Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Life in Summerlin

No poker content, but there is blood and gore ahead!

The target for this morning's bike ride was this chain of trails (marked in red) out in Summerlin, the rich part of town.

Have you ever wondered what the city provides when it builds bike trails where the wealthy people live that it does not provide when it builds bike trails where we working-class folk live? Well, I'm here to answer your question!

You get beautiful, manicured trailheads!


A ginormous floodwater basin!

(I had to digitally stitch together several shots to make this panoramic composite, and it still doesn't adequately convey the size. I checked on Google Earth, and it's about 120 yards across, and just over 2/3 of a mile long. The volume of water that has to be contained when we get one of our occasional flash storms is just staggering.)


Tennis courts!

Soccer fields!

More tunnels!

Bridges over the busy streets so you don't get killed crossing them!

Purple shrubbery, sufficient to placate the most demanding forest knights!

Whole parks and playgrounds!

More bridges over busy streets!

Baseball fields!

Skateboard parks!

Mormon churches!

Sign posts!


Doggie doo bags!

(They have boxes just like this along the trails in the poor parts of town, too, but I look at them as I ride by, and have never, ever seen one that was stocked with bags. 100% empty. In Summerlin, every single one that I passed had bags in it.)

Nicely maintained trails! No broken glass! Lights for night riding!

For when the weather's not nice, an indoor sports complex!

Exercise equipment!

Basketball courts!

Picnic tables and drinking fountains!

I also saw six--six!--very cute chipmunks, but none of them stuck around long enough for me to pull out my camera and take his picture.

The difference in the quality of the amenities provided in the suburb-like Summerlin neighborhood and the central, working-class neighborhoods in which I did my first rides is nothing short of stunning. I'll bet that city politicians would try to claim that such differences have nothing whatsoever to do with the income (and consequent political influence) of the residents. I would laugh in their faces.

Oh, I almost forgot the blood and gore part of the program! That skateboard park was deserted, and it sorely tempted 14-year-old me. At first I just rode around the perimeter, marveling at how lethal everything looked. But then I saw some gentler slopes at the far end, and that mischievous 14-year-old me took over. I can do those! No problem! So I swooped down into the pit and in my lowest gear pedaled hard, and came to a triumphant stop on top of the crest. "See?" said the 14-year-old. "Easy!" He even stopped to take a picture looking down over the handlebars:

He texted that photo to his girlfriend, and coasted down. Whee! Exhilarating! The 51-year-old me thought that that little taste of long-ago recklessness was enough. But the 14-year-old me looked at the next slope over, which was just a little bit steeper, and said, "That one! We can do that one!" Against my better judgment, I gave in to him.

And we almost made it. "Almost" being the key word there.

Just about six inches from the top, Impetus, the Great God of Momentum, looked down upon our foolishness and thundered from Mt. Olympus, "No more of that for you!" Quicker than I would have thought possible, I switched from rolling forward to rolling backward, an eventuality for which I was wholly unprepared.

I wish somebody had been shooting video, because I suspect it would win a prize on "America's Funniest Home Videos." Legs flailing wildly, handlebars twisting this way and that, all while rolling backwards, in a desperate attempt to keep the wheels under me. I did manage to make it to the bottom of the slope before I toppled over, so there was only minimal sliding along the concrete.

As gravity was taking over, the only thing I could think was, "This is not going to end well."

My handlebars were knocked out of alignment. There's some scraping on one brake lever. My helmet--which I'm very glad to have been wearing--has a little scuff mark on one side. My shirt and pants got dirty but, surprisingly, not torn. I got a couple of boo-boos:

There was, fortunately, no damage to expensive things, like my teeth and glasses. Or bones.

In spite of these massive wounds, the 14-year-old in me still thinks that that place looks like it would be hella fun to play in, given a bike better suited for such shenanigans. Sadly, the 51-year-old me realizes that the 14-year-old me is no longer in charge of the reflexes and balance part of the riding process. He could have done it. I don't think that I can, or should.

Oh, and one other little thing about the biking, since if you've read this far you must find something interesting about it (though I have no idea why you would). I've rigged up this front fork mount for the back of my car to keep the bike from flopping around when I drive:

The rear wheel tucks up between the front passenger seat and the frame, like so: 

Note that the larger side of the rear seat stays usable in its normal position. Pretty nifty, eh?


Spot said...

Glad you're okay.

Odd that in all of those photos there is not one person to be seen.

Rakewell said...

Actually, there are at least three (not including myself).

Farmer Don said...

All the nice stuff doesn't come free. On top of all city taxes is a $40.00/month fee to the Summerlin Association just to live in the area. This extra pays for some of the goodies

Pete said...

The libertarian in you should like this. See the disparate amenities are not the result of government policy. Summerlin is a master planned community operated by various private associations. Those trails are private property not built by the government.

dD said...

how the other half live ! eh Grump ?
regards your inner 14 year old .... I did this (sadly in Donington, Lincolnshire, England) .. no video, but .... the skatepark was full of teenagers, they found my antics highly amusing .. my 3 kids found it even funnier, sigh :)
(and I'm not hellish much younger than you !)

Anonymous said...

Nice ride... I'll have to check it out next time I'm in town. Thanks for posting.

VegasDWP said...

I can verify what Farmer Don is saying. I have a condo in Summerlin, and pay $47/month (in addition to my HOA dues) that goes directly to "Summerlin North".

Now I know what they use the money for...