I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan’t be gone long. You come too.
-- Robert Frost
There are three ways to get home.
The Standard Way. The Fast Way. And The Long Cut.
In general, depending on the demands of my schedule, the weather, and sometimes the sort of bike I'm riding, I tend to pick from one of these options when heading home from work by bike.
|The Standard Way|
The Fast Way home is hardly worth discussing. I take it when it's going to be dark soon and I've forgotten my lights. Or when it's all snowy or rainy. Or when it's midwinter and the trails are buried or caked in mud. Or when I'm test-riding something unusual for a review, like a trailer or a set of skinny tires. The Fast Way home is all roads, big cars, loud engines, exhaust fumes, and stress: red lights, stop signs, buses, crosswalks. I hate it. But it occasionally serves its purpose. It's at least 50-percent faster than The Standard Way. Fortunately, I am rarely in a hurry.
|The Long Cut|
The Long Cut buries the notion that a commute must be a means to an end and not an end in and of itself. It defies the logic with which streets ever comply. It is non-linear, disordered, and unnecessarily difficult. It is the perfect way to end any workday. It's pretty much the way I've chosen to head home, whenever I've been able to, for the better part of the past two decades. Because it is the best way home.
|Scenes from The Long Cut|
Regardless, there are few things that I have found that are more centering, more cathartic, more empowering, more head-cleansing than an indirect ride home through the woods on your bike after work. For me, it's almost always just what I need.