As I become more comfortable on my bike, I’m a also more comfortable when my rides include spending time on the roads. Changing my mindset from feeling like an interloper to knowing that I have as much right to be there as anyone else has made all the difference. I call it my “owning the road” mentality. Riding like I belong there has turned fear into a healthy respect for road travel. However, it doesn’t mean that I am fearless. I am all too aware of my vulnerability against cars and trucks so I exercise great caution, wear bright clothing, use my lights in flash mode on cloudy or overcast days, follow the rules of the road scrupulously, and am hyper vigilant of my environment. Always at the forefront of my mind is the fact that there are drivers out there who don’t pay attention or worse, have no respect for my right to share the road. It’s just the way it is when you’re on a bike.
No matter how comfortable I am on the roads though, I always breathe a bit easier when my journey takes me back to the trails where I can relax and enjoy the relative peace and quiet of riding under the trees—something that not even the quietest road can offer.