Catonsville Route Tweak

Today was my last day at the office, and my last bike commute, until November 15.  Lest I go into serious withdrawal, I’m going to try to work a couple of recreational rides in over the next couple of weeks.  Come the 15th, my afternoon rides will be in the dark again, so I’ll need to remember to load my bike up with even more flashers than it’s already sporting.

I switched back to the road bike today and rode out Landing Rd., down Beechwood and Bonnie Branch Rds. and then out to Oella Ave. via River and Frederick Rds.  I tried an alternate route to get from Catonsville to UMBC, and it looks like a winner.  In the past, starting at the intersection of Mellor Ave and Bloomsbury Ave., I would go straight onto Hilltop Rd.  Then at the Valley Rd. 4-way stop, I would either continue straight and go into UMBC via the Wilkens Ave. traffic circle, or turn left on Valley, right on Wilkens, and left on Walker.  I always hated taking Hilltop because of the terrain, traffic, and nonexistent shoulder.  Last time I rode it, I noticed another biker cutting through Spring Grove, and I figured I’d give it a shot.  From Mellor, I turned left on Bloomsbury, then right on Asylum and into Spring Grove.  The roads in Spring Grove can be confusing to navigate, but I just kept bearing right and ended up coming out the entrance onto Valley Rd.  I made a left on Valley and then right on Wilkens, and left on Walker.  It was much, much, much nicer than taking Hilltop, so much so that it may inspire me to come in through Catonsville more often.  The only real downer to this route is crossing Bloomsbury at Mellor Ave., where you can’t see very far either to the left or the right.  I’ve always thought there should be a 4-way stop there.  I have a couple ideas for ways to avoid this intersection, which I’ll try out and report back on soon.