New Month, New Routes

I rode 16 times in May 2012.  We’re now into June.  After an exceptionally warm winter and early spring, June has started off with a spell of cool weather.  I’ve actually ridden with long sleeves on two mornings this week, which is almost unheard of in June.  It’s not ideal weather for enjoying our newly-replastered swimming pool, but it’s been great (albeit a bit wet) weather for biking.  And given how rare it is to get cool weather this time of year, you’re not going to hear me complaining.

After 4-odd years of riding essentially the same route home every day (from UMBC to Elkridge), I’m starting to look for some alternative ways to get home.  My primary motivation is to find routes with less traffic, but there’s also a desire to shake things up a bit.  My one requirement for a ride home is that it not take me more than 45 minutes.  I’m not interested in taking long rides home in the afternoon — I just want to get home, eat dinner, and enjoy the evening.  I also strongly prefer routes that don’t require me to get off the bike.  If the route is 100% roads, this is not usually an issue.  But to avoid traffic, sometimes I’ll consider cutting through an area that doesn’t carry vehicles.  That might mean brief detours onto sidewalks, curbs, fire roads, etc.  If I have to hop a couple of curbs, it’s not going to be a show stopper, but it won’t work if I have to walk the bike a significant distance.

My “usual” daily ride home takes me through Arbutus via Shelbourne Rd. and Poplar Ave., right on Sulphur Spring Rd., left on Selford Rd., right on Francis Ave., Left on S Rolling Rd., into Patapsco State Park via South St., out of the park via River Rd., and up Lawyers Hill Rd.  Total distance is roughly 8 miles.  There’s a reason I’ve stuck with this route for so long:   it works.  It’s quick, not too hilly, and the traffic is not too bad.  If I could skip one section, it’d be Sulphur Spring Road, because it’s very narrow and traffic can get heavy there.

I’m working on refining two alternate routes from UMBC to Elkridge.  One takes a different route through Arbutus, which skips out on a lot of traffic at the expense of a few more hills; the other bypasses Arbutus, Halethorpe and Relay entirely, by going into Patapsco State Park via Foxhall Farm Rd. in Catonsville.  This route requires riding a short distance on an unpaved fire road, and the beginning of the ride leaves a bit to be desired, traffic-wise.  Over the next few days, I’ll post in greater detail about both routes.