Particularly in during the dark cold Northwest winter, even the heartiest among us can feel our enthusiasm for bike commuting dwindle, and I have discover that having an enticing and inspiring route can make all the difference when steeling one's self for that morning commute.
When I began bike-commuting to Portland State about a year ago, I initially used the same traffic roads I would have driven on, not exactly the kind of route that beckons one from under the covers.
This quarter my classes start at 9am, meaning I have to leave home shortly after 7am. Meaning I have to get up around 6:a.m. Prior to this quarter I had essentially been unaware that there was an a.m. version of 6:00. I am a hard core night owl, and the new schedule has turned everything on it's ear. Each morning I have to put great effort into remembering why I agreed to this, and only slightly less effort into considering whether it could possibly be worth it, especially given my renewed commitment to not ever traveling in anything that burns fuel. After perusing a number of bike maps, and experimenting with different routes, I think I have come up with the perfect path, if not the perfect schedule.
The other thing about my old route is the extent to which I went to avoid steep inclines ~no mean feet when traveling from sea level to approximately 100 feet above sea level. In cycling, as in life, sometimes when you face challenges head on, you reap unforeseen rewards, like this view.
My morning begins with a stop at Bipartisan Cafe, arriving as I do right after they open at 6:30 am, the "Hair Raiser Blend" coffee is good and fresh, then I head straight for Mt Tabor park, steep elevation and all, knowing I will be witness to a view few get to see.
Not everyone is going to have a gorgeous volcano with forested vistas to include in their ride, but coffee shops, bridges, tree-lined boulevards, historic neighborhoods ad parks can all make a difference is how much you enjoy your ride, and how willing you will be to pull yourself out of bed and ride