Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Downtown Birmingham

April 5, 2023


Railroad Park to Sloss Furnace, via Rotary Trail

This is a very easy, flat ride, perfect for a beginner ebiker: the battery is not really needed!

Begin at Railroad Park where there is free car parking on the weekend! Railroad Park features lovely greenspace and perfect spots to watch trains. Two laps equal about one mile, so cruise around a few times to get “warmed up”. Note the entry signage that explains some of the history of the Park and how important railroads were to the transformation of Birmingham AL.

Next, head out down 1st Ave South , along the Rotary Trail in the Magic City.  Follow the trail through a reinvigorated, safe downtown, passing the Alabama Ballet School. It is about a two mile ride to Sloss Furnace. 

Take a break and park at the Sloss Furnace Visitor Center. There is a short film inside the Center which is quite interesting. It discusses the beginnings of Birmingham, the economic boom of Birmingham’s “Magic” which created pig iron, and the draw of railroads to Birmingham which helped transform the city. After the film, do the self guided tour of this National Landmark and appreciate Birmingham’s  past.

DETOUR: After seeing Sloss,  and pedaling about 4 miles, a snack is earned!

2 blocks off of Rotary Trail, on 25th Street North, is a fabulous shop, Junes Coffee. The smell of the coffee alone promises a tasty caffeine boost! Try out the Orange Fig Coffee- its sweet, strong, but not bitter, and has just a hint of orange to appreciate. The massive ham croissant they offer is good, too, and easily serves two.

Now: for the EATING part of  Eating and Ebiking:  The flavorful coffee at Junes inspired Orange Fig Irish Soda Bread Muffins. It’s a basic irish soda bread recipe with orange juice, fig preserves incorporated and baked in a muffin tin. My guess is one muffin equals the calories burned on this ride! 


As inspired by June Coffee:

Orange and Fig Irish Soda Bread Muffins

( can be cooked in Bread Form in iron skillet, or loaf pan, but I have put them in muffin tin to make sure I have some form of portion control)

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup Kerrygold Irish Butter, melted

3 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup buttermilk

1 egg

Zest of 2 oranges

Juice of 2 oranges

1/8 to ¼ cup orange juice- this may or may not be needed

6-8 tablespoons fig preserves ( I like Bonne Maman)

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add in egg that has been mixed with a fork in a cup.

Add in buttermilk, butter and stir with the dry ingredients. Add zest, fresh juice, and fig preserves.

All ingredients are incorporated into rather sticky dough; if looks like still some dry ingredients not fully incorporated, add the extra orange juice

Grease hands w/ bit of oil or butter, turn dough to form ball and put in greased skillet or into greased loaf pan or fill muffin tins about ¾ full ( muffin tin needs to be well greased as well- baking spray works best)

Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees and if in muffin form, bake about 20 minutes. Other forms may take up to 45 min- check after 30 minutes with toothpick. Its done when toothpick comes out clean.

Finally, this muffin/bread is best eaten with irish butter and coffee or hot tea.

I hope it works for you; please add comments you may have that will improve the recipe! 

Chief Ladiga Trail

  CHIEF LADIGA:   PIEDMONT AL to GA STATE LINE   Today’s ride features the Chief Ladiga Trail, one of the most popular “Rails to Tra...