Charting New Territory

I was also going to use the term “adventure” in the name of today’s post — I guess Dottie and I think alike! Whatever you want to call it, yesterday’s ride took me off my beaten path and allowed me to face a new challenge: Green Hills. Any Nashvillian knows that the traffic on Hillsboro Rd. anywhere south of Wedgewood is pretty heinous. It’s so bad that I take back roads when I drive. But there was no reason I couldn’t bike those same back roads — or at least that’s what I told myself when setting off after a happy hour near my work to attend an (excellent) reading at Davis-Kidd by author Mary Pat Kelly.

This is my, "why yes, I'm having my picture taken for no good reason as dozens of people trot by" face.

This is my, "why yes, I'm having my picture taken for no good reason as dozens of people trot by" face.

My friend P (iPhone photographer extraordinaire and native Nashvillian) asked if I really wanted to ride to the mall. I explained my bike friendly route. “Glen Echo? What about the hills?” she asked. I brushed off her concern.

Hills? What hills?

Hills? What hills?

Until my detour onto Graybar showed me what she might have been talking about.

Never discount the advice of a native.

Never discount the advice of a native.

The hill that counted was the one in the distance here, waaay up at the horizon. It was steep.

Nevertheless, Le Peug and I made it to our destination, after a brief detour through the parking lot of Hillsboro High School and a soccer field (Le Peug’s off-road performance was impressive). Not willing to actually cross Hillsboro Road or brave the parking lot of the Green Hills Mall on my bike, I locked Le Peug near a bus stop across the street from the mall. He looked a little lonely. I don’t think bikes come to the bus stop too often.


The intersection I didn't brave by bike.

The intersection I didn't brave by bike.

After waiting in vain through two light sequences for a pedestrian signal (and there was a button to press and a crosswalk and everything), I strode into traffic when the lights turned green in my direction, after making eye contact with the guy who would have liked to be turning left right into me. It’s funny how once you start bicycling or walking, you realize just how unprepared city infrastructure is for such revolutionary forms of transportation.

The road home was through the dark, so no pictures — but I made the 3.5 mile ride in 25 minutes, which is pretty fast for me, and only about 8-10 minutes longer than it would have taken me to drive. Three cheers for charting new territory! It’s always a special day when another part of the city is accessible to me by bike, but there’s one reason that this new route is especially sweet: it means my favorite donut shop is now just a ride away. I should probably tell them they’ll need to install a bike rack.

Delicious donuts. Boston creme anyone?

Delicious donuts. Boston creme anyone?

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15 thoughts on “Charting New Territory

  1. Charlotte says:

    Wow! That IS quite the adventure!
    I’ve slowly learned to embrace hills. I’m not good at it yet, but it is getting easier.

    Girl, if you’re gonna carry the weight of that u-lock, you’re going to want to find a way to get it around your frame when you lock up. I can see that it is tough with the chain link at the bus stop. Still, you’ve got no benefit over a simple cable lock the way you have it there.

    Isn’t it great how one can have a Boston Creme Donut guilt-free after a big bike adventure? Makes even the hill worthwhile!

  2. Trisha says:

    Hi Charlotte, you’re so right about the U-Lock. I usually do put it around the frame (through the frame and the wheel, in fact, per Sheldon Brown, with the cable around a stable object). But I couldn’t get the cable any further through the fence…so I crossed my fingers and hoped the fact that Le Peug was on a super busy road would keep cable-cutting (or fence-cutting) bike thieves at bay. If I go back to the mall by bike I’m definitely going to have to find a better place to park. Unfortunately Nashville just doesn’t have many bike racks, even at places where you’d expect them like coffee shops.

  3. mtblawgirl says:

    Yeah. Green Hills is tough to get around! That’s a shame about the lack of bike racks. Does Wild Oats have them?

  4. Trisha says:

    Wild Oats is now Trader Joe’s — and yep, they do have bike racks. I will definitely be riding there in the future.

  5. Charlotte says:

    Awesome, I’m so glad!
    The only bike I ever lost was locked with a cable lock.

    For what it’s worth, our “bike czar” is taking requests for where to put bike parking. Perhaps there is someone assigned to that at your city hall. Someone should offer bicycle-shaped cookies we can send with our requests to government officials.

    I’ll never forget when my ex-boyfriend’s Tivo broke. He sent it in for repair and they told him two weeks/a month/I forget how long, but it was too long for him. He sent the repair shop pizza that day, signed with no name, just his repair number. He got overnight turnaround.

    He’s my ex for a reason, but that guy knew how to get things done.

  6. Elisa M says:

    Those inclines are going to be good practice for our Chief Ladiga ride…I hear it has some steady inclines on it!

  7. Bike Jax says:

    “It’s funny how once you start bicycling or walking, you realize just how unprepared city infrastructure is for such revolutionary forms of transportation.”

    Amen sister!!!

  8. anna says:

    Lovely story. I like new routes, just don’t like if I have to get out the map at every intersection. But my memory improves as I do that more often ;-).

    Scary intersection though. In Vienna there are also some intersection that I didn’t bike in the beginning. It takes a while to get used to them, and sometimes it surely better to just walk if it’s possible and check it out first. I agree.

  9. Bully for you!

    yeah, riding in the suburbs will remind me that this society doesn’t care about anything but cars(I like the bridges with no sidewalks). I’m sometimes more adventurous than I should be and have ridden on highways to avoid a long detour. It’s not fun, or safe.

    Perhaps those hills will prepare you for a trip to San Fran. They have hills you wouldn’t imagine.

  10. Carolyn says:

    Our city is not prepared for bikes either. Definitely not enough bike racks around town, although the mayor was at the local urban cyclist forum last week, and was taking notes, and he is bike friendly. He is def interested in putting in racks like corrals and oasises…I can only hope!

    He made sure that there were bike/pedestrian paths put in to the upgrade of an old bridge…wasn’t going to be.

    We got hills like that all around as our city is in a bowl. :)

  11. sara says:

    Good work on the hill. Today I tackled the impossible hill to get boy #3 from his school (conveniently located on top of the large hill) by bakfiets for the first time. I rode quite a few streets out of my way to go up a less steep part & then just embraced the fact that I still needed to walk/push up about 1 1/2 blocks of the really, really steep part. In the end, it was just fine waking & pushing the baks, and I reallyI enjoyed riding with Finn all the way home!

  12. Trisha says:

    Thanks everyone! Charlotte, love your ex’s way of getting things done. I will have to see how that goes over with the metro planning commission. ;)

    Elisa, I am hoping the hills help me on Ladiga because you Bike Skirt girls are definitely beyond me when it comes to distance rides.

    Spiderleg, I was afraid to drive on some of those SF hills, so I don’t know about biking up them! Maybe one day.

    Sara, I too am trying to learn to embrace the hills. I think it’s the only way…and yep, there’s always the downhill side!

  13. dottie says:

    Tres chic! Did I say that right? ;) The jacket and boots look so good on you. You bought me some donuts, right?

  14. Speaking of locking your bike up properly.

  15. Trisha says:

    Spiderleg, I get a kick out of that site. I’ll have to post some pics of a properly locked-up Peug soon to assuage everyone’s fears. :)

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