Where did you ride last week? Das Commute Edition
As much as I wish all of my rides were "epic" in some capacity, the truth is that many of my miles are at the bookends of my working day in Williston Village, riding between there and my home in the heart of South Burlington.
At its shortest, it's about five and a half miles. There's a six-mile version that can take advantage of some off-street multi-use paths, but it's not quite as quick and I'm not usually one to have lots of extra time in my day. The commute looks like this on a map:
That's what I do 99% of the time. I sometimes find myself looking to sneak in a few more miles and a bit more climbing. Other than the slightly-different six-mile route, which has no real "bang for the buck,", the next connections to the north and south of my regular grind look like this:
and like this:
These routes clock in at 9.5 and 9.1 miles, respectively. Each can be accomplished in around 40 minutes instead of the usual 25 minutes I budget for the trip home. If I hustle getting out of the office, there's little impact on the schedule of dinner, music practice, bath, story, bedtime.
That's important. My son is going to be seven in September. I once heard somebody say "you only get 18 summers," and when the realization hits that you've used a third of them already, boy it puts things in perspective. I don't know how guys with kids put in big rides or huge training schedules, but I know it's just not in the time budget for me. What I have time for is to add a few miles here and there, to push hard up a hill or sprint when I don't really have to, to try to weave bicycle use into my everyday routine.
The northern route gets me a touch of dirt on River Cove Road. I will say that, unlike most dirt roads in Vermont, River Cove never really smooths out over the summer. There's a bunch of crushed stone in the surface that just won't pack in. On the south side, It's a grunt up Oak Hill Road from the Village, a heart-stopping descent down Walker Hill, and another (short but tough) grunt up Van Sicklen. Both of these options tend to offer lighter traffic and better shoulders than the "get 'er done" route I ride most frequently.
Next time, I'll take a look at some of the slightly longer routes that get you out onto some sweet dirt roads and still get you home from my office by supper.