My office building in Midtown Kansas City is 26.7 miles from my home in rural/suburban Johnson County. A long commute here, not for some of you in other parts of the country. I’ve been thinking about attempting a bike commute, today I had my chance.

My trusty Sprinter Van, the Lshack, was due to be winterized, a sure sign that summer was over. Instead of calling Uber, I brought along my bike. Sunny and 50 degrees, let’s do it! My RV shop is in a commercial/industrial area that has seen better times. They have had an ambitious road improvement plan in place; sadly, the plan doesn’t  include bike lanes. Local merchants including a BBQ joint, fought against the lanes. That joint is now a gun shop, some type of Karma had to be involved.

I dropped off the Sprinter, donned my fluorescent green helmet and saddled up. I left the spandex at home and wore some stretchy jeans with narrow legs that surprisingly, worked pretty well. Heading Eastbound on Merriam lane took me into a short section of Kansas City, Kansas (no, the Royals don’t play in Kansas, they are in Missouri). My route took me through a recently completed, like completed yesterday construction project, across heavily used railroad tracks which ran at a severe angle to the road. I carefully navigated the tracks at 90 degrees to avoid a spill. There was a great deal of debris and I wondered if a had a spare tube in my saddle bag, and then realized it was on another bike. I received a jaunty hello from an older gentleman (even older than me), who had a large stick in his belt and was walking a junkyard dog. Talk about being prepared.

As I cruised along Southwest Blvd and entered Kansas City, Missouri I encountered new bike lanes. The lanes worked great until the lane I was in was switched to accommodate a right turn lane. Drivers seemed perplexed by this road addition as I ducked and weaved to get from my lane to make a right turn. Maneuver accomplished, I soon entered Roanoke Park which is heavily treed with picturesque rock formations. It is hilly (yes, there are hills in Kansas City). The roadway turned to cobblestone which I bounced over on an uphill grade. As I neared the top of the climb, Greta the dog rushed up and licked my right ankle which was extended downward as I was unclipping. I know the dog’s name because the young woman who owned the dog was screaming it loudly. Greta must have found me much more interesting. No bite, no blood, no foul.

I carefully picked the rest of my route after leaving the trendy 39th street corridor. I arrived soon afterwards at my building and documented my trek photographically. This afternoon I reverse course to go get the Lshak. Total trip plus or minus 16 miles. A little sweaty but very satisfied by this new adventure. Could easily become a Friday tradition.

Vance Preman

Vance is both a bicyclist and a bicycle accident lawyer in both Kansas and Missouri. He understands the needs of cyclists and has helped many with their claims and cases. Vance is very involved in the cycling community and sponsors many cycling events. He is on the Board of the KC Metro Bike Club, advisory committee of MO Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, and frequently serves as an educator and lecturer. Vance is a member of the Bike Law nationwide network for Kansas and Missouri.

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