Friday, March 21

Bike Routes in Portsmouth? (Part 1)

One of my favorite things about biking is exploration--finding new routes that I've never taken before. As I headed out for a ride this week, I decided to investigate the bike lanes on Maplewood Ave, and see where they lead. I'd heard rumors about some sort of bike trail or something that leads across Pease Tradeport in to Newington, but had never looked in to it, and assumed the bike lanes were a part of that.

The bike lane wasn't terribly well-marked, and ended abruptly after a short while. A nearby sign reading "Bike Crossing" lead me down a residential by-road which came out on to the ominously-trafficked (This was five-o'clock on a Thursday afternoon) Woodbury Ave, which featured the bike line shown above. Now, I'm not a shy rider; I know how to handle adverse road conditions, but I did think it was a little ironic that the arrow pointed directly in to a pothole.

Shortly thereafter, the bike lane came to an end again. Looking around, I saw it, just barely down a side street: A real bike-road; wow! I felt like a kid at the gates to Disney World. Where could this lead? Was this a worm-hole shortcut, a tesseract leading me to some kind of joyful, car-free cycling utopia?

The road was smooth, the grade was downhill, and the wind was at my back as I bombed over a little bike-only bridge, which lead to another sensually-curved bike path segment. The path really was quite sexy, but like most sexy things, ended too soon. I was left off at the business end of Pease Tradeport (literally). There weren't any more bike lanes once I reached Pease, but the shoulders were wide, the roads were well-maintained, and there were encouraging bike-emblazoned roadsigns every so often.

The road went past a few of the major businesses at the Tradeport: John Hancock, Loftware, the National Passport Center, etc. I followed the bike signs in a large loop around the area. Had I found the end of the road? Was this the ultimate purpose of the bike path? A shortcut from Portsmouth's major residential area of greater downtown to Portsmouth's major commercial zone of Pease Tradeport? Was this just a commuter lane, or was it . . . something more?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in next week's thrilling conclusion!

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