Day’s Verse:
“Be strong and courageous, and do the word. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you…”
1 Chronicles 28:20

This is a bike blog. If you can’t stand the idea of reading another post about bikes, I suggest you go elsewhere.

Lately I have tried several different ways to get from work to Holden, where our life group meets on Tuesday nights. This is the story of how I found the perfect route, and what I tried in between. In a direct path, the route from work to Holden only covers 13 miles, just about what I ride every night anyway. Here is the direct route:

Notice how it goes straight across 190. At that point, I found myself obliged to ride up an extremely steep, heavily-trafficked, high-speed limited, seemingly endless hill — alas, only one of the many on that route. I arrived at life group sweaty, exhausted, and determined never to ride the direct way again. So the next time I tried out a different route:

In this ride I used my sneaky back-road knowledge from riding around church on Sunday afternoons to avoid the long hill by 190, but unfortunately right at Mile 13, I ended up riding up a hill I had remembered as less steep and arduous than it really was. That route ended up three miles longer than the previous one. Not a winner.

The next time I rode to Life Group, I decided to go out on a limb and stay on a road beyond the point I normally turn. I had no idea where I might end up, but I decided it was worth the risk. Here is the third route:

This route really paid off. It landed me smack where I wanted to be, detouring neatly around the huge hill. You can see the little bump by 190 where I ride around, rather than over, the really big steep hill. In reality, this route actually involves more riding uphill than either of the other two, but because it does so gradually rather than in one killer hill with 12% to 15% grades, it feels easier. Plus it only adds a mile, and I arrive relatively fresh and perky (as much as a person who has just ridden 14 miles, with significant hills, can be described as “fresh”).

I have ridden this route a couple times, and it has the added bonus of sending me along Route 122A, which has a shoulder as wide as a normal driving lane. Often traffic backs up between where I get on 122A and where I turn off onto Route 31, so I get the sweet pleasure of zipping along past stopped cars, leaving them in the dust, and never seeing them again. I LOVE that. Now I just need a shirt that says

Bike To Work

or maybe just

Go By Bike

to rub it in that a bike can be better than cars advertise the joys of bike commuting.

KF quality

5 thoughts on “Refining the Route

  1. I love that your ‘go elsewhere’ link just goes to goodle.

    Also, goodle would be an amazing website to pwn, i mean PWn.

  2. Speaking of you bike commuting; apparently Rex Campbell used you and your riding, even when it’s difficult, as an example of making hard choices based on your beliefs. This was on a live radio spot he does every week in Melbourne.

  3. I’m with you, Katie. I’ve refined my BCS to home route over the past months, and now have just about a perfect ride of 10-11 miles:
    – A fabulous 2 mile downhill start with rarely a car in sight
    – a great bike lane (newly widened, many thanks to City of Kirkland) for 4 mostly flat miles – often I zip past lots of cars as they wait for endless construction. The flagger always waves bikes on through!
    – okay, there is still the nasty downtown Kirkland 1/2 mile followed by the unavoidable Market Street Hill (no way around it unless I go amphibious and take the lake)
    – the downhill side of Market Street!
    -2 miles of backroads that allow for brainless pedaling and even include a shortcut path alongside Juanita Elementary School
    – an ugly, trafficky but short bit of hill on 100th Avenue NE (can be traded out for a bit-longer-but-much-less-adrenaline-inducing backroad off J/W Way)
    Keep on biking, baby girl. 🙂

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