I’ve been experimenting with a couple of different cycling routes to work recently. As I commute more and more, I realise that each has its own imperfections and annoyances.
The fastest route is on main roads all the way. This is the terrain that my ‘road’ bike is in its element in. It’s a fairly good route when I’m heading in at 05:00 or home at 22:00 and the traffic is very light but not perfect. I’m still wary of being on main roads and therefore ensuring that I’m seen by fairly fast moving traffic. And when I’m heading either in to work or home at 14:00 it becomes a pain. One particular part of the ride is a bottleneck for traffic and it’s awkward riding through having to continually clip in and out of the pedals. Not enjoyable.
So I have a variation of the route for the 14:00 rides that is quieter and avoids some of the bottleneck. But it does involve running the gauntlet of a particularly busy roundabout on a dual carriageway and a couple of other awkward junctions. Again not perfect.
I’ve experimented further with a quite different much quieter route in terms of traffic. The problem is that this route involves a few junctions and obstacles that are awkward on a road bike. Far more pleasant in terms of traffic but annoying in terms of speed.
To top it off, pretty much whichever way I go to work requires travelling over a steep footbridge which is the only way to access work without a long detour through a housing estate. In road cycling shoes that isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
It’s amazing how much more thought needs to go into a cycling route than just driving!