I did it. Today, I got rid of my last obstacle to legal bike-riding. I am otherwise a 100% street-and-bike-path-dwelling cyclist, but there was a final holdout, a single place I kept riding on the sidewalk… until today.

Why just one place? Well, it’s simple, really. Almost every street I ride on is not what I consider a “major” street in Springfield. The only “major” street between me and everywhere I ride is this little road called National Avenue, and it’s simply a street I cross, not ride along. While I legally should ride on the street wherever I go, it just seemed so intimidating to actually ride on National. When I cross on Cherry St, there’s a light, and I just go straight across.

However, there’s a spot where I frequently cross National which I can’t just “cross” the same way. Here’s a satellite image courtesy of my good friend, Google Maps.

Crosswalk on National

From home to campus, I ride in on Lombard, and from campus to home, I ride on Page. I’d have to ride on National for 10 to 30 feet to or from the crosswalk depending on which way I’m going.

Since National is full of big, scary cars, I’ve just been putting my tail between my legs and trekking up the sidewalk to get from Lombard St to the crosswalk, or from the crosswalk to Page.

No more.

No, yesterday, I claimed my liberation. After some initial tries in the last few weeks, I really did it: I rode on National. Both ways. Middle of the day. Lane changing, hand signaling: the whole shebang.

It felt good.

P.S. If you type in “National and Grand, Springfield, MO” into Google Maps and go to Street View, go a few spaces “backward,” and the car magically ends up in the Break Time parking lot, but still says it’s on the road. Gotta love Street View.