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2009 Inaugural Bike Commute

By Ann Driggers

Despite an early false start, winter has been slow to release its grasp on the high desert. This week, spring finally got its act together and provided me with my first opportunity to start the bike commuting season. One evening I spent a few minutes in preparing my noble steed, a very old, first generation mountain bike, tricked out with the necessary commuter additions of slicks and a bell. Tires pumped and chain lubed I was ready to roll. Having waited so long to get the 2009 Inaugural Bike Commute underway, it was rather a novelty, and opened my eyes as if it was the first time I had ever ridden into work. In fact I enjoyed it so much I got to thinking that I have the best commute in Grand Junction. Here’s why. A Perfect Pseudo Workout The total distance round trip is 14 miles, which strikes the perfect balance between a full blown workout, and being too short to actually qualify as exercise. Better yet, on the way in it is mostly downhill, so I arrive at work smelling as fresh as a daisy, for which my co-workers should be very grateful. Of course, its uphill all the way back, so I do in fact get some semblance of exercise and nobody cares how sweaty I am. A Pretty Cool Route Starting at the base of the red rock canyons, I cruise down the new bike lane on Monument Road, until I reach My Own Private Bridge. Currently under construction, vehicles are required to detour the Redlands Canal Bridge, leaving it all to me and my riding pleasure. Although not quite as good as last year when I had My Own Private Road (aka Riverside Parkway) consisting of four lanes of asphalt for two miles, it’s still pretty nice to avoid the detour and the traffic. Unfortunately it looks almost complete so it wont be long before I have to share it with everyone else.

My Own Private Bridge.jpg

After crossing the canal and then the Colorado River, I hop onto the river trail which takes me to the Botanical Gardens. The river trail is awesome. Once the site of heavy industrial activity it has since been cleaned up, returned to its natural state, and provides habitat for many birds and critters. More often than not I will see a heron standing at rivers edge as I stop and check the size of the waves at the ‘Grand Junction’, the confluence of the Gunnison and Grand (Colorado) rivers.

The Piece de Resistance.

River Trail.jpg

Leaving the river trail, I follow 7th Street into the heart of downtown, and directly to the source of the absolute highlight of my entire commute. As I approach Enstrom's Candies, a mouth watering aroma of gooey melted chocolate, caramel, and other delightful confections ooze into the air. Nostrils flared like a racehorse I wait at the stop light, praying that it will malfunction for several minutes, allowing me to continue to soak that sumptuous smell into every pore of my body. Once in a while I lose total control of my bike. Completely of its own volition the bike steers itself into Enstroms parking lot and forces me to sidle up to the counter while justifying my indulgence with my pseudo workout.

Many pieces de pas de resistance.

Piece de Resistance.jpg

My Other Bike If there is a downside to my commute it is the return journey, late in the afternoon. As I labor up Monument Road, with the relentless sun beating down on me I start to question the sanity of declaring my commute the best in all Grand Junction. Not only is it much hotter and harder than the morning trip, there is no wonderful aroma to encourage me on. Even worse I am frequently embarrassed as I am passed by riders on their way to the Lunch Loop trailhead. As they sail on by riding their high-end mountain bikes I consider shouting out “My Other Bike is an Ellsworth!” which is really true, but then I feel bad for my faithful commuter bike and I don’t.

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