It's probably fair to start by saying that the ideal bike commute probably varies widely from one individual to another. One cyclist might prefer to ride alone; the next might prefer to ride with a group. Some of us love the idea of a long, scenic rural commute; others want it short and urban. There are those who prefer to ride on the roads and those who embrace the idea of a bike path from the front door all the way to the office.
This morning, I rode in from PT Guy's house out near Iroquois Park. I had originally intended to take the bus, but by the time I reached the place where I would normally have picked it up, I was feeling pretty good, and didn't want to wait around, so I just rolled on.
The trip from there to here is 7.4 miles — very pleasant, mostly roomy, level, tree-shaded routes through turn-of-the-20th century residential neighborhoods (normally, I would like things a little hillier, but my knee still has a little way to go before I get back to riding real hills, so it's all good). Once I got onto Southern Parkway, I was on open four-lane roads with very little traffic most of the way. As I approached downtown, there were a few more cars, but as early as it was (I made it to work by about 7:20), the rush-hour crowd hadn't really hit yet.
On second street, I failed to change lanes at the right time, and a nice paramedic-looking fellow in a pretty convertible waved me in. I thought that was really cool. I made sure to smile as I waved back to him. I hope it didn't look like I was baring my teeth!
Only one driver passed me closely in my lane — someone turning right at the next intersection who apparently couldn't be bothered to wait a minute or so. It was a closer-than-legal pass (under 3 feet) but not too close for my comfort at the speed we were moving. I probably would've been uncomfortable with it a year or so ago, though, and would definitely have been uncomfortable with it if I was riding with a less-experienced cyclist.
The only thing I found at all trying about this commute was the air quality — Louisville's air gets hairy in summer. I think I may indeed want to invest in a filter mask of some variety.
In many ways, the trip from PT Guy's house resembles my ideal commute — more than five miles, plenty of room on the roads, not too much traffic, pleasant scenery. I really like riding open roads through rural and semi-rural areas, but since my commute from well within the 'city limits' into down town doesn't seem to take me through any of those (wonder why? LOL), it'll do. Since I like hills, there's a hillier option I can take once my leg feels better — I'm looking forward to exploring that one.
Surprisingly, I must admit that I actually like this commute more than the one from my place on Willow Ave (though I do miss blasting up the MUP like a rocket early in the morning when there's nobody else using it!). It's a more relaxing ride (and longer — woohoo! An excuse to spend more time on the bike!). It's also pretty, and when the leaves change in the fall, it's going to be really pretty.
Depending on how my leg feels tonight, I might do a 17-mile group ride tomorrow morning (there's also a 35-mile options, but I will not succumb to temptation). It's one of LBC's Yellow Lot rides, so I guess I'll need to figure out where the heck in Waterfront Park the famed Yellow Lot is.
In other news, the Great Chain of Bloggery has led me to perhaps the awesomest racing group ever conceived:
Pirate Cycling League
Screw coffee rides. These guys do BACON rides*. That's my kind of cycling league.
*No offense to those who may keep kosher or halal or be vegetarian or vegan.