Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dawn Patrol

Wednesday morning, it was still fairly cool when I rolled out just before 6 am. In compliance with the new Tennessee laws regarding bicycle lights, I lit up.

Even now that school is in again, I don't get a lot of cars on my commute when I leave this early. Here's the first car that I spotted, on Walnut Hill.

From there, I cut through some of the neighborhoods and over to where Liberty Church hits Edmondson Pike, then go up the hill past the elementary school and turn left into Chenoweth. This is a classic example of how a good bicycle route can use a road with speed bumps. If the road's got speed bumps, it must actually go somewhere -- since the purpose of the speed bumps is to keep cars from going down that road fast. The speed bumps keep the car speeds down to about bicycle levels, so it works out for us.

Here's one of the bumps.

There's another speed bump on this road that is not well-made. Coming home in the afternoon, if I hit it going over 20, I am airborne. While that would normally be fun, on a heavy bike with panniers full of clothing and a laptop ... not so much.

You got a lot of folks out walking and running at this time of the morning. The day later got up to 89 degrees, so this is a smart time to be out.

This guy obviously missed the cash for clunkers window.

The road that connects up to Shenendoah Road also has speed bumps. Again, it's because cars use it. I must admit, however, that at this point Wednesday morning I had only been passed by one car.

Here's Shenendoah Road. It's almost always nice and empty, since it kind of parallels Wilson Pike (which is almost always busy).

It was almost 6:30 now, so I saw my first school bus on Old Smyrna Road. This is another neat road (with speed bumps ... of course) with some big farms owned by rich folks. You'd have to be rich to be able to own this much land smack-dab in the middle of all of McMansion-Land.

Technically, sunrise had been 30 minutes ago.

As I'm going thru Annandale, I looked in my little helmet mirror (yes, I use one of those on my commute ... it's nerdy, but I like to see cars before they mow me down) and saw another cyclist.

I did a loop around one of the roundabouts to say "Hey" and get his picture.

I had still only been passed by one car when I got to Old Hickory Blvd.

This is about as empty as this road gets. I've tried biking on it ... the cars do not seem to tolerate me. So, this morning I crossed at the light and got on the sidewalk.

The cars kept their distance.

I stayed on the sidewalk down to where AIG insurance used to be. Well, it's still AIG insurance, but they changed their name to protect the innocent.

From there, I cut through an office building parking lot, and came out by the Holiday Inn. Again, this is where the Holiday Inn used to be. It's still there, but they've been doing stuff to it and it's pretty closed up.

I hope that a big part of Holiday Inn's portfolio was not AIG ... that would be ironic.

From there, I cut back past the other entrance to the weird AIG-Insurance-That's-Not-AIG-Insurance-Any-More building.

This brings me to a bus stop, and past that into the back of the Target parking lot.

Do you get the impression that I go waaaaaaaay out of my way to avoid cycling down Old Hickory Blvd?

Anyhow, at this point I get a momentary break on my commute.

Ah, yes. A three-seed demi and a coffee. Being a good Earth-person, I brought my own cup.

I then ate this wonderful breakfast and read my library book ("The Mission Song," by John Le Carre). I love libraries ... particularly since RandoGirl and I have shelves full of books in our house, with another 10 liquor boxes in the garage full of other books. We should get rid of them, but we love them all and actually re-read some of them. Others we just like to have on the shelves, since they make us look smart.

Breakfast over, I topped off my coffee cup (the other reason that I bring my own cup ... just so you know that it's not all about being green) and headed down Old Franklin Pike.

To my left is the CSX railway line, and just past that is I-65. You wouldn't know it, though, because it's usually pretty nice and quiet on this road.

Of course, it was now after 7 am, so I finally got passed by the second car of the morning (the ones on Old Hickory do not count, since I was on the sidewalk).

Two cars in 9.22 miles of riding in Brentwood, Tennessee. Not bad.

Here's CSX Park, which has ball fields. I wonder if the railroad donated the land.

Just past this, I cheat a bit and go through the railroad yard next to Traveller's Rest. It's usually pretty quiet in there, plus I get to see trains.

Any kid who ever had a train set when they were growing up likes to see trains (unless they're crossing the road that you're trying to drive down).

Past the rail yard I get on another busy street: Harding Road. I have to cross it and get on Trousdale, so I usually just go down to the light and wait. This usually gives me a chance to sip some coffee.

I like the image that I present when I am standing there in the intersection, with a bicycle, sipping coffee. I always hope that somebody will see me and think, "Hmmm ... that doesn't look like a bad way to get to work."

A guy's gotta dream.

Down Trousdale to Grassmere, and then to my building.

At this point, it's back up onto the sidewalk ...

... so that I can get to my bike rack.

Yes, it's my bike rack. My company paid for it, but only after I nagged them about not having a bike rack at the new office. And mine is the only bicycle that I have ever seen parked there. That's my lock hanging on the top.

If I stay there for seven years, I think that I can claim squatter's rights. Then I will take the bike rack with me and sell it on eBay, and live like Croesus off of the proceeds in Buenas Aires.



  1. GREAT report, Lov'in the pictures, My commute is nly 6.5 miles each with and its nothing but very busy 4 lane road's, What I would give to commute on the roads and in the weather that you do.


  2. Seems like you've included more pictures since I left for college. More free time, I suppose? I'm glad to see you're still keeping up the blog. Write on, RandoBoy!