Say hello to my beautiful cherry red Trek Elantra. It's fairly new to me; I just purchased it 2 months ago at the Tonka bike garage sale. I fell in love with it after just a couple rides. My previous bike was a hybrid, and converting to a road bike with skinny tires has increased my speed and cut my commute by 10-15 minutes. Oh, and did I mention that red is my favorite color? It was kismet.
My commute is 8.5 miles from Lowertown St. Paul to Northeast Minneapolis. Let me tell you, they call it Lowertown for a reason. The first mile of my commute is all uphill, straight up the steep Jackson Street and then another quick hill up Valley Street. At the crest, I turn onto Como Ave and ride leisurely for another 7 or so miles weaving around Lake Como and park, past the U of M's research fields and Gibb's family farm, through charming St. Anthony Park and Luther Seminary's leafy campus, and continue on Como until 15th. On the way home, I usually opt to ride the East River Parkway to Summit. It's a couple miles longer, but a bit shadier and not quite as hilly. My favorite part of the ride? Crossing the St. Peter Street bridge into St. Paul. It's a beautiful sight to behold at twilight.
Why I ride
Lots of reasons, but I boil it down to efficiency and simplicity. It only takes me 5-10 minutes longer to bike than to drive to work, and I'm getting my daily dose of exercise. It feels great to be home by 6:30 and know that work--and working out--is done. I'm fairly new to bike commuting, but I'm already grateful that it's forced me to live a simpler life. Since I'm not in my car anymore, I'm not tempted to make those extra stops (hello, Target) on the way home. If I need to get groceries, I find a bike-friendly route, and buy only what I need because it's going on my back. Oh, and lastly, I love data. Part of what keeps me motivated is logging my miles on dailymile and Strava. (Join and be my friend!) It's pretty fun to see the elevation gained during a ride, or gallons of gas saved. What's not to love?