May 12, 2007

Bicycle commuting around Baltimore

I'm a pretty avid cyclist, and I enjoy commuting to work on my bike. For the past couple of years, I’ve been attempting to compile a list of routes that I use to get around the Baltimore area on my bike. I’d rather avoid driving my bike somewhere to ride, so I’m always looking for ways to jump on my bike at my back door. It’s a little more difficult to find good routes for a city dweller like myself, so I'll be posting them here from time to time in case anyone is interested.

The first 18 miles of this route represent my standard commuting route for the past couple of years. It starts out on the Gwynns Falls Trail, heads out Frederick Rd towards Catonsville, Once through Catonsville, I head south on Hilltop Rd, across the Patapsco river and up Ilchester Rd towards Columbia. The big challenge of this ride comes around mile 11. Heading out, you have to climb an 18 percent grade up the first part of Ilchester. The way home has a similar climb up Hilltop. A more scenic and easier climb up Bonnie Branch Rd. is also an alternative. Normally I’ll ride home the same way, but on weekends I often take the loop route home. The only major difficulty is dealing with the I 95 interchange off of 175, which is much lighter in traffic on the weekend. Mileage to work is about 18, total milage is around 41.


Tom Bujold said...

Hello --

Looking to start commuting to Catonsville from Patterson Park via the Gwynns Falls Trail...saw here that you've been doing the commute for years. Has that section of the ride been safe for you? Drove some of the street parts the other day and it looked a little rough...don't want to get bike-jacked!!

-- Tom

Paul Franceus said...

Hi Tom-

Actually I haven't lived in Baltimore since 2007, so I can't comment on current conditions.

Yeah, you are going through some roughish parts of town but I think in general people are going to leave you alone. All the time I commuted I never had a problem once.

The paths are well travelled and so I think you'll be OK.

In the morning, it's generally uphill and there are not many people out.

In the afternoon it's really fast and you get through town in no time because it's almost totally downhill from Catonsville to the trail.