Today’s ride took me up to campus in the afternoon for another faculty senate meeting, and I could feel the difference regular riding is making in my stamina, and it is really exciting. I’m not scared by hills anymore, even that one that gets you up to Haverhill Road. The ride makes sense in its chunks–down the hill to Mt. Vernon and up through Bolton Hill, Lafayette through West Baltimore, South on Monroe–serious traffic today–Frederick and up the hill to Caton Avenue, Caton and Wilkens, and then finally the weird cul-de-sacs of Arbutus–et voila! I only took one wrong turn and knocked 3 minutes off my time, but what really surprised me was that I wasn’t exhausted when I got to campus, and that felt amazing. I had a ride planned in the evening with the folks from Occupy Baltimore, so I decided to save my energy and take the bus home. Yeah, I should take the bus more often, even if it means I have to hear about that woman’s divorce, because I want to live in a world with public transportation. Anyway, I met up with a whole passel of cyclists in Mount Vernon in the evening. I hardly ever ride with other people, and I often imagine I won’t like it, but I loved the feeling of a critical mass of us taking over the streets–there really is safety in numbers. I snapped this picture as we stopped at the Wells Fargo and learned about their predatory lending practices in Black neighborhoods in Baltimore, hiking up fees and interest rates on homes priced below $75,000–yet another way that the poor have to keep paying for being poor. We made additional stops at Bank of America, where you can avoid their new $5 monthly charge for using your own money, provided you have $20,000 in your account or owe them significant amounts of money, and then a stop at the Baltimore Development Corporation. So much money in so few hands used to trap so many in permanently precarious situations. Today I opened an account with my local credit union so I can say goodbye to Bank of America. It totally gave me a rush–I recommend you do the same. I was finally worn out, so it was time to climb back up the hill one more time, another good day in the books, in spite of all the ugly.