Baltimore Bicycle Works on Falls Road, Just Off Lafayette

Today’s bike ride took me down the hill to meet C. for a long-overdue lunch. Part of St. Paul was closed for road construction, and before I even got to Mt. Royal cars were starting their pointless honks, because when you’re in a car you just have to wait, but on a bike you can just skirt around, which I did, ending up on the other side of the construction all by myself. I took a right, locked up, and ate just enough at the buffet while we talked about what we’ve been thinking about lately and how much we both like the beach. I left the bike for a short walk after lunch before seeing C. off to work and heading to the bike shoppe to drop the Surly off for a well-earned spa day. As I walked back up the hill to home, helmet in hand, I thought about how much has changed since I wrote my first blog post about what I saw riding my bike around (this is my 1,000th!). I started the blog mostly to force myself out of my own head, to make me pay attention to what I was riding on and through and by on my bicycle rides to help me make sense of my own built environment, because streets and neighborhoods and cities look the way they do because of choices and struggles and resolutions of crises, not because of some natural inclination to design. The blog also helped me to keep my commitment to ride my bike everyday for fun and health and because oh-god-don’t-make-me-park-a-car-or-wait-for-a-bus-or-stay-home-all-the-time. Oh, and also I was getting over a broken heart, which is almost impossible to do if you don’t get your eyes away from your own navel–it totally worked. See how good bicycling is for everything? 1,000 blogged rides later and biking is just my default way of getting where I’m going, even though I have a car, and that’s good for me and The Earth. I write almost every day for pleasure which has made writing for work so, so much easier; it’s good to get your own voice back. I’ve let my interests in geography and streets and cities and “planning” and neighborhoods become the stuff of my professional life, too, and that’s been a total joy, like finding your home–a big deal for those of us who find ourselves moving around all the time. As long as there’s a bike and a surface to ride on, I’m all good. I’ve met people I never would have met, just because we both like bikes. I’ve “met” people from all over the world just because we both like bikes and writing about bikes on the interwebs. I am a curious person by nature, I think, but biking and writing about those bike rides have enabled that curiosity, big time, and I’m feeling pretty lucky today. Here’s to getting the bike back tomorrow from the nicest bike shop of the many bike shops I’ve visited in the past several years, and here’s to a thousand more rides on streets known and unknown.

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