A straight line… Why?

Folks, I am finally feeling like I am getting back on track!  I have 3 rides already this month each over 30 miles (2 are 40 or more) I have been riding in the shed when I couldn’t ride outside and, as of today, I am back to the regular office and able to do my normal 17 mile route home!  I am much happier with my activity level.

Plus, with an app my wife and her friends use on the smart phones, I can finally map my routes.  Doing so today though, showed me something I hadn’t expected.

Here is the app tracked route (in red) from my office downtown to my house in Mountlake Terrace.



As I have said above this is almost exactly 17 miles.

I am no genius, but any kid who has taken 2 days of geometry can tell you that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Looking at the red line above, we can clearly see that my route is anything but straight.  I-5, the gold line heading due north, would give you an idea of what a direct route should be.

Each and every curve in the red means I am going that much farther than I have to.  In essence, I am taking longer to get home. I will let you in on a little secret, though, I am doing it on purpose!

I would be willing to bet that if a survey was conducted on the commuters of the world (or at least the USA) the vast majority would say they take the shortest route possible from work to home.   There are some , I’m sure who would say otherwise.

Those who live with a spouse/roommate/relative/or significant other of some type and they fight a lot, might not want to get home soon.  (not me!  Love my wife!)

Those who may have crappy neighbors, or a lousy neighborhood, might want to delay getting home.  (again, not me, I like our house, it’s a great place to relax)

Those who bike commute, now they may, and in fact in my case do, have good reasons to not take the shortest route!

First for me: The exercise.  17 miles 3 – 5 days during the week is a perfect distance. I can push it hard for a good workout, or if tired, ease it back and take it at my leisure.  By the time I get home, I’ve had enough of a ride to reduce work stress, a decent amount of exercise and, except for early winter, I am home before dark.

Second for me: The Route itself.  That curvy route you see, is mostly the Burke-Gilmn trail.  It takes me by the lake, it’s an old railroad, so its flat, and most importantly, no cars.  Aside from 3 major crossings, the trail is  well away from main roads.  This means in the pitch black of winter mornings, there is no danger of getting flattened by someone NOT paying attention behind the steering wheel.

I do have to watch out for the occasional mudslide or downed tree, but for the most part, I am much safer.


Finally for me: The view.  Notice the map, it goes right along the lake.  There is water, mountains, animals, trees and birds to be seen the whole way.  Yes I could take a road and see a lot of cars, but why?   I might get home a bit earlier on the direct route, but it wouldn’t be as pretty or interesting.


And that last may be the crux of the whole thing.  I like my commute time.  Rain or shine, warm or cold, no matter how often I saddle up, I am excited to do so.  The only traffic I have to worry about it college guys looking and coeds instead of watching for bikes.  Once past UW though, its clear sailing.  There is never a traffic jam, or a speed trap, or a car fire or ANYTHING to delay me.

Hell the only thing that might slow me down is a head wind….

So yep, as the song says, I might “Take the long way home” but its the perfect route for me.  In fact, I am the only one unhappy of a potential move to our north office because it will give me a shorter commute.  Everyone else it will add an hour, For me, it cuts it in half.

I am currently researching a better, longer way home from Lynnwood so I can keep up my miles.

Who needs a straight line anyway?


10 thoughts on “A straight line… Why?

  1. Nice route.I’ve e got about 5 regular routes to/from work. The one being the most direct is also the least frequent. Most times I just enjoy that time on the bike too much to get home 30min earlier

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