For my most usual way home from work downtown, I take a bit of a meandering ride down Broadway or College, up Elm, across NW Blvd, cut over to Nettleton for a few blocks, then over to and around Audubon Park, past the elementary school, then C Street to Driscoll. It's an easy paced after work ride.
One of my alternate routes is through Riverfront Park, up Howard and Post Streets, to Garland and then Driscoll. It's a quick route because there's a bike lane on Howard and there are long stretches of unbroken straightaway riding with no uncontrolled intersections. You can keep a fast pace if you want. There's no waiting for traffic to clear to cross NW Blvd, because you cross Indiana instead which has a stoplight. The streets are wide, and I can ride further away from the curb for better visibility. But the streets are also busier and one has to stay alert.
There are a few intersections I don't like, Garland/Belt and Driscoll/A Street, where there's heavy right turn traffic when I'm going straight. I find at these intersections it helps do do a lot of checking behind - turning my head and looking behind - to hopefully let drivers know of my intentions or make sure there's not someone about to pass me and then turn right in front of me.
Here's a ride-along, a little tour of North Spokane:
Howard Street just after Riverfront Park. I have a list of intersections in my head where drivers are most likely to run the stop sign as I'm approaching, and this is one of them.
Howard Street and Boone. The bike lane is a little sketchy here and jumps around for the next few blocks as it disappears, then it's next to the curb, then it's to the left of the parking lane.
North Central High School, before Indiana
After Indiana. Not real fond of this section, as the parked cars block your view of cars crossing at the intersections, and vice versa. Best to keep the speed down here.
The Post Street Hill. It sure looks and feels steeper and longer in real life.
After reading about an off-road option up Post in Stine'sWorld-Stine'sWorld, I searched for a shortcut up to Garland and found instead a longcut. Halfway up the hill, there's a switchback that cuts out about a block's length of Post and is about 4 times as long and just about as steep. It gets you out of traffic, at least.
Back on Post.
After the above, there's a right turn, a left, and then left on to Garland. The intersections are incredibly bumpy and rough. It's narrow, traffic is busy but slow, so I stick to the middle of the lane. It almost feels like riding in a big city. Luckily, I've read The Art of Urban Biking, by Robert Hurst.
another thing about Garland - there's some spots to stop and get an after work refreshment - milkshake, beer, caffeine, fancy cocktail. Or catch an early movie.
Just before the aforementioned Garland/Belt intersection. I go straight, a lot of vehicles turn right to go up Belt.
Then it's straight past Alberta, taking Garland all the way to Driscoll.
Driscoll and C Street. Almost home.
I take this route when I need a change of scenery or want to ride faster. Today I took my usual way home and it was a nice relaxing ride. Now that it's staying light out longer, I'm looking forward to taking some other alternate routes home - like the River Trail to get some off-roading in.