I haven’t posted here in a while and with the time I have on my hands right now I probably should be.
Two coincidental events came together at the start of March 2020. One was me concluding that it was time to take a break from work. After nearly 13 years at the most recent company … I needed a change. The opportunity presented itself. Timing was right.
Meanwhile, the world was being consumed by COVID-19 and it only really hit the fan here in central Texas about mid March. Good timing to be around home!
Either way, and certainly together, I have been spending a lot more time at home. And I’ve taken at least some of that time and spent it getting out on my bike(s) more. The Garmin data is pretty clear. I recently snagged the data over the last year and since the start of March, I’ve logged a lot more time in the saddle:
Because of the pandemic, almost all of these miles are very close to home though.
I’ve always ridden close to home but typically my rides would be on weekends – and certainly not during a pandemic. These days a lot of my riding is on weekdays.
Early in the pandemic there were a TON of people that were getting out on the streets! In my suburban neighborhood I have never seen so many people out running, walking, & biking.
On the one hand it was and has been great to see so many people out exercising in some way. But on the other hand … lots of people have become obstacles in a way they never were in the past.
People like to be in groups and try to ‘socially distance’ from one another so they end up walking and running in the street instead of the sidewalks – and in the place I’m trying to bike (and stay away from cars too). Even now, there are lots of people to dodge on the street. Not as many as earlier this spring though. (People are increasingly back to work – and it’s also just getting a lot hotter here as summer approaches.)
Meanwhile, kids will be kids… they have no idea what side of the street to ride on. So they are often coming at you on the wrong side of the road. And you never know if they will decide to cross to the other side right in front of you.
And since I would typically ride the neighborhoods on weekends, I had no idea how many service vehicles are around during the day! In these neighborhoods, I think I know where a lot of stimulus checks are going. People are getting new floors, new roofs, new additions, new windows, new paint, … meanwhile there are landscaping crews with trucks and trailers and mowers and blowers everywhere! Then there are the pool cleaners (or installers!). And the power-washers. I had no idea so many people power-washed driveways and rock walls. Nor had I any idea how many people would be getting completely new lawns delivered on trucks.
I’ve also learned all the different schedules for garbage pickup around the different neighborhoods. If it’s Tuesday, the streets over in Glenlake are lined with garbage bins (and the trucks that pick it all up). If it’s Wednesday, Westminster and lower Riverplace are stacked with trash bins… you get the idea.
UPS, Fedex and innumerable delivery vehicles are in and around the neighborhoods all day everyday. Not unusual at any time but with the pandemic on .. it’s noticeably higher traffic by delivery vehicles. They are everywhere.
In any case, I had no idea how busy the streets would be around here during a typical day.
Best time to ride: Sunday morning. Nobody’s mowing (at least not landscape crews), and the service vehicles are all gone. Traffic is low. People are about, but it’s mostly quiet.
I hope to keep up my riding even as the summer heat comes on here in central Texas. At this point I’ve become used to the obstacles and plan and ride accordingly.
I need to find a way to cycle somewhere more remote on a regular basis but where? … that’s still TBD.