike route. That little tiny yellow sign you can see across six lanes of traffic? It says ‘share the road’.

share the road sign

So that’s all right then.

We’re off to Southern California tomorrow for a few days. Hopefully by the time we return, the flooding will have receded and we’ll be able to potter along the river trail as we have been used to. Because otherwise, I don’t thinke we’re going to be doing much cycling while we’re here.

* Apparently Colorado law lets you cycle on the sidewalk ‘except where prohibited’ which isn’t particularly helpful.

4 Responses to For the Birds

  1. Bob says:

    You poor thing. You must be suffering for intense culture shock. I was bewildered to say the least at the car centric culture of the Midwest. They have a drive up window for everything. Food. Booze. Ammo. Just mind boggling.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Now that I’ve seen Southern California, Pueblo’s car culture is positively restrained

  3. […] if we could scramble along the bank some way and rejoin the path downstream, thereby avoiding the Enormous Scary Junction but after I spotted a snake in the undergrowth we decided that tangling with the traffic would be […]

  4. […] arrival, which was very welcome – but our real question was whether the river path – which was underwater last time we visited – had been repaired […]

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