Here is what I have learned while riding my bike to work every day. Riding your bike takes longer than driving a car or riding the scooter. At first this was the most vexing thing to me. It would consume every section of my brain. I was going to be "late" to work. I was never going to get home. I was working way too hard to get up that hill. This was made worse by being on an uncomfortable bike. My butt kept sliding to far forward on the seat and my wrist hurt from the angle of the handles. Since the bike frame was too small, I wasn't getting a full extension with my legs and this made pedaling twice as hard.
I thought this would be solved with the new bike, that I wouldn't worry about time because this bike is more comfortable, but the ride home, up all of those hills, wasn't any easier. There was also still this needling thought that I wasn't moving fast enough. The cars just zoomed by, sometimes dangerously fast and more than too close for comfort. This didn't help the constant nagging feeling that I was moving too slow either. I had chosen the shortest route, traveling up and down Troost. It's 3.2 miles from home to work if I take this street. Troost is a busy street and evening rush hour traffic was harrowing. Often times I would ride on the sidewalks even though this isn't really any safer. Riding a bike down Troost at five o'clock is like trying to meditate in a room full of twenty screaming toddlers while balancing knives on your finger tips and a platter of hot lava on your head.
Michael kept telling me that I should jot over to the Trolley Track Trail. At least for the ride home. I wasn't convinced that this would be any better. It just seemed too far out of the way. It added 1.4 miles to my trip. But he told me it was a good trail. It's flat and I'd only have one hill to contend with and that one really isn't as bad as any of those on Troost. So for my ride home on Wednesday, I made my over to the trail and had the most pleasant ride home from work on the bicycle since I started this whole bike to work thing. I never felt like I was working too hard to make distance. I didn't feel the need to keep up with cars. I just pedaled along. The trail is mostly shaded so I didn't feel like I was being baked and it only took me about five minutes longer to get home.
I'll still take Troost in the mornings to get to work. I leave early enough in the mornings that traffic isn't too bad and it's mostly all down hill. The Trolley Track Trail is my new route home. Sure it might be slightly out of the way, but it's definitely a more pleasant ride. It's easier to just be present on my bike and really see the joy in riding a bicycle. When Michael saw the bike I wanted and saw me on it he said "all I see is country girl." Well...it's true. I grew up riding a bike in the country. There was no rush to get any where. We just went off with no real destination in mind. There were no cars zooming dangerously by. A lot of the appeal of riding the trail is that it's very similar to taking those back country roads. But also it is a reminder that sometimes the best path isn't always the most direct path.
Here's to taking the long way home. Happy Love Thursday!