Monday, June 29

Steve's Commute Route

First things first - my overall commute route takes me from Colleyville to Alliance Airport. It's got a lot of different conditions that illustrate the finer and the less fine aspects of bicycle commuting. But first, here's the entire route, at least as close as I can make it on Google Maps.I'll refer back to this post when I talk about things like "the freight train workaround" and "failsafe turning."

View Larger Map
You'll note that some parts of it look somewhat like a maze, but most of them represent the quickest and shortest option.

Just a few notes, warts & all:
I actually take Bear Run and the MUP from there to reconnect with Bear Creek. Shorter & cooler, though it has wooden bridge decks that are slippery when wet.

I unapologetically cut through the Colleyville PD overflow parking lot (you'd have to see it to understand) to take Church Street over to Pleasant Run (the street's been realigned & Google is wrong)

Only in the morning, I cut through the Walmart parking lot (it actually shows as a road on Google Maps). There's not much action there at 6:30AM and it allows me to bypass two slow traffic lights that are difficult to trigger on the best of days. A word of warning here - parking lots are not ususally a smart move for people or machinery, but hold your tongues until I explore the rare exceptions in a future post. I'll also post experiments you can run yourself if you're from the "trust but verify" school of cycling.

Route home is slightly different to take advantage of traffic patterns. For example, I turn from Katy to Keller Hicks and then south on Hwy 377. This lets me get across 1709 easily and quickly, with few conflicts and no sluggy cars slowing me down. I also shoot home down Hall Johnson - it's four lanes and signals are much more pleasant than the narrow Glade or Cheek Sparger, and their clogged up four way stops. I also go up Westport to Old Denton Road. Alliance Gateway Fwy doesn't work well for the trip home.


ChipSeal said...

Wow! I am interested to hear more about this.

Some of us are interested in the particulars you didn't add- Mileage, shortest route mileage, mileage reflected by differences in morning and evening commute, how long does it take, how much time do allow for flats and cool-down. Things like that!

At the first, three years ago, I shortened my commute through a Wal-Mart parking lot. It was the most dangerous part of the trip. I stopped doing it about four months into my new car-free lifestyle when I was having more fun playing in traffic and going out of my way for longer commutes!

It sounds to me that you are thoughtfully strategic in how you are going about the "short-cut", and I trust your judgment.

As my cycling skills returned, and I became more confident in my place in traffic, I slowly dropped residential streets off my commute route as well. I now think that they are more hazardous than arterials, but part of that is because I am a "high-speed" cyclist. (Between fifteen and twenty MPH, mostly closer to fifteen though!)(I am flattered that Keri imagines me to be faster, but for once she has made a bad calculation!)

Thanks for a peek into your world, and I don't think we will be as harsh in our opinions as you suppose!

Steve A said...

This will take a number of posts to unfold. I've kept fairly close track on the development of this commute, including the use of internet mapping tools. Parking lots are one of those overused kinds of things that are really BAD 90% of the time. As you note, residential streets can also be deceptive. Stay tuned for "Experimental Cycling" and "Parking Lots - Cyclist Roach Motels"

Doohickie said...

I commonly use two parking lots on my commute. Yeah, maybe someday I'll be confident enough to use the street in these places, but I feel safer doing the parking lots for now.

One is very close to my house. It gets me around a very busy intersection and dumps out in an area where traffic is far less intense. In the morning there is virtually no traffic; in the evening I tend to stay out near the road and away from the stores for most of the parking lot so I don't have to worry about cars backing out, etc.

The other lot helps me avoid a freeway access road that can be pretty hairy. I'm using that one less often because I've found different routes to work that avoid having to go anywhere near there.

I do find myself using busier roads more often. I just put a mirror on my helmet yesterday and that seems to help my confidence out with the cars.

Balaam said...

Steve, this is your commute route? I am impressed. I am beyond impressed. When you die, my legs have asked that you leave me your legs.
Mike Nichols

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