I'm lucky enough to have a bike path* that runs almost from my house to my workplace. I don't mind cycling on the road, but it's more restful not to have to deal with the traffic at 8.30 in the morning, and the journey is definitely quicker if you don't have to wait at traffic lights.
It's almost a year since I started this job, and while I didn't tumble to the advantages of the bike path straight away, I've now cycled on it in every season. And I do appreciate it.
The lack of traffic (apart from a few other bikes, and occasionally someone walking a dog) gives me a quiet space to think. I may be pistoning along, but I don't have to worry about shooting under the wheels of a lorry. Often I've set out feeling stressed (either about J or about work, especially at the end of the day) and when I reach the other end, I've calmed down a lot.
By now, I have used the path in every season, and watched the trees bud in spring, and the verges burgeon over the edges of the path. I've seen ragwort and rosebay willowherb blooming (and pondered about why so many wild flowers seem to be yellow or purple). I've zigzagged to avoid running over snails on rainy summer days. More recently I've seen students gathering brambles and watched the trees change colour and the leaves drop.
I've also seen animals: mostly the usual birds you might see in your garden, but also pheasants, a wren, ducks, herons, and what may have been an owl (it was a summer evening, and SOMETHING biggish and tawny flew over the wall). There's a loch not far away. I've also seen a dormouse, not sleeping but running across the path early in the morning.
It gets dark about half past four here at the moment, so I'll only be using the path in the mornings for the next while. I'm still glad to have the chance to escape the traffic, even if it's only one way.
* I used to refer to this as a cycle path, but after more than one occasion when the person I was talking to has misheard it as "psychopath", I've stopped. I definitely do not use a psychopath to get to work in the morning.