Take the Long Way Home

Am I the only one who hears the Supertramp song in my head based on the post title? I blame my dad.

Today I did indeed take the long way home. Normally my commute route is a major diagonal street (Lincoln Ave, for the locals). Diagonal streets are favored among both cyclists and motorists because they cut through Chicago’s usual grid – after all, the quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line. Due to the heavy bike traffic, this street is a designated bike route and there are either bike lanes or sharrows the entire way. However, due to the heavy car traffic (and bus traffic and truck traffic), it can be stressful.

There is an alternate street route, which I’d never taken as part of my commute before (Armitage and Racine).

The route is along two secondary streets at a right angle, instead of the one diagonal street, adding a little less than one mile to the ride. For someone outside of a big city like Chicago, these would probably be busy streets, but they’re calm compared to my normal route. One street has a bike lane and the other has wide lanes but no bike lane. With very few stop lights and many four-way stop sign intersections, they’re ideal for bikes.

My ride was much calmer than usual and, surprisingly, I got home in pretty much the same amount of time as usual. Maybe 3-4 minutes longer. I’ll have to take the “long” way more often! Conveniently, this way took me right by a quaint neighborhood wine shop. Sauvignon blanc is the perfect treat after a ride in 94 degrees.

This is going down as an event for the Summer Games, take the long way home.  I’m grateful that I took the opportunity to try something new, thanks to the Games.  I look forward to hearing about everyone else’s adventures. :)

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16 thoughts on “Take the Long Way Home

  1. Steven Vance says:

    I think you mean the *shortest* route between A and B is a straight line.

    Racine is a great north-south route, but unfortunately it doesn’t cross the I90/I94 highway and it gets cut off by the river and Goose Island.

    • Dottie says:

      Whatever, same thing :) When Racine ends, I go east on Armitage and then get on Wells to avoid the highway.

      • nicolas says:

        I believe I just got SUPERTRAMPED.

        Taking the long way home tonight! When I get out of the office I’ll ride the metro to get back to my bike, then instead of my 2-mile ride home I’ll ride halfway across Paris to a marriage preparation meeting (yay!), then halfway again to my parents’ place where I’m hosting a barbecue on the balcony (yay-er!). all that in 33°c weather, so, trying not to rush it…

  2. Traci says:

    What I wouldn’t give for a city with a grid system :) Now that I’ve begun biking, simply finding ANY appropriate route is a bit difficult. Every time I think I’ve found a good street, I realize that it dead-ends or I can’t connect to the street I need without winding through 3 other streets and going totally out of my way. I feel as if I’m always trying to avoid either hills or being killed in traffic and not sure which is worse – haha!

    • Dottie says:

      Yeah, even with the grid system, side streets are constantly ending with no warning. That’s why there are so few ways to get to work for me. At least with the grid, though, it’s pretty easy to keep your bearings when hopping from one street to another.

  3. Miss Sarah says:

    Woman, did you drink the whole bottle yourself? If I ever did that (I am a petite Asian) I would definitely be taking the LONG way home.

    Teeter teeter.


  4. anna says:

    Nice tour. Sometimes it feels like one is in a completely different part of the town although just a few meters off the well-explored path… And many back roads are really fast, too. Just because there are less cars and less traffic lights. And it’s way more relaxing.

  5. eva says:

    what an appropriate post! I just rode home to my ‘new’ home for the first time last night. I consulted googlemaps for various routes. I figured i’d try out the shortest distance one first – bad choice. It sent me down bust commuter streets and down some dodgy “bike paths”. Tomorrow I will attempt the longer [and hopefully more scenic] route.

  6. Eric B. says:

    “Am I the only one who hears the Supertramp song in my head based on the post title?”

    Haha… not at all! I started singing it in my head as soon as I saw the title in my google reader!

  7. Jason says:

    Great post and song! I took the long way home through Apeldoorn, NL tonight. Still learning my way around after moving here from Maine. The long way home connected me to a bike path that went over a canal and under a high speed train track. Awesome!

  8. Trisha says:

    How fun! I took the long way home via Taco Mamacita’s and E&S’s the other night. Unfortunately the battery in the Canon wimped out on me. Guess I’ll just have to do it again! :)

  9. Jen says:

    I took the long way on my first commute yesterday….over the Brooklyn Bridge, up the West Side bikepath, and across 52nd St. to Midtown. This is a slighly longer route than going directly up 6th Ave or Madison Ave, but it puts you on the bike path in a beautiful greenway along the river.

    I have to say that the RIDE THE CITY and Googlemaps’ bicycle directions apps REALLY under-estimated the time it would take; or perhaps I’m just very slow!

    But the West Side bike path was pure joy. The biggest issue was the mile and a half across mid-town; I thought I was prepared for the traffic, but riding in 18-24″ of space, trying not to get doored or cut off, was pretty much terrifying. And way too many oblivious tourists on the Brooklyn Bridge; I may have to take the Manhattan Bridge on the way home.

    I know people become adept at riding in crazy traffic…I know it! I’d love to know how long it took people to become comfortable with it…

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