I have been commuting using the same route for about three years. The ride is about 11.5 miles each way and takes 40-50 minutes depending on many things. Up until recently I have been a fair weather commuter and ridden mainly in the Summer when the days are long and I do not have to worry about darkness. Having just switched to a year round commuter I am still adjusting to commuting in the dark and still discovering the complexities in this. Riding at night is not a new think to me, I have completed many 24 hours races and used to do weekly mountain bike rides at night. What I have become more aware of is the route that I take effects how safe I feel while commuting.
I used many sources to plan my route. Seattle makes cycling maps available with information on traffic volumes and bike paths. I also used online mapping services like Google Maps to find parallel roads with less traffic. Finally I found veloroutes to be somewhat helpful in discovering new way to get around. I have been able to fine tuned my route so that I encounter the minimum of car traffic and typically in the summer I have about 30 – 40 cars total the pass me going in the same direction. Lately though I have found that this is just too many and I have been adjusting parts of my route so that I can avoid cars even more. I have found a couple parallel streets that offer brief breaks and have been using the cycling paths more. These adjustments many add a few minutes to my commute but I feel okay with that if it ensures that I make it to and from work with less risk.
Do you adjust your route depending on the season or weather?