At 44th W I take the zig-zags that drops from the interurban footbridge down to the street, and roll the sidewalk toward the light and my only hope of crossing before heading south toward home. It’s easier to do it this way here, where commuter traffic is always heavy and pedestrian traffic is always light. When the light changes I glide across the intersection till I’m just short of the sidewalk, hook left and start south to where 44th eventually turns into Cedar Way, then 35th and then 37th before turning into 40th somewhere in a nice neighborhood overlooking the lake.
Before the tricky part, where the streets turn and wrap back upon themselves and change names there is 44th W. A high school kid in his parents minivan doesn’t quite put me into the curb, but leaves me little option but to cross over the sewer grate. He looks at me, with apathy, probably unsure of what getting closer would have done. Once he’s gone by some new Detroit muscle burns more gas to gain a few seconds of ground before the next red light.
For a second I’m pissed but it passes quickly. For the first time since I started this commute I’m happy to be riding this distance home. The perfect fall day had me excited to get out of work, not because it meant the work day was over, but because I was getting to ride. It’s still early fall, but my mind is stuck on the rides I’m planning in warmer months, exploring areas I was unable to last year. I see ribbons of dirt, gravel and single track, linked to sections of undulating paved roads. I want it all.
Two weeks have passed since this became my commute and I’m still unsure to which streets twist where. The way I go to work is often different than the way I come back – something that isn’t done on purpose, and while I’m sure I could complete the ride without checking a map, its still nice to have it glowing from the Garmin screen ahead of my handlebars.
Long past 44th W and to the section of my ride that switches from 35th to 37th there is a long swooping descent and the only traffic is heading north toward the suburbs I’m fleeing. I take the whole lane to carve the descent without needing to brake. I know there are riders who are better at this than I am. I also know that my remembrance of this moment is probably wrong, but it felt like perfection, so I won’t dwell on which version is right -not today at least.
This tricky section does frustrate me, but its also my favorite part of the ride, there is a good climb after the fun drop, which is how it always should be. The inverse is also true. I still don’t know the exact path, but I trust I’m headed in the right direction. I’m hoping its a mirror.
The direction of my life feels muddled and uncertain. I love telling stories and selling bikes but being able to make a life off of those things combined feels distant and unachievable, but the direction of my riding is clear. It is a arrow circling back on itself, taking the long way ‘round back to what excited me about riding in the first place. So I’ve got that going for me.