Julian’s Bower is a unicursal (one way in and one way through) turf maze in North Lincolnshire near Alkborough. More accurately termed a labyrinth, it is a much-loved curiosity of the region and for proof-of-passion you need to look no further than the local church; a 19th century stained glass window records the full pattern. The same church porch floor also records the pattern and the nearby gravestone of Constible James Goulton records the pattern as well. Some think the labyrinth was sculpted by monks in the 12th century but others contend it is of Roman origin.
Some believe a labyrinth can provide healing powers through light and energy and indeed, through workshops, books, tours and even music, this can be explored.
Our beloved 3-Speed Tour is best defined as multicursal; we have one entrance into Wisconsin and one entrance back into Minnesota and either entrance opens up to a world of route choices. But unlike a labyrinth, none are wrong. Our Saturday crossing into Wisconsin was restricted by bridge construction and heavy traffic but once across, our way was clear. Immediately, an alternate route presented itself at the Highway 35 junction; an interesting back road that is quiet and will eventually take everyone to Bay City.
Our arrival at Bay City means one thing; the 2.5 mile Bay City Hill; there are no alternates in this part of the labyrinth so we had no choice. Up we went; some riding, some walking and all were breathing hard. The church at the top was a welcome stop to cool off, take some photos and prepare for the fast descent. A series of overlooks and historic markers allowed our brakes to cool off and soon we were heading to Maiden Rock.
The Smiling Pelican is our only choice if we want excellent pastry and over the years, the SP has proven how good they are. Good enough, in fact, to empty the display case. We Nutters lounged in the garden, rocked on the porch and mulled about; telling stories and taking photos.
After Maiden Rock, some braved the climb to the overlook and visited the Maiden Rock Cidery and some took the long alternate route (courtesy of Ralph) that eventually descended into Pepin. Most traveled directly to Stockholm for treats and a little sit-down.
The segment from Pepin to Nelson is the longest of the day. It is mostly flat and to verify this is an English Ride, it sprinkled light rain the whole way. Not unpleasant since no-one was soaked and the Chippewa River delta is so very beautiful with wild plum blossoms and their perfume filling the air.
Nelson is the last village in Wisconsin; some stopped at the Cheese Factory for ice cream and other provisions. Others braved the final climb over the bridge into Wabasha and the Eagle’s Nest.
That evening, Javas Jan and Jim refueled our tired bones with a feast to remember; no-one left hungry. Some stayed to enjoy the new “Beer Choir”; Tim’s rollicking addition to the evening that had everyone in stitches.
The next morning, it was back to the ‘Nest for gallons of hot tea, coffee and an excellent breakfast to fuel us for the morning ride. Many planned their alternate routes through the Minnesota side of the labyrinth. Not many chose to ride the climb up to the top of the bluffs, but all were looking forward to the next stop. No-one wanted to leave, but leave we must; that is what cycle tourists do.
Lake City’s Ohuta Park is a lovely location for the Brew-Up; we have incredible views of the lake plus the bluffs on the other side where we were cycling the previous day. Blankets and tablecloths were spread, the kettles came out and treats were found seemingly everywhere.
After a little nap, we moved on to the Light Up; a great place to learn a little history, take some photos of beautiful bicycles and enjoy the Old Stone Wall.
The final leg through this labyrinth was upon us. Hill Avenue, Ski Road, Flower Valley Road or good old flat Highway 61 are all good choices to get back to Red Wing. Most are quiet back roads with wild flowers in full bloom along with more plum, apple and cherry perfume.
Riders of the Realm have many choices in this labyrinth known as life but the route you choose is yours and yours alone. Eventually you will find your one true path of truth, vision and healing powers. Indeed, that path is best followed upon your ‘umble 3-speed.
Date(s): May 12 & 13, 2018. Album by STO. Photos by STO. 1 - 152 of 152 Total. 176 Visits.