Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Puttin’ down routes

I like busy bike paths. I like them because I love to see people getting exercise and using bikes as transportation. And I’ve written on this blog about the fun of seeing other bike commuters on a regular basis, wondering about their stories and missing them when they disappear, even if we’ve never spoken a word to one another.

But this year, I detoured from my usual route for a few weeks during the spring thaw. I abandoned the popular Chester Creek trail, which is heavily wooded and tends to stay icy longer than some other options. I put together a series of paved paths and on-street bike lanes that makes for a nice commute between my home in the university area and my office downtown. Few other bike commuters seem to use any part of this route, but I've largely stuck with it.

Maybe it’s unpopular because it passes through Mountain View, a part of town that some people call “the Hood.” One old co-worker used to call it “Murder View.” That’s a bit harsh, but point taken: It’s not the most desirable part of Anchorage. When I see someone else on a bicycle there, it’s probably because it's his only option.

But for some reason, I like my funky new route. And I enjoy having it to myself. No one in Mountain View has ever hassled me, and the Ship Creek trail is a great path through woods, industrial zones, and over the railroad tracks. 

I’m more likely to see a moose or beaver than another bike commuter, so I’m free to lose myself in a podcast without any responsibility for smiling, waving or passing other riders. 

A morning commute that’s devoid of social interaction. For a guy who’s not a “morning person,” that’s a pretty sweet deal.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

The Ship Creek Trail is almost like a prized secret. Commuting from Eagle River to downtown, I always take the SCT. I see way more tourists walking on the trail than locals biking it. One of these days, when they connect the Coastal Trail and the Glenn Highway Trail to the SCT, I bet it will have a lot more traffic.