Returning to bike commuting: Surveying the routes

I have changed jobs once again — this time, my job is only 7 miles away! Perfect distance to leave the car in the garage and ride my bike to work once again.

My first step is to survey the routes; safety is paramount and I don’t mind riding a little more if that means that I get to my destination in one piece. I used Google Maps to check out my different choices of streets:

I can see that my choices are plenty but since I know that the area is a big thoroughfare for big rigs and the 5 freeway over-passes are rather narrow, I have to decide what it is the safest route for me to ride by first driving the different routes.

Here are the things that I look for in a route:

*Heavy Traffic- I try to avoid a very congested street; drivers tend to be a little too aggressive and they tend to disregard cyclists as vehicular traffic.

*Wide Streets- I like riding wide streets, less jockeying for lane position.

*Neighborhood quality- Besides traffic, another thing to contend with in L.A. is crime. I avoid riding through rough neighborhoods, the least thing I want to do is to get mugged for my bike and possessions.

*Freeway On-ramps/Off-ramps- Drivers are usually ramping up to get on the freeway or exiting the freeway too fast.

After settling on a route, my next step is to choose what bike to ride to work. My choice will depend on my fitness level (I’m not in shape, although round IS a shape), how much time it will take me to get to work, and the terrain. Stay tuned for the next installment…