Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Anything Goes Commute Challenge: solo or group ride (alternative routes)

My primary commute route is pretty short at around 50 minutes of riding. It is also quite pretty flat for the SF Bay Area at just 350 vertical feet of climbing. I have several alternative routes that I take to increase the mileage and riding challenge (more exercise!) and for variety.  For the Anything Goes Commute Challenge, I'll describe the two alternative routes that I rode this past month.

Sunrise at the cemetary on Dawn of the Dead route
"Dawn of the Dead"
I take the SF2G classic route, which goes out of the city on Mission or Alameny, then circles around the backside of Mount San Bruno up on Hillview Avenue. It goes through Colma, the city of cemetaries, and if you time it right, you arrive at the cemetaries just at sunrise (hence the name). I also love the hilly ride up on Hillview near all of the plant nurseries. After a screaming descent, I continue across the freeway and head to work on the Bay Trail.

Distance: about 14 miles
Climbing: about 900 vertical feet
Time: ~75-80 minutes (depending on lights)
Advantages: adds some climbing and nice views once you hit Colma, 14 miles is a good ride distance (more miles but not insanely long commute time), cemetaries and nurseries are interesting
Disadvantages: long slog out Alameny or Mission is very slow if you leave after 6:15am due to lights and traffic, traffic on Hillview can be heavy, lots of glare from sunrise makes visibility poor

Riding above the fog on San Bruno Mountain commute ride
San Bruno Mountain
I love this little mountain that sits right in the middle of my commute. While my standard routes circumnavigate the base of the mountain, I sometimes go right over the mountain on the way to work. On my ride this month, I headed out of the city on Mission, then turned left on Crocker which climbs steeply up the backside of the mountain. A bike legal dirt path winds around the ridge line, affording wonderful views over the city, the bay and the summit.  A fun descent down Guadalupe Parkway drops you onto Bayshore, and a left on Tunnel Avenue connects you back onto the canonical route to work.

Distance: about 17 miles
Climbing: about 1300 vertical feet
Time: ~90 minutes (depending on lights)
Advantages: longer miles and more climbing = good exercise, great views up on the mountain, Guadalupe descent is a lot of fun
Disadvantages: 90 minutes is a little long for my commute if I have early meetingslong slog out Alameny or Mission is very slow if you leave after 6:15am due to lights and traffic, Crocker is steep!

The Stats:
Route: surface streets, bike/pedestrian trail, dirt trail on San Bruno Mountain
Distance: 14-17 miles (900 -1300 vertical feet of climbing)
Elapsed time: 75-90 minutes (depending on light cycles)
Exercise time: 75-90 minutes basic trip
Reading/relaxing time: 0
Bliss factor: 7-8
Cost per trip: -$1 ($1 basic bike cost estimate -$2 company reimbursement for riding my bike to work*)
Enables: Exercise, 1.5 breakfasts, earlier start to my work day, fixed departure time from work on company bus (forces me to leave work rather than working into the night), lower environmental impact, commute variety, stress relief

This post is part of my Anything Goes Commute Challenge series. Click here to read more posts in the series.

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