New time + new route = Nirvana

I have a confession. I’ve been avoiding my commute to work.

It started during the rainy season. I live in Tuscawilla and work near OIA – 50 miles round trip. (I also have a route where I drive half way to Maitland and ride in from there for a 30-mile RT commute.) The thought of hauling 25 pounds of gear on my 25-lb. commuter bike in a torrential downpour and being so far from home just isn’t appealing. And yes, I have fenders on my bike.

So every day I’d check the hour-by-hour report on weather.com for area codes 32708 and 32822. Darn, there’s a 30% chance of scattered showers at OIA. Looks like I can’t ride today.

Even if there were a drought alert, I’d find a reason not to ride to work. Too hot. Too windy. Don’t feel like starting out at o’dark:30 so I can get to the office in enough time to shower and hit the ground running by 8:30 a.m.

Here’s the truth: I’d rather walk across hot coals than persevere some of the roads I had chosen for my commute.

There’s one stretch of road that I really dread: Southbound Conway Road from Anderson to Michigan. This is a 4-lane section of road that receives waves of rush hour traffic from the 408 but minimal traffic from area neighborhoods. But it’s a stretch of road that seems to attract NASCAR wannabees — landscape crews who forget they’re towing lawn equipment behind their company truck and impatient Bubbas living out a dream with their jacked up Ford F-350 Diesel 4×4 XLTs. They’ve got some place to be IN A HURRY and they let me know their displeasure with me taking the lane by revving their engines and coming up from behind quickly and laying on the horn. (I used to say that if I had a dollar for every time I was hocked at for taking the lane or told to get on the sidewalk, I could retire. But that was before the recent 700 billion financial bailout.)

Problem solved.

By leaving Maitland an hour later (8 AM vs. 7 AM) and eliminating Conway Road from my route, I had the most glorious ride to and from work today.

Here’s the route.

As a result of the later start, I did encounter busy school zones and extra traffic on Lakemont Ave. and in Baldwin Park. I know now to ride around those areas at that hour. But once I reached Maguire, it was smooth sailing all the way to Anderson. I proceeded straight on Crystal Lake Drive and had only one car pass me between Anderson and Curry Ford! Traffic was also amazingly light on Southbound Semoran. In fact, I usually have to make a box turn at the light on Semoran at Hazeltine in order to enter into the Lee Vista Center Office complex. Today, I was first in line in the left turn lane onto Hazeltine!

I logged 30 very enjoyable miles today, enjoying every minute of the incredible fall weather. Tomorrow, I’m riding to work from home – 50 miles round trip – and looking forward to every minute of it.

3 replies
  1. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Have you considered Goldenrod? I know it’s high-speed, but it also has 14-foot curb lanes the entire length (and bike lanes south of Narcoosee Rd.; Conway has 11-foot lanes.) It would be a lot less stop&go.

  2. LisaB
    LisaB says:

    Funny you mention Goldenrod. I rode from home (Tuscawilla) today, hopping onto the trail at Tuscawilla Rd. When I got to Goldenrod, I considered — for about a nano second — heading South on Goldenrod. But the thought of cars whizzing by me at high speed for miles just isn’t appealing first thing in the morning.

  3. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Lisa:
    You’re an ideal candidate for an e-bike conversion. There are a number of conversion kits out there. Imagine being able to cruise at 25 MPH on your commute…

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