Monday, 7 April 2014

Something Old Turned Something New!

After spending over a year commuting through the alleys of East Van and then along the sidewalks of two of the busiest roads, having dust debris fly at me from passing transport trucks, I’d had enough. Also, with the inevitable desire to shape up after a less active winter, I wanted a commute to work that lasted longer than ten minutes. So instead of moaning, I changed it up and tried something new, at least new for my commute. Instead of alleyways and sidewalks, this morning I travelled along the 10th Ave and Mosaic bikeways to the separated pathway along Great Northern Way, on a route that took me past my destination before heading back along a much less travelled and almost secret separated pathway. The change up added a mere 10 minutes to my journey, but I experienced some big rewards for my efforts.

First off, it's always fun trying something new, and while part of the trip is one I'm very familiar with, it was still fun to figure out the most effective way to get to work, and exciting to guess which streets to take to get me back on a bike path and the last stretch of my journey. In a way, I became an explorer, mapping out new territory, which I find very enjoyable.

While I was on my way, I was reminded of riding with a friend a couple weeks back, and introducing him to a bike route he'd never taken before. One thing I forget when I'm out with friends who frequently ride is that there are routes that I take for granted, just assuming everyone who rides a bike in the city knows about them. But we all choose different paths to get to our destinations, and more often than not, if you never travel to one area or another, there would be no way to know about other options. My friend shared that same excitement I had today, discovering a new way to get from point A to B, and, in a way, opening up a whole new world of cycling opportunities.

Although finding a new route was very exciting, even more enjoyable was the smells I encountered along the way. As you can imagine, travelling along busy, high traffic roads can be a pretty unpleasant olfactory experience. By sticking to the calmer routes along my journey, I was treated to the beautiful smells of fresh cherry blossoms, springtime blooms, and the overall freshness of a Spring morning. In the same way that I thoroughly enjoy running my hand through tall grasses I pass in the summertime, having all the wonderful smells rush past me during my commute was just the best way to start the day!

So, overall, not a bad way to start a Monday. A new week beginning with a new route, and a wonderful reminder of why riding in the springtime can be so fantastic. I'm sure, after months of taking the same route to work I will eventually start taking for granted this new trip, too, but for now, I will revel in my morning commute, taking in all the new scenery, fresh smells, and even the passersby along the way!