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Sometimes I Get a Little Jealous…

November 2014
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I read quite a few cycling blogs written by people who cycle in some beautiful places and while I do get to take some pretty great vacations in which I get plenty of time to ride, the roads I travel on a regular basis can’t be described as anything more than boring.  It’s pretty much corn fields and the occasional town.  There are no grand wharfs or cityscapes, no mountains in the distance…

A perfect example of one of the nicer places I’m talking about can be found at PedalWORKS.  On one hand, I can’t help but think riding around in that setting would be awesome…  Enough that every now and again I am a little bit envious.  How cool would it be to head out the driveway to hit the Smokey Mountains for a daily training ride?  How awesome would it be to ride regularly in a city like Vancouver (or even Grand Rapids for that matter)?

Well, this is about as good as it gets where I ride…

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There is another side to the equation though, a trade-off.  On the other hand, where I ride there isn’t a lot of traffic.  We can crank out any one of dozens of 50 to 80 mile routes on a Sunday morning and only see a dozen or two cars the whole time and they rarely have to wait to pass.  It’s not perfect of course, we’re still dealing with traffic on traffic’s terms, but if you have to be on the road (and I most definitely do), I do consider myself quite lucky in that regard.

Another bummer about southeastern Michigan is that it’s flat.  We’ve got a few 100 mile routes with a cumulative elevation gain below 2,000 feet (700 meters).  For someone who likes to climb it’s almost depressing.  I have to ride 20 miles just to get to a decent grade that takes more than a minute to climb – and that’s still just a hill.

In the end, my thoughts on where I ride being inadequate are rare and fleeting.  It stings for a second and then I remember that it could be worse, at least I can ride.  In the end, at least for me, I keep from getting bored by concentrating on the workout or the people I ride with rather than the scenery.  The truth is, my hometown has pluses and minuses when it comes to cycling as I’m sure most places do.  As with so many things in life, if I want to focus on what I don’t have I can be bored and dissatisfied.  Or I can focus on what is good about where I ride and save the scenery for vacations, where I can enjoy it a little bit more.


19 Comments

  1. bigtosh90 says:

    I have to admit to being very lucky with where I live although sometimes I’m not as appreciative as I should be and take it for granted however I do thoroughly believe that as long as you can ride outdoors then it doesn’t really matter where it is. When we have our occasional snowfall I get really down at being stuck in or even worse the prospect of the dreaded turbo trainer.

  2. PedalWORKS says:

    The important thing is to get on the bike. You do that. And, enjoy it. Ocean views and and a mild climate are a plus but not a necessity. I’d be on a bike no matter where I live.

  3. Frank Burns says:

    I taught in a High School in Livonia for two months, rode a bike every day, but I can’t say they were ideal conditions. Suburban location, lots of traffic, and not much of a cycling culture or infrastructure.
    But I do remember stopping at some lights, and a guy in a truck shouted “Hey, how many gas-miles d’yuh get from that thing?”. I said “Oh, about 3000 to the gallon”. “Hey, can we do a swap…..?”
    And before I could clinch the deal, he was gone…….!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Livonia is some TOUGH riding… Too congested. Brighton is directly west of Livonia (Novi, Walled Lake, Milford, Brighton)… Head north, passed Hartland and Fenton and that’s where I live. Much more open.

  4. At least on the flat you can maintain some pretty impressive average speeds (and I’ll admit to being a bit of an average speed junkie at times). I’m lucky enough to have plenty of flat, quiet country roads around me, but still only be an hour’s ride from the Surrey Hills in one direction and the Children Hills in another!

  5. Sue Slaght says:

    We are lucky to have the variety here Jim being so close to the mountains, however we definitely have traffic.

  6. adarling575 says:

    Much better than where I am! Central London – impossible to cycle more than 10 mins without a traffic light, loadsa traffic, and a 30min cycle to the countryside! Count your blessings, I’m jealous of your rides!! 🙂

  7. I try not to take the beautiful SF scenery for granted!

  8. cyardin says:

    I would give my left arm for some straight long flat roads some days. Sydney has some beautiful riding (once you get out of the traffic), but there is nothing that you would ever call flat. I am not a climber, so when I go down to Melbourne to visit my brother and we ride I enjoy a 100km ride of flat out speed. The grass is always greener though, and being on the bike is just as enjoyable if you are safe and can put some kms down.

  9. Shall I stop posting photos to help keep the little green god down?

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