Friday, June 12, 2009

Riding Sideways

My usual morning route has been East and West, but today to shake things up, I rode North and South. These are the roads that connect Broad Street and Grove Avenue. They are the other links to the grid.

The biggest difference I noticed is the paths are shorter and I have to stop more. I crossed Monument and Patterson Avenues more often.

I start at the far West end of my usual route with Wisteria Avenue. Not the “Desperate Housewife” street but a narrow lumpy street with no curbs. It does not cross Patterson, so I turn and travel down Bunting, then turn to Hanover to the long block to Westmoreland.

Westmoreland is a main thoroughfare between North and South and is heavily trafficked even at the early morning hour. With competition for space, the route is slower.

And after crossing Patterson and Monument, I loop back to Commonwealth and enjoy the shade of the overlapping trees. Pass the little Quaker church in a new direction.

Turning to Woodlawn, there is another detour due to the limited 3-block length.
Up one block on Kensington pass young women walking their dogs or carriages. I do not make eye contact as I turn north on Sauer. The street named after the spice manufacturer I stop at Patterson and notice the traffic has picked up for the morning commute. The same is true on Monument.

The morning sun is beating down on this journey of unknown bumps and bruises. I have not memorized this route so it is a new adventure.

Routing back to Antrim pass the ole high school and stopping again at the Monument commute. This is taking longer than the normal ride.

Up a long hill I turn to the 4-land Malvern Avenue. Another traveled corridor from the Cary Street and Winsor Farms high-end crowd, pass the Greek Church and the apartments making the transition to increased financed condos with a pool. Stopping for parked cars while zooming white trucks whiz past, I take a breath and view the oncoming traffic from both sides.

Turn right at the Boy Scouts office that used to be near Maymont when I was a scout. Pass McCleans and notice all the traffic going up this Augusta Avenue to a cheap gas station, then I turn right onto Lafayette Street. The zoning during the construction of this grid must have been fascination because here and there are small shops for interior designs or gardening and a small strip mall of a single block which was a pharmacy with a soda counter, a laundry mat, a grocery store, a 5 and dime, and small hair dresser. These were stuck in the middle of a conservative neighborhood. And this business zone only happens on this street in this neighborhood.

Then to Revelle, but it too is only a 3-block street, so I cross over Patterson to Kent. I’ve traveled this street for years and never knew what the name was.

Pausing at Monument, I notice the change in the row of WWII apartment housing with no east / west streets and the Hamilton apartments dividing the neighborhood from the bridges going over the railroad tracks and highway in the deep ditch.

I cross over the divided highway and turn west, ready to end my ride. Though it is a mild grade, it is all-uphill from here.

After picking up a newspaper at the 7-11, I turn home. It has been a slow long hot ride today and I even missed many streets like Chantilly, Blacker, and Shenandoah that are short broken streets mixing up the neighborhood grids.

Tomorrow I go back to east / west rides.

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