A Late Start to the Season

Mere hours after the Bruins season came to a victorious ending, my bike commuting season has begun. This morning, I biked the sixteen miles in to work for the first time this year, which took me an hour and seventeen minutes. I forget how that compares with previous years, but I’ll assume it’s somewhat slower. It certainly felt so, but my expectations were low: making it here in one piece is good enough. Let me tell you, tele-commuting is much easier! 😉
There’s a biking blog I like to read called EcoVelo, which is written by a guy who is something of a bike fanatic, and I mean that in the most complementary way possible. I read with envy about his commuting in California, with its almost always beautiful weather, and I look at his pictures with lust in my heart. I could probably do my commute six months of the year, reasonably, without too much cold weather gear. But I know that when the temps are in the forties, my hands can get painfully cold in less time than that. In contrast to the dedicated bike paths, and quiet rural roads through wildflower-filled fields described by Alan, my commute is along heavily trafficked, narrow roads, frequented by trucks going 40-50 mph. Keeps me awake and moving, though! Plus it motivates me to get an early start on the day.
Most drivers are reasonable, but occasionally I encounter one who clearly expects me to ride in the shoulder (or what they undoubtedly think of as the “bike lane.”) I’d like to explain to these folks: “See this painted line here? This line represents a contract between road users and road maintainers. The road maintainers promise that they will work to keep most of the storm drains and broken pavement on the right side of the line. They will sweep all the sand, broken glass, debris from car accidents, random screws, nails, etc. to the right of that line. They are saying, if you keep your big, four+ wheeled vehicle and it’s inch thick steel-belted radial tires on the left of the line, you will be safer. Now, do you really think it’s right to expect me to ride my vehicle, balancing on its two, eighth-inch thick tires, there? Really??”
My commute route: