Wednesday, October 12

The Psychology of the Recreational Commute

I've called it the "mountain bike commute" the "prairie bike commute" and the "recreational commute."

Home is Point A. Work is Point B. The recreational, mountain bike, or prairie bike commute does NOT take a direct line between the two points.

Now why, Dear Reader, would a cyclo-blogger not take the most direct line between home and work, work and home? Well, like I say so very often: "too much work, not enough commute," and "love my commute, wish it were my job," and as I often text my wife after I reach the office: "Made it. Unfortunately."

When the weather, daylight savings time and my schedule fall into perfect alignment I like to deviate from the norm and step outside the line between Point A and Point B.

You may have noticed that I vary my normal commutes as well. I have four variations on my "normal" commutes. Basically I have two routes that make a sort of figure 8.

South Table Mountain is within the larger loop to the southwest. So you can see why it is such a tempting diversion when perched on knobby tires.

Sometimes I vary my commute out of boredom, sometimes I choose a combination because of weather or traffic. Sometimes I take the shortest route because I'm running late.
This has been a normal occurence for me since I've been in Colorado. Back when I was training for the Triple Bypass I did a lot of long rides before work. Though many of those rides involved the car once I gave up the car (after the TBP) I looked for routes I could hit between home and work. One time I rode 50 miles before work.

When we lived in Denver I once rode from our apartment there to the summit of Genesee Mountain and then back to work. I used to ride through Bear Creek Lake Park when we lived in Lakewood. I also rode through Red Rocks and mountain biked over Green Mountain. I have ridden Lookout Mountain before work. And a couple of times I rode Lookout Mtn on my mountain bike and descended Chimney Gulch and Apex Gulch. And of course recently I've been grinding down the mesas, North and South Table Mountains.

There are practical limits to what you can pull off on a recreational commute. And I know some people would avoid doing it for fear of injuring themselves or being late. I don't do anything crazy on non-commute rides, so there's really nothing different about mountain bike commutes and just mountain bike rides. As far as being on time, sometimes I let my boss know I might be late and just work a little later to make up the hours, other times I leave extra-early and make sure I have enough time to get to work on time.

It's satisfying to roll into work, dusty, tired and my mind blasted clean of any extraneous baggage.

I blog of this now, Oh Readers, because the days of the pre- or post-work fun rides are fading fast. Daylight is becoming a scarce commodity. Last night I left work and the sun was only a few degrees above the foothills. By the time I got home the sun had set. Soon I will be riding in the dark.

That first all daylight commute of the year, way back in the spring, was like a holiday for me, the perpetual commuter. The all-daylight season is almost over. The Laser will be burning bright so very soon.

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