The Mountain Bike Life

Summer continues an unprecedented multi-week trend here on the Pacific coast, and now that we’ve adjusted to seeing the big burning ball of gas in the sky every day and experiencing sleeve-averse temperatures, it’s time to up a few summer activities.

This weekend included summer drinks (blackberry mojitos, anyone?); barbecuing with friends; and a Sunday road trip that included a local distillery, winery, antique shop and farmer’s market. It was a weekend of summery fun, but none of it really did a lot to move my supposed summer fitness plan forward. In fact, due to a number of circumstances excuses, after two weeks I have really accomplished nothing. Okay, I’ve had a couple bike rides and a couple walks, but nothing like what I said I was going to do. And definitely not the results I wanted to accomplish.

There’s nothing better in the summer than sitting by a vineyard … 

Couple all of that, the still glaring need to get in better shape, and a sudden local jump in gas prices (ten centre per litre in a weekend? it’s outrageous), and the times has finally come … today is my first day riding my commuter to work. I love riding my commuter. We have a fabulous sixty kilometre-long paved regional bike trail half a block from our house that runs in all directions to lakes, the ocean,  downtown or whatever else your heart desires. Our multiple local governments have been working to make roads more bicycle friendly, and Rivers and I have enjoyed exploring low traffic parts of town.

… unless it’s sitting with my sweetheart beside a summery vineyard … 

But I have had a brain-block when it comes to riding my commuter bike to work. Having recently realised how out of proportion my fear was of getting back on my mountain bike, I’m sure this fear will prove much the same. I can take the regional trail for the majority of my route. But the 5-6 block stretch from the trail to my office is intimidating. The most direct road feels narrow even in the car. The rare cyclists I do see along that stretch impede the flow of traffic and drivers do little to make it safe for everyone. I don’t want to play that game. It’s busy, hectic, and just generally scary. It seems easier to say that I’ll ride other times rather than ride in that traffic. Except that really isn’t happening – I am not finding/making time to ride more frequently.

… and sharing a charcuterie plate with local cheeses and berries, and a cool crisp glass of Viognier. 

Luckily, someone recently told me that Google maps has added bike routes to the maps of our city. They don’t happen to work on my iPhone (#FirstWorldProblem), but tonight I spent some time looking at what Google recommends, making adjustments based on my own preference to maximize time on the trail, avoiding the major ‘unfriendly’ arterial, and stopping in at my favourite local coffee shop.

For those who want to play along on the home game, here’s my route. It’s not long, and should only take me 25-30 minutes. I just hope I don’t get lost in the change over from the trail to the street traffic … that might all depend on what looks like it makes sense at the time. Fingers crossed – if you don’t hear from me again, I guess you’ll know why. 🙂

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