When I originally started bike commuting, I’m glad the weather was better than it has been for the past couple of weeks. I might not have kept riding. Not only has the weather been bad, but traffic also seems to be on the uptick on some of the back roads in Howard. I’m hoping it’s just a statistical aberration. I will say that things seemed a little better today than on Monday or Tuesday. But suffice it to say that it’s been hard to stay motivated to ride recently. The weather is finally supposed to improve by Friday, so I hope to get one nice-weather ride in before I leave on a 4-day business trip Monday. Maybe when I get back, it’ll finally be Fall.
One great development has come out of my riding this week. I found a way to avoid my least favorite part of my afternoon ride home, namely, the very end, where I have to cross Montgomery Rd. twice. Normally, I come up Lawyers Hill Rd., make a left onto Montgomery at the light, and then another left into my driveway. On most roads, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but Montgomery at rush hour is just a clusterf***, and it seems to be getting worse over time. There’s also a bend just past where I need to turn into my driveway, leaving me with a short sight distance. Put all that together, and you can see why I dread the last little bit of my ride home. Some days it’s not bad, but on others I feel like I’m playing a real-life game of Frogger.
Anyhow, yesterday I found an alternate route. I’ll prefix this by saying that this route is not going to be useful for 99% of riders. Most people are going to want to take Lawyers Hill to Montgomery and then turn left or right at the light. It’s not too bad making a left here. My alternate is really only useful if you need to make another left off Montgomery (across traffic) before you get to the Elementary School. That’s what I do every day, and that’s the part that sucks. The route also requires you to cut through school property, which may be frowned upon in certain circles. All that being said, here’s the route:
Coming up Lawyers Hill Rd., make a left onto Summer Home Terrace. Ride up the hill and take the second right onto Latchlift Ct. Follow this for a couple hundred feet, and look for a narrow paved trail on the right heading into the woods. Turn right onto this trail. Follow the trail through the woods and onto school property. Proceed straight on the trail up a short, steep hill, towards the playground equipment. Ride past the playground and bear left onto the access road behind the elementary school building. Follow the access road around the building, and exit onto the parking lot. Ride through the lot and out the school entrance road (Timberlee Rd.) to Montgomery Rd. Turn right onto Montgomery.
This is an extremely nice shortcut for me, because it turns my two left turns on Montgomery into right turns. I no longer have to cross traffic, and I have a better view of oncoming traffic while turning onto Montgomery. I’m sure I’ll be coming this way whenever possible.