The Hoosierist: Skiing on the Monon

Winter sports on a bike trail, filling your own potholes, and fake trolleys. Ask the Hoosierist.

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Q: Can I cross-country ski on the Monon Trail?

A: Only if you get there before the city’s road crews do. The folks at Rusted Moon Outfitters, a sporting-goods store that sits within a snowball’s throw of the Monon, report that plows clear the path quickly. That keeps it safe for walkers and bikers, but pretty much freezes out ski buffs. Instead, Rusted Moon general manager Ron Lewis suggests trying the snowy expanses of Eagle Creek Park and Fort Harrison State Park, both of which leave most of their frozen stuff where it falls. Newbies should be prepared for a few aches and pains after their first excursion. The back-and-forth motion necessary to keep those skis moving will “work your core.” Which is a diplomatic way of saying it makes everything hurt.

Q: Is it legal for a private citizen to fill in a pothole on her own?

A: It’s okay in the sense that the Asphalt Police won’t arrest you. However, the city strongly advises against it, for a number of reasons. Most obviously, you could get run over. Also, doing work on city property requires a permit, which you almost certainly don’t have. Nor are you bonded and licensed, which is a good thing to be if you’re slinging piping-hot asphalt in the middle of a street. Finally, Indy uses a special asphalt mix designed to stand up to traffic and weather. The garden-variety goop available at hardware stores might not be sturdy enough for the long (or even short) haul. Instead, Scott Manning, director of communications for the Department of Public Works, advises calling for help. You can report these nuisances to the Mayor’s Action Center. Heck, there’s even a pothole-reporting app. Because of course there’s an app.

Q: What’s the deal with that maroon trolley I keep seeing downtown?

A: The “trolley” (actually a trolley-shaped bus) is run by a company called The Free Enterprise System. It’s available for weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, and, according to the website, anything else that calls for “something a little extraordinary.” The trolley won’t ever threaten the venerable Chicken Limo as Indy’s most pimpin’ rental ride, but it does offer certain advantages. It seats 30 and, unlike some other fake trolleys The Hoosierist could name, features an authentic-ish interior with oak bench seating, brass accents, and leather straps. The vehicle wouldn’t look out of place in the middle of the Old Spaghetti Factory. Sure, this “trolley” is just a glorified bus. But most Hoosiers seem cool with that. After all, isn’t IndyGo’s new Red Line Rapid Transit corridor just a bunch of buses masquerading as light rail?

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