I recently altered my commuting route to include more back roads at the cost of adding only a few miles to the round trip. The ride is now much more enjoyable, as if it were a ride I’d choose to take on a weekend rather than a commute.
The new route takes North Road through Great Brook Farm State Park, which has rolling hills and is mostly tree covered with a few open areas like the one pictured below.
On the ride home I take the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail from Bedford up to Billerica. It is unpaved and I rarely encouter other bikes though walkers and joggers are not uncommon. The surface is well packed for most of its length and it rides like a dirt road.