Route planning

One thing I hadn’t counted on when I started this bicycle obsession was how much planning has to go into the routes I take. It’s not particularly arduous, and I suppose it’s something I’ll pick up as I cycle more and learn what there is out there, but it’s still an interesting an unexpected development.

I’ve downloaded the maps of all my usual haunts, and there’s a considerable amount of infrastructure about the place. The problem is it’s all rather bitty and disconnected, and without actually being there there’s no telling to what extent the reality matches the map.

My road, for example, has cycle lanes down both sides at points. That doesn’t mean these lanes are useable though, as some are filled with parked cars and others are positioned so that one undulates up and down for every dropped kerb and drive. One part doesn’t even have a dropped kerb to let you get from one section to another. Larges masses of decomposing leaves at this (beautiful) time of year are another sticky problem.

Then there’s the much more visceral problem of negotiating junctions, something I am not used to. Or at least, I haven’t done it much in the last 15 years, and traffic has increased significantly since then. So an added dimension of my plans is to work out which junctions I’m happy to pass through and which are worth a detour to avoid. Also any loops I circumnavigate tend to be anti-clockwise to minimise right turns. If that sound weird to you that’s probably because you drive on the other side of the road to the UK.

This weekend I think I’ll have a go at a loop down Fairway, past Alstom and under the railway, past the cows and along the canal to Baswich, then back across the new bridge they put in recently back to Tixall Road. Should be a nice ride, and just far enough to push me a little further as I improve my fitness. It might be an idea to get a computer to track how far I’m going, so I get a measurable indication of progress.

the days of me fleet-footedly negotiating busy roads with breathtaking dexterity as I pop into town will just have to wait until I’ve got a little more confidence and fully familiarised myself with the bike’s capabilities… And until the leaves have gone.

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