I’ve been commuting by bike less over the last few weeks, due to a rash of social dinners with friends leaving for greener pastures. And somehow commuting less has intensified the fear I have of certain junctions on my commute. For some reason almost all of the junctions I hate are on the reverse commute. The Thomson/PIE junction is benign on the way to work probably only because I start so early that there isn’t enough traffic trying to cut me off. The rest of the hated junctions are on the part of my homeward route that takes a detour through the Bishan/Ang Mo Kio area. And I take that detour because I usually am unable to filter right into Braddell Road from Thomson Road, the traffic being too heavy. And my troubles don’t end even if I manage to filter, for on Braddell Road I still have to filter out of the two leftmost lanes that go up the flyover to Toa Payoh, a most hair-raising experience. So I used to just take a much longer and hillier route through Bishan and Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, instead of heading straight up Braddell Road and Lorong Chuan.
Last night I couldn’t filter into Braddell Road again, and due to the lapse in bike commuting recently I was more tired than usual at that point and quite annoyed that I’d have to deal with the junctions I hate (Bishan Rd/AMK Ave 1 and AMK Ave 1/CTE) and miscellaneous hills again. Annoyed enough that I decided I’d go up Bishan St 22 and back along Bishan Road towards Braddell Road, effectively backtracking. When I got to the junction of Bishan St 22 with Bishan Rd I realised I had an even better option: I could cut through the HDB estate in front of me and only come out on Braddell Road just before the Lorong Chuan junction, meaning I wouldn’t have to deal with the dangerous Toa Payoh flyover filter either! It was indeed a much nicer and safer route, which is probably now my first choice route for going home on. It actually removes about half the dread I harbour about cycling home. Yes, I do dread it; at the same time I know that I always feel much better (physically and mentally) after cycling than I do after taking the train, so it’s always worth it. It’s just a matter of persuading myself to forgo short-term comfort for mid-term well-being.