Biking On the Road is all the Rage

I didn’t have the best friday and I needed a diversion that wasn’t food or drink to bring me back to earth.  I really have been striving to find balance in my life as far as my health, stress level & recreational time.

After talking to some friends I heard about the Cross Seminole Trail head being just down the road from us.  I did some research online but found scant resources in my precursery search.  The most informational being: this and this. I actually used a different map then the latter which I can no longer find.

Either way we hydrated, put on sun block and hit the trail.

First 4.5 miles were great.  The trail was awesome and I was mad at myself for not doing this more.  In Pittsburgh, as a child, I used to ride ALL the time.

Uhohs

Then we hit the end of the trail. Uhoh.  This was supposed to go for 20 miles, of which we planned only to do 10.  All the informative end of trail sign said was “Use side walk”.   Which does not sound like good advice anyway since there was a bike lane on the road…  I guess for families that is good.

So as a conscious effort to follow the rules of the law we rode in the bike lane. And rode. And rode.  No trail reentry.

Finally we decided to cut our loses and ride back home by making a loop past UCF.  Which meant riding on University Blvd.  A road with no bike lane.  And as we found out a lot of ignorant drivers despite being near to a major University which should have lots of student bicycle traffic.  No wonder students are afraid to ride there.

We work off of University Blvd. and have been anxious to get some practice riding in the road on it, as we are by law supposed to. Plus, riding in the the road forces the cars to notice you rather then the side walk where distracted drivers have been known to turn and hit bikers. This being a Saturday with no traffic we felt it would be optimum practice.

First of all I know riding in the road is the best. But it did not feel safe. Despite no traffic angry drivers constantly cut it close, honked, yelled & pointed at the sidewalk.  Yes. We get it.  We are not blind.  We see the sidewalk. One car got really close to Austin.  We rode taking up the right lane as to ensure that drivers would not try to cut it close.  But they did.  In the 4 mile stretch we had at least 2 close encounters and 7 angry honks. One from a mail man!  Slowest vehicle on the road…

Why does the right thing feel wrong?  Other people.

I have mixed feelings about this experience.

I already know biking to work is hard for me as much as I want to do it as I only live 5 miles away.  1.  I’m not good at getting up early, as biking doesn’t take long but getting there with time to shower is hard. 2. University Blvd is just not bike friendly and its just a damn shame.  On all the roads there were bike lanes it was awesome and I felt fine but University Blvd was hell.

I feel like a chicken but though I plan on biking more I may just always ensure I take a trail or a road with bike lanes.  With some research I figured out that google maps has a bike trail view (bike button at the top of the directions) and I saw that we were supposed to veer onto a certain road to catch the trail again… Thanks for the signs, County.

I feel riding in the road was correct. By law and as I vehicle I had every right.  But with the angriness and the close calls it was just not a relaxing experience.

Austin and I will be taking a road biking course hopefully soon so perhaps that will change my mind.  I just wish I had the time to lobby for… or for the government to… put more money into bike commuting, bike lanes and educating the public about sharing lanes with bikers.  I feel UCF also is missing out but not pushing for a more bike friendly campus/locale.

I’m proud of myself though!  I almost gave up as one point but I kept on going and ended up biking 18.6 miles!  Pretty darn good I do think so… 🙂

Our Path: http://tinyurl.com/2dyjgzf

I guess my message is take bike lanes/trails as much as possible.  But do your research as far as your options.  And go out of your way to find safe roads if you do not live in a bike friendly area.

But if you are stuck on a road with no lane.  Own that lane with no apologies.  No matter how much they honk.  It’s safe and you have every right.

Honk – S

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