The 2.6 mile ride from my apartment in Northeast to campus takes me 20 minutes on a good day. Add an extra five to 10 minutes when it’s raining. After attaching my panniers, which are stuffed to capacity with everything I’ll need for the day, I head west on Broadway past the car dealerships, checking out the progress of the new streetcar line.
Crossing the Broadway Bridge, I slow down, looking right and then left, taking in the panoramic view of the city. Faster cyclists whiz past me dinging their bells or calling out, “On your left!” Now that I’m on the other side of the bridge, I pick up speed and race past Union Station, and if I time it right, all the way to Burnside without stopping. Now I am extra alert. I’ve had several close calls at this intersection.
This is the most challenging leg of the ride. Downtown is a roller coaster of hills and an obstacle course of car doors, potholes and pedestrians. I talk out loud to the cars around me; “Do you see me? Are you going to stop?” I spin uphill to the intersection of SW Broadway and Jefferson; I am panting and sweating profusely. Only one more hill to go before I’m there. The construction in front of Lincoln Hall forces me out into the traffic lane, where cars are not always happy to accommodate my presence. Outside of Cramer Hall, I lock up. I made it.
What’s your commute to campus like, road warriors?