It's not easy, this going home business. For 14 years I had a regular journey, Clayton Manchester to Eccles and I knew it. I knew many variants, I had favourites, I had routes suitable for different weather conditions, for different times of day, for different whims and fancies. Now I don't.
I have many many options, and I'm trying to avoid driving to work so I don't learn the cycling routes by repeating a driving commute to work. The train just doesn't offer the same ability to explore where roads go. So I'm trying really hard to become happy with my cycle routes, despite the fact I seem to have started trying to learn them and explore while it's a bit wintery and the nights and mornings are dark.
I've ridden in behind a friend twice. I didn't enjoy the A6, although admittedly I couldn't get lost on that route either. I've meandered home following the bike computer's "Surprise Me" route, and it was rather wonderful and glorious, but it did take two hours.
Today though, I have boldly dared to use cyclestreets, a website thingy specialising in cycling journeys. You put in your start and end post code and it gives you three routes, the quickest, a balanced and the quietest. I have to say it works. It actually works. It doesn't take you to stupid places unless you chose the quietest route in which case you only have yourself to blame. The quickest route this morning was free from trauma. Completely free.
The quietest route, though, this evening involved quite a bit of unlit off road, and even with lights, good lights, if you don't know quite where you are, or where you're going it's a bit unnerving. I did, however, attract a Welsh guy also commuting who escorted me effectively along rutted muddy winding woodland single track, and all was indeed rather good.