Last week I was so excited to get out and start riding my bike to work. After three days of research and putting it off, I finally did it. Thursday I said I would set out on my bike unless it was pouring down rain. It was only a little cloudy, so off I went!
I got lost twice, in the spots I thought I would get lost. The first place was in Clintonville, where the trail ends and you have to take a few side streets to pick it up again. I sort of knew where I was, and I saw High Street in the distance, where I knew I didn't want to go unless I was totally lost. Finally, I saw several other cyclists turning a corner and going up a hill and I followed them, which turned out to be the right decision.
The second place where I got lost was at Ohio State. The Olentangy Bike trail turns into the OSU bike trail, but part of it is on sidewalks and walkways. That alone is confusing, as OSU is huge, and there are sidewalks and walkways everywhere. I had my landmarks, and advice from my fellow commuters, so I again sort of knew where I was. But the bad part was that the trail was closed and there was an incomprehensible map with a detour which did not resemble at all the detour that I found online. I ended up riding in the street in traffic until I got to King Avenue, where I spotted some landscapers on the corner and asked them if they had any idea where the bike trail was. They did! They got me right back on the path and I was good to go.
I was afraid I'd get lost heading downtown but that was a breeze. I felt a chill of excitment as I saw the buildings in the distance. It was quite a different perspective from driving! The signs were plentiful, and after I got to Broad Street I remembered the advice not to take the path that heads down to the Santa Maria, as it was a dead end. I had made it past the Confluence, and North Bank Park, and was headed past the federal courthouse. I had to ride on sidewalks but there were signs with big bikes on them so I figured I was ok.
It took me an hour and a half with all the stops to figure out where I was going. I believe it amounted to 12 miles. When I got to the bike room there was a man behind me who used his ID to swipe open the door while I held it for him. I was so excited I blurted out, "I just rode to work for the first time!"
When I got to my office, I was very sweaty but the ice cold air in the office cooled me off quickly. A baby wipe and Bath and Body Works spray, and a Clif Bar, and I was good to go.
I was a little nervous about heading home that night but I was reassured by other cyclists that the bike trail was even more well-travelled heading north at rush hour. I was sort of a celebrity that day, too, as everyone was eager to hear about the trip and couldn't believe I had traveled so far. I was on an adrenaline high most of the day. I did take time to study my maps and even printed out some directions that I stowed in my shirt on the way back, just in case.
At 5:00 I donned my riding gear and headed out. The ride back was a piece of cake. I figured out how to get out of downtown, got through the detour at OSU with no problem, and even was able to maneuver the maze in Clintonville. By the time I got to Broadmeadows bridge, I was very tired. One mile and mostly up hill to get to High Street, then north a few blocks. I did t!
As soon as I got home (it took about an hour and 15 minutes), my husband showed me my dinner and headed out the door to run. He very thoughtfully made spaghetti so I could replenish my carbs. I was so proud of me and I felt great. I sat on some frozen peas as my "seat" was very sore. Padded shorts were sounding like a great idea!
To be continued.....