The Easy Way

Monday evening I rode to College Park for dinner. The green line is the route I took by bike. The Orange line is the route I would take by car. Both are 3.65 miles. The bike route has 5 traffic lights (not including Edgewater and Winter Park). The car route has 14. I haven’t timed it with either vehicle, but I suspect both would be pretty close.

I can say with certainty, I would find the car trip unenjoyable, and probably frustrating. The bike trip, on the other hand, is quite pleasant.

On my way to College Park, a little after 6PM, I had 5 motorist interactions: one driver let me turn right onto Bumby Ave and enter the queue for the light at Corrine Dr; another driver waited patiently for a few seconds and passed politely on Lake Shore Dr; another waited patiently for a longer stretch while I navigated the pitted pavement in front of OMA on Rollins St and then passed me courteously; another waited behind me while I stopped to let a pedestrian cross in the crosswalk at Florida Hospital, then stayed behind me til he entered the left turn lane at Orange Ave; and one more passed me easily and politely on Winter Park St.

On the way home, I had not a single motorist interaction. None. I rode 3.65 miles without being passed by anyone. It was kinda lonely.

19 replies
  1. NE2
    NE2 says:

    “On the way home, I had not a single motorist interaction.” Sidepath advocates will spin this to mean that a sidepath would have been just as safe 🙂

  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    You have hit on one of the key reasons I ride instead of driving: Driving is frustrating.

    I find I like myself far better as a cyclist than as a driver. It is far too easy for me to fall prey to the Walker/Wheeler transformation as shown in the Disney short “Motor Mania” (easily found on youtube). As a driver of a car, I find myself short-tempered (with other motorists, at least–somehow, I’m happy to wait for cyclists, but have little patience for motorists who are not paying attention to their surroundings).

  3. Eric
    Eric says:

    I take Winter Park Street over to Edgewater all the time driving or cycling. Please use caution on Rollins around Florida Hospital. Too many people, working too many hours and not getting enough rest are late to work.

    • Keri
      Keri says:


      That’s a busy area. It used to be a regular commute route for me and I still use it whenever I go to the north end of college park. It’s definitely important to be relevant (ride big) and alert. Lots of potential for crossing crashes there.

  4. Rick
    Rick says:

    I commute everyday from the Lake Como area to Florida Hospital every day. Most days I too get passed from 5-10 cars. It is rare to get honked at. It is kind of funny when a fellow employee honks or yells at me. They don’t recognize me in helmet and glasses…

  5. cliff
    cliff says:

    Is there a problem with taking the green route by car?
    If not, then how can you fairly compare the two routes?

    • Eric
      Eric says:

      You raise an interesting point which needs to have a new post. In the middle ’70’s — early ’80’s, cities around here went about designating and signing “Bicycle Routes” which were streets that didn’t have much traffic.

      I thought it was a wonderful idea and it didn’t cost much money. But then things changed. Suddenly, only segregation would do. Anything else was a “sell out.”

      In fact, Winter Park Street is still signed as a bicycle route.

      • cliff
        cliff says:

        Are you saying that the reason that the green route is
        more cyclist friendly then the orange route is because
        of a few “bicycle route” signs? If so, then why spend
        money on bike lanes and cycle tracks?

        • NE2
          NE2 says:

          I think he’s saying that the signs were put up because the green route is more pleasant for cycling.

      • NE2
        NE2 says:

        “cities around here went about designating and signing “Bicycle Routes” which were streets that didn’t have much traffic.”
        Then they started bricking those streets 🙁

    • NE2
      NE2 says:

      This is a good question. I’d guess that the green route has worse sight lines at intersections, making it harder to see traffic coming from other directions when inside a car. Cars are also less maneuverable when crossing Orange and Corrine.

      • Keri
        Keri says:

        The green route is not a natural choice for one driving a car.

        Until I checked the mileage, even I assumed it was longer. It doesn’t seem as direct because of all the turns. Though it is really just as direct when seen on a map, all the little turns make it seem more meandering. That’s not off-putting to me on a bike because I don’t care to go fast, I’m riding a bike because I want to enjoy the journey. It’s a really lovely route, the quality of which is largely missed from a car.

        It also feels longer in a car because the speed limits are lower, some of the roads are very narrow and there is traffic calming. The other route has much longer delays with all the traffic lights, but the perception of directness and higher speed limits naturally entice a person to go that way by car unless there is an unusual, significant traffic jam that makes them look for an alternate.

        Most motorists aren’t tuned in to how many traffic lights there are on the major routes, or even how much actual delay time they account for (This is why a motorist can lose 5 minutes per trip to traffic light delay but come unglued at having to wait 10 seconds to pass a cyclist).

        And a significant number of motorists don’t know all the secret routes because they never leave the arterial roads. I’ve taken people on bike rides and shown them roads and parks and sights they never knew existed because they’d only driven a car on major roads.

        • NE2
          NE2 says:

          Could you try the green route by car to see how long it takes?

          Of course if everyone decided to drive the green route (a) it would no longer be nearly as fast because of oncoming traffic and (b) residents would get slowing devices installed.

  6. cliff
    cliff says:

    I think my first point was missed. Why was the trip better?
    Was it because it was done by bike OR because it was a different
    route? To be fair a bike trip is needed on the orange route and
    a car trip is needed on the green route.

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      I suspect it was better for both reasons. It was done on a bike, AND it was done on a route that is far more aesthetically pleasing while not adding significant distance to the trip.

  7. Zach
    Zach says:

    This is really a fantastic route and one I switched over to about five months ago. One of the cool things is if I have time to kill, I can ride around Lake Sue/Estelle for a more scenic adventure. It is usually the route I take when getting to Audobon/Cady Way/etc. Only downsides are the HORRIBLE train tracks, and the roughness on Lakeside, Merritt Park, and the left onto Winter Park from Orange.

Comments are closed.