the road more travelled

Saturday was a glorious day to ride in New England.  Sunny skies, temps in the mid 70s and no wind.  Finally, a good day, even if it had to come at the expense of Bike to Work Week, where it was cold and rainy nearly every day.

I pondered which route to take on my ride.  Wanting to do go somewhere different, but too lazy to look at multiple maps, I decided to stay on main roads.  While the scenery is not as pretty as the countryside and the traffic much heavier, I figured my chances of getting lost would be considerablly lessened.  There are signs in most surrounding towns that would point me back to Providence, the capital of RI and the place I call home.

As I began my ride, I noticed that although it was a Saturday afternoon, typically a day where everyone is out doing errands, the traffic was not too bad.  Motorists seemed particularly “nice” regarding giving me the right of way, even when it did not apply.  Lots of people were out and about.  The vibe was a happy one, probably due to the great weather.

After pedalling through three or four cities and towns, I was on a more rural route which was picturesque and perfect for riding.   Had I carefully planned a route, I probably would not included this “main” road for my ride.  All in all, riding on main roads and not worrying about getting lost was totally worth it.  I’ll definitely ride this route again, and it was nice to be “mapless”.  

Another advantage to riding on a road more traveled occurred late in the ride.   My rear tire went flat, and not being a cycling DIY person, I immediately found a bus stop just seconds after getting the flat.  A city bus brought me and my bike just three blocks from home, where I happily walked it home.

Many people ask me how I can “stand riding in the city”.  I think my new answer is “I love it”.  Readers, country, city or somewhere in between – what is your favorite?


4 responses to “the road more travelled

  1. I HATE riding in the city/big town. I attend MSU and it is a free for all any time I try and ride anywhere through campus, Lansing or East Lansing. People cut you off, they yell at you like you shouldnt be on the road and some are just rude. I will take my country roads and corn fields of Adrian over that crap any day. I like it to be just me and the road, not a thousand screaming

    • On the whole, I tend to agree, especially when the traffic you’re contending with is aggressive, careless, rude, etc. However — don’t tell my wife I said this — I do occasionally get a rush out of riding amidst motorized traffic. I like the way it feels to split the lanes (a leftover from my days riding motorcycles, I suspect), hug the shoulders, weave through crowded streets, carve clean lines through intersections, out-pace vehicles too cumbersome to move smoothly from point to point over short distances, and so on.

      But I get it out of my system fairly quickly, and am quite happy to return to the country roads flanked by corn fields.

  2. bicyclegirl

    Oh yeah, that was left out of the blog … the superior feeling of my-bike-can-go-faster-than-your-car. It is great, but can be scary sometimes.

  3. I’d have to agree with you when it comes to traffic. In my new neighborhood, I have a love/hate relationship with stop lights. I love that they break up traffic into large groups that hurry up and pass me leaving me withe 5 lanes to myself for about 1/2 mile or more. I hate that I tend to get stopped by them too, but again, it’s fun to make a jump on the cars at the light.

    I miss the open areas and long stretches of no traffic, but suburban streets aren’t bad. I like that I have multiple options for directions, so if a road is closed or something I have 1/16th of a mile (or less) to another street instead of a mile or more. It’s also nice when the speed limit is slower than rural areas- people don’t fly by me as fast as they used to.

    There are benefits and drawbacks of riding everywhere. I don’t mind suburban or rural. As long as I can still ride my bike, I don’t mind.