Where do you start a typical at home ride? - CycleBlaze

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Where do you start a typical at home ride?

Kelly Iniguez

George Hall's recent journal mentions his favorite 15 mile ride out his front door. I also ride 99% of my home rides from my front door. Perhaps a handful of times a year, I will load the bike into the van to ride a bike path in a neighboring town. 

A friend and I recently had a fairly heated debate about the best area of Tucson for riding. She lives in upper class Oro Valley. I opinioned that it is not the best area for cycling, which Jan found quite offensive. She said that Oro Valley has wide cycling lanes on all major roads, why not stay in the better part of town? It made no sense to her that, while I agree there are bike lanes, riding with 4-6 lanes of heavy traffic is not my idea of an enjoyable ride. Jan comes from Denver, I live in a rural Colorado town. 

She says that Tucson built most roads while planning on cyclists. In Denver, she finds roads are missing the roomy shoulder. Thus, she defines even the high traffic roads in Oro Valley to be good riding. Low traffic roads are to be found.

I finally thought to ask if Jan ever rides from home in Denver. Very seldom, mostly they load the bikes and drive to a more bicycle friendly area. Ah, ha! Now we are onto something. I prefer to wheel the bike right out the door. It's true I can drive to the start, but I don't prefer doing that.

Am I totally spoiled? Do most people drive to the start, or consider riding with multiple lanes of heavy traffic a typical day ride?

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1 week ago
Keith AdamsTo Kelly Iniguez

When I rode more club rides than solos, I typically drove to the ride start.  For a variety of reasons I've left the local club and now ride alone more often than not.  My sense of propriety is now vaguely offended by the idea of burning a gallon or more gasoline in the name of fresh air and human-powered recreation, so my riding has shifted to departures from my driveway for the most part.

On the odd occasion I'll give myself a "treat" and drive to a distant ride start, when I've tired of traveling the same roads over and over and want a change of scenery, but that's less than five percent of my riding these days.

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1 week ago
Jeff LeeTo Kelly Iniguez

I almost never drive to the start of a ride. I think I've done it once in the last two years. The last two times we moved, a primary consideration when we were looking for a house to buy was its proximity to quiet country roads for cycling. I can ride from my front door onto a low-traffic road, and in less than a mile be on an even lower-traffic road: The kind without a yellow line in the middle.

The only negative cycling aspect of where we live, near Henderson, Kentucky on the Ohio River, is that it's impossible to ride into Indiana, since you can't ride a bike on the bridge.

So that would be a reason for me to drive to the start of a ride, I suppose. But there are so many great quiet country roads in this part of Kentucky that I almost never feel the need to do it.

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1 week ago
Ray SwartzTo Kelly Iniguez

I live in San Francisco and virtually every local ride I take leaves from my house and immediately goes up a reasonably steep hill and then north to the Golden Gate Bridge. North and south are the only ways to go as east and west is water. I occasionally go south (the hill is still required), but anything longer than 20 miles (round trip) involves busy urban streets.

After the uphill, where there is barely enough asphalt for the cars, both parked and moving, there is Golden Gate Park, quiet city streets (local bike routes) and then the Presidio green space and the bridge. While there is some traffic, the only sketchy part is about 3/8th of  mile of the first uphill.

On occasion, my wife will have reason to drive out of town. When she is going to some place interesting, I put the bike in the car and ride home. I never drive to start a ride.

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1 week ago
George HallTo Kelly Iniguez

I never drive anywhere to bicycle anymore - unless I'm driving to the start of a long tour. I have designed rides of varying lengths that leave from my house - I can ride as far as I want by doing out and back loops from my home.  I occasionally will ride with the Tulsa Bicycle Club, but only when I can ride to the start. And truthfully, I really don't like riding with large groups of folks with varying experience levels anymore, so 99% of my rides are solo.  Before retirement I commuted to work from my house, even though some of the route was heavily trafficked - it was just the right thing to do.

As others have said, the thought of burning fossil fuel and polluting the air to reach the start of a bicycle ride seems backwards to me. HOWEVER, I remember when I was still rather inexperienced, and I used to do just that - so perhaps it's a good thing if it helps folks transition into cycling. 

I consider myself lucky to be able to cycle from my home. But my neighbors wouldn't do it because they are scared to ride on the roads, even though they are lightly trafficked rural roads - so I think a lot of it is the temperament of the individual.

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1 week ago
Bill StoneTo Kelly Iniguez

Hi Kelly,

When I lived in downstate Illinois, any day ride in any direction starting from my front door took me through nothing but corn and beans (or bare fields). If I drove an hour or two from home in any direction to start my ride, it would still take me through nothing but corn and beans (or bare fields). Therefore, I almost always started my rides from my front door.

Now I live in Sonoma County in California. I'm lucky in that I can start a day ride from my front door and choose to see the Pacific Ocean, scenic vineyards, popular tourist towns, a terrific park with great mountain bike trails, or my go-to 24-mile out-and-back Greenway.

On the other hand, if I drive an hour or two from home to reach the start line, that opens vast new possibilities for spectacular day rides. Consequently, I often drive to a place where I want to ride. That means I can bike in the Marin Headlands. I can bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and through San Francisco to McCovey Cove. I can bike the Sacramento River trail. I can bike the central valley. I can bike along the Bay. I can bike Mendocino County. I can bike assorted national parks, monuments, forests, and seashores. And, while that list might seem like overkill, that's only a small sample of day rides I can undertake after driving an hour or two from my front door. I could also mention longer drives for day rides in Utah, day rides in Arizona, day rides in Death Valley, day rides in Nevada, etc.

If I couldn't drive to those destinations, I couldn't do day rides in those places. Different strokes for different folks, but to me, a little driving is a small price to pay for such wonderful pedaling.

PS: As to gasoline, I seldom drive except to get to a place to ride my bike, and I suspect I burn far less petroleum than just about anyone I know.

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1 week ago
Mark BoydTo George Hall

I drove, or rather my wife did, 350 miles each way from Asheville NC to and from  Crozet VA (near Charlottesville) with my road bike, minus one pedal and the front wheel on top of out suitcases. This was to be there for our youngest grandchild's  2nd birthday an their oldest child's first  communion a week later. It also gave me the opportunity to check out some of  the roads I'll be riding in July, and posting it on CycleBlaze,  when I ride up there and back. That is the first time any of my bikes have been in or on a car a  year. The last time was in 2021 when my bike and I rode in my wife's car - I don't have a car - from Bean Station TN after I ended my first, and probably only, tour on my CF bike on a rainy/stormy day. You can find that ride journal on CycleBlaze.

My daily local rides in Asheville  are always my from home, since 1985, in North Asheville and consist of variations on riding over to and then up a ridge that is about 400 feet high and back home by a different route. My round trip distance is slightly less than ten miles and I climb about 800 feet on that ride. I do have to cross the busiest road in north Asheville at a light, but my riding is on smaller roads.  The road I usually do the most climbing on, Patton Mnt Rd, is not paved.

In Crozet, my daughter lives in a very high density, very upscale, neighborhood. It is easy to ride on the roads there, but  boring.  She lives near the south end of the development and VA 250, which goes west, with a mostly OK shoulder, to Afton VA and the Blue Ridge where the Parkway and Skylight Drive meet. North of the development  is VA 611, Jarmans Gap Rd which becomes Bike 76, a few miles west, and then turns into an unrideable, on my road bike, dirt/gravel road  right where a good paved road, now Bike 76 road, heads south. to 250 and beyond, so there was  lots of good riding nearby for my daily rides. 

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1 week ago
Gregory GarceauTo Kelly Iniguez

I'm lucky to live on the southeast outskirts of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.  It only takes a few minutes to get onto small country roads.  It also only takes a short time to get into the big city, which I also like.  With the best of both worlds, I have no need to put my bike in the car for a day ride.  

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1 week ago
Jonathan HechtTo Kelly Iniguez

In my younger days, first in Chicago, and since 1998 in Portland, Oregon, my riding was about 50-50. Weekdays/eves were always from my driveway. But I usually participated in an organized ride on at least one weekend day.

The weekend rides were generally sponsored by different bike clubs located throughout the metropolitan area, so driving to the start was the only way to get there. Since a group of us would generally meet up at the start, we would always try to carpool.

As I tired of the organized rides and began extensive self-supported touring, my training rides all started from home. In fact, like several other commenters here, I picked my current home because it had great access to a wide variety of bike routes. 

Unfortunately, I now find myself hemmed in by almost unimaginable homeless encampments. It’s no longer safe to ride from my house, save for one 6 mile out and back. The other routes are blocked by tents and garbage, needles are all over the place, and the broken glass creates a huge problem.

So until Portland can get its act together, I’m pretty much forced to drive myself across the Columbia River into Vancouver, WA. It’s about a 6 miles to my current favorite coffee shop where I can park, drink, use the facility, and take off. I also try to incorporate other errands on each trip…grocery shopping mostly.

So that’s my story.

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1 week ago
Bob DistelbergTo Kelly Iniguez

Almost all my rides start from home. I’m fortunate enough that here in southern Vermont I have easy access to many country paved and unpaved roads very close by. My only difficulty is that I live on top of a hill, so any ride I do finishes with a three mile climb and 400-500 feet of elevation gain, including a 12% grade right near the end.

Like others, I dislike the idea of burning gas to go for a bike ride. The only exception is when I make the occasional trip up to northern VT to ride some of the excellent roads and rail trails up there. Those frequently are overnights though, so I get two days of cycling for one car trip.

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1 week ago