Sunday, March 13, 2011

#47 - Ride Local Roads I've Not Ridden Before....

I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking when I put this item on my 50 Things to Do list. I was probably thinking I was running out of ideas and wasn't quite to 50 yet.

I'll pretend to be a much deeper thinker than that, though, and say I was thinking I meant to get out of my comfort zone. Ride not only routes I hadn't ridden before (or created on the computer beforehand), but take off on roads I wasn't familiar with and see where I ended up.

My favorite kind of bicycle riding has become those rides when I leave with no particular route in mind, not even a definite destination. When Hubby is playing golf, I always have the option of ending up at the golf course. Or I can ride back home, but for some reason it's more satisfying when I don't have to. Not to mention it knocks about 5-7 miles off the end of the ride, depending on which direction I'm coming from.

I wound up riding in four different counties today. I was going to shoot for a fifth one, but I ran out of steam. I had ridden 35 miles when I realized I wasn't even headed back in the direction of home. I rode on several (many?) roads I had never been on before, on bicycle or in a car. I crossed a major four-lane thoroughfare SIX times. When I got close to the golf course, I texted Hubby to see what time he thought he would finish. I was at the point of deciding whether to ride to the golf course or continue on home. When he said it would be another hour, I decided to go straight home. I didn't have an hour of waiting in me, and I certainly didn't have another hour of riding.

There is a point on one of my usual routes where it's only a mile to my house, but getting there requires being on a busy, hilly two-lane road on which drivers go WAY too fast. I usually cross that road and swing around by the landfill (joy, joy), which adds about five miles and five hills to the end of a ride. Today I sat and debated. To the right it was a mile home, and one hill. Going straight would mean those other five miles and all those hills. I said, "Screw it, I'll take my chances," and I turned right for the direct route.

The road is busy, but there's a nice wide shoulder outside the white line. The wide shoulder is both a good thing and a bad thing. It gives me a little more room between me and the cars, but it means most drivers don't feel it necessary to slow down AT ALL. The speed limit on that part of the road is 55 mph, so riding a bicycle on it can be a hair-raising experience. I decided I would chance the hair-raising for only a mile, and it turned out to be an okay thing to do. Well obviously, since if it had proven an unwise thing to do, I would more than likely not be writing this blog post.

Here is the map for anyone who is interested.

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