Dallas W. writes in…
“I’m a lucky man. I have a great place to work that I enjoy going to every day. When work is through, I hurry home to my wife and children. With everyone’s busy schedules, I’ve found that the most consistent training mileage I can get is the commute to and from work. The 22 miles between work and home provides an essential pause to the multitasking and chaos of the average day. For an hour and twenty minutes each way I just ride my bike. If I’m early I’ll add a few extra miles. If I’m late, it’s an all out time trial! There are 4 or 5 good options for a variety of routes, both paved and gravel. But on this day, while the kids were at grandma and grandpa’s house, and my wife was working, there was no rush to get anywhere.
A week earlier I had spent an hour pouring over satellite images creating a 100k gravel commute. Planning is easy using satellite imagery, auto routing, and route dragging of Google My Maps. Google doesn’t route on trails, in which case I edit points in Google Earth. Then GPS Visualizer provides a free and easy way to convert Google kml files into gpx format. The final route took me from work in Wyoming, MN along the Minnesota side of the beautiful St. Croix river. As I rode north the scenery quickly changed from scattered bedroom community development, to rolling hills and pine forest. By the time I turned back south the number of vehicles had dropped to almost zero.
Hours of time passed with only the sound of the wind and the tires rolling on gravel. I find peace in riding solo as you never feel the need to match any ones pace or keep up small talk to pass the time. For me it’s a time of significant reflection.
The second half of the ride lead through rolling hills and farmland which reminded me of the Almonzo. The roads and surroundings quickly became familiar as I came to Taylors Falls, MN and the end of the commute. As I entered the house tired and thirsty for a significantly hopped beverage. I was happy that I had made good use of my time today, which is all any of us can hope to do.”