Which Way to Go? Planning Walking and Biking Routes

What is important to you when you plan a bicycle or walking route?

For me it’s easy:

I just prefer

1. Shady trails or tree-lined streets

2. Car-free or car-light

I like to reduce my potential for interacting with automobiles.

Two of my bicycle riding co-workers were recently surprised when I said that a shady route was one of my main considerations — they’d never thought of it; and I was surprised they never noticed. There is a massive Pleasure Differential between riding under a tree-lined street or path and riding under the relentless sun.

What would make you walk or ride your bicycle more?

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7 Comments

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  1. sometimes more hills, sometimes less, depending on if i’m biking just for the sake of biking, or trying to get somewhere without being a sweaty ball of gross

  2. I walk most places. My considerations include being safe from car traffic (like I will sometimes take a bus at Friday rush hour to avoid walking past unusually aggressive cars–they get crazier on Fridays), AND being around a busy enough area that I am safe from getting mugged. So, sometimes a busy area is preferable while other times (like daytime, or when I’m with my partner) the road less traveled is preferable.

    Another consideration is how many side streets I will cross on my walk. If I take a 5 minute walk to the post office from my work, I pass 2 busy side streets with stop signs, not lights. The cars in Pittsburgh are totally confounded by pedestrians, so I hate crossing these streets–there is always 3-way traffic and no one gives me a turn. So, I have learned to cross the street at the start of my walk (there are no side street outlets on that side) and then I cross again to get to the post office.

    And yes, I appreciate shade, too, but that is at least 3rd on the list.

    • I also try to avoid highways which is difficult where I live, unfortunately. Walking does seem to be a mode of transportation that many don’t consider unless it’s leaving a parking space to go into a building.

  3. When I go to work, I take the shortest safe way, the one with a sidewalk all the way. (there is a shorter one with no sidewalk for 100 meters and I use that only when I am late)

    When I walk for fun or for groceries shopping, I try the ones with the most trees and bridges 🙂

    I thought of a way a way to contribute to your wonderful blog. Maybe we should make maps with our favorite walks/biking routes in Pittsburgh. We could mark in a color our route and with another color, our favorite part.

    I wish I could bike, like you, but I am afraid of the cars. I gave my bike away after only one year. You are braver. If I change my mind and I buy one, I will try a double bike with my husband in the front, because Pittsburgh has hills 🙂 And if I could take the cat in a basket, too… Hmm, too many wishes.

    • Those wishes can definitely come true. Tandem bikes are wonderful. Stay tuned because I’m working on setting up a series of workshops for getting beginning riders on the road.

      That idea about the map is lovely but one I don’t have time to undertake at this point. Bike Pittsburgh has a pretty fantastic map with the best routes marked for biking. I used it for walking too when I was getting accustomed to the city. You can pick up free copies of it all around the city. Or I could mail you one. (I work there)

      • Yes, we have the map at the coffee house at work, it is a nice map!
        We were on the road on the bikes for a year and we decided it is stressful. And we were not saving time. to wholefoods it takes 40 minutes by walking, 30 by biking. I am a very slow biker, it seems. so the tandem bike might have to wait till the end of oil:) we will have so much space that we we might decide for a tandem tricycle.

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