Friday, August 9, 2013

Today's bike commute adventure

Yesterday my son got his tonsils out and had to stay the night at the hospital.

Pulling around his hydration system. The hospital people could learn a lot from runners :)

Trying on his clown nose

A dog came and visited. I'm pretty sure he would have worn a bare patch in her fur from petting had she stayed much longer.
I stayed the night with him and he was a champ, and we had a good time. He's doing fine and left for home just after I got to work.

The Trip

So the plan was that my wife would bring my bike the hospital in the morning, and I'd bike to work from there. It's not far, 10 or 12 miles and mostly on roads or trails I already knew. I woke up around 6 which was just a few minutes before my wife showed up. We chatted for a bit, I went and pumped up my bike tires and then changed and left.

So, I had looked at a route, I was going to hook up with a trail I had biked a lot a bunch of years ago, take that to Hopkins, hop on another trail, take that to a road I think is fine to ride on and then take that all to work. Something like four turns. No big deal.

Step 1: Find the trail

Map of me looking for the big green line
Since I had been on this trail many times I (naively) thought I would recognize it. I also had my phone with me, so I could stop and check for directions if I was lost. I pop out of the hospital parking garage, look at my phone and decide that it wants me to go west, it's morning, so I head toward the sun. I get to a major road and decide that perhaps I've gone the wrong direction. Check the phone, yep. Head back - pass the hospital, it was 1/2 a block away from where I started. This whole number happened before the map above as my watch searched for satellites and then waited for me to press the start recording button.

So I make the turn onto the road (thankfully I had only one choice on which way to turn) and then head toward where I believe the trail should be. I realize at this point that I don't recognize this area, and honestly when I think back that's because the trail is well hidden from the outside world and unless I had ever gotten off of it here, probably many people don't know it's there.

In the end, based on that map, I rode under the trail for three times before I realized that I was riding under it. The last time I rode under it I even saw the tiny trail leading up to the larger trail. This trail I have ridden 100 times easy, so I knew where I was going to get off of it. What I didn't know was how to find the entrance to the other trail.

Step 2: Find the trail.

This looks easy

So the map looks like - just cross the road and you're there. And that's true. And if you're like me and don't spend a lot of time finding new trails you may not be able to find a trail entry. If you're on bike level and don't know what to look for, what you see is a coffee shop, what looks like a bus stop and a factory parking lot. What you don't see is a  bike trail.

I stopped here, because I know coming up is the part of the trail that goes the wrong way.
From here I don't see anything that looks like a trail going anywhere but the one way I know is wrong. The woman is, like everyone else, on the part of the trail I already know. I check, my phone basically says I need to get on the other trail now, just cross the road. I elect to go a little further down the trail I do know and see what I see when I get to what I believe is the point of no return

Point of no return - turn right and I'll be going the wrong way
This is literally just a few hundred yards from the last shot. I know for sure I do not want to head right.

This is what is across the street
The phone is encouraging me to cross the street, so I do. Because honestly there is no oth
er right answer. (Insert Sherlockian comment here.)

The view from across the street
Another cyclist saves me at this point, as it basically looks like I'm riding into a parking lot. He goes trucking through and hops on, to me, an invisible trail. I get on that trail.

Step 3: Find the ... work

Actually this part is just sort of filled with doubt. I'm on a sort of schedule, but I have no idea where I am. All I know is that eventually I should come to a road I recognize and then get on that and take it to work. Once again I realize that from the bike path all roads look basically the same, and almost none of them are labeled. So I ride on, unsure of what is to come and then, thankfully, the road I want is labeled.

The rest, as they say, is history. I got to work a little bit slower than I wanted, but I did get there. I'm sort of hoping for good weather over the next few weeks as my commute to work has turned into a nightmare, and I'd like to be biking it which will take just a little longer, but not be nearly as painfully boring.

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