I’ve been off the bike and in the car for the past few days, on a little research foray in Virginia, E. in tow. It was all fun and games and history–Mt. Vernon, Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, the Museum of the Confederacy, the White House of the Confederacy, Tredeger Iron Works, and the American Civil War Center (phew!)–until yesterday, when the car wouldn’t start. Ugh. Long story short, I ended up having to leave the thing at the mechanic’s in Mechanicsville, VA and rent a car to drive us home. Next weekend, I will hopefully get to go back there and pick up the car and bring it back here, leaving a good chunk of my wallet there. Ugh. Continue reading
Today’s ride was a short one after a lovely, lazy holiday day with S. and her family in Damascus. I fought all my instincts to stay on my couch under layers of blankets and cats to get on the bike and ride the mile or so to Waverly and this, J.’s Christmas Bonfire. S. played her banjo, J. kept up filled with warm cider and whiskey, and the rest of us provided cheerful company. I stayed until I was too cold and tired to stay any longer, and then I rode home on silent empty streets, my face stinging with the night chill. Even the bar up the way was closed tonight. It was all quiet out there tonight as I pedaled along–my favorite moment of this surprisingly nice holiday.
It’s Christmas Eve and S. was taking me to Damascus-the Maryland one-so I headed out on my bike for an early ride. I bundled up because it is finally getting cold here and zipped down the hill. Folks were lined up under the JFX to collect holiday packages and again at the park on Baltimore, lined up for food. I continued my ride, locked up the bike, went for a swim, and then headed back up toward home. I snapped this picture while waiting at a red light. Cars, taxis, buses, and me on my bike, all of us depending on the rest of us to follow the rules, which we mostly do. I stopped to chat with E. and walked my bike for a bit, past the folks lining up on the walkway at Health Services for the Homeless. A man stopped to chat with me about the importance of bike safety, wearing my helmet, paying attention, and all that jazz. Always, I said. And then I got on my bike, headed up Fallsway, and narrowly avoided being hit by a driver who raced through the crosswalk at an intersection on her way to make a right. Yep, stay attentive at all times, and drivers, please take your time; that could have made a really terrible holiday for all of us. I made it home safely, happy to have gotten in some exercise. Before I left my house I’d read an article about how children are getting iPads for Christmas instead of toys, an it’s a terrible thing. From what I saw on my ride today, that’s not all children, and I’m thinking we’ve got bigger problems than that.
Oh, I wanted to ride my bicycle yesterday! I had a bunch of teensy errands to get done on different sides of town–the perfect time to ride a bicycle, in my book. I checked the weather and saw they were predicting steady 25mph winds with gusts at 55-60mph all day long–my very least favorite weather conditions of all–and, well, I decided to take my car. Sigh. Continue reading
Thursday’s ride took me down the hill early to meet my swim teacher for another lesson. These lessons have had me riding from Charles Village to the edge of Canton, not a trip I was used to taking, so I keep trying new routes. Today, though, I just took the straight shot down the hill, a left on Aliceanna, slight right onto Boston, and I got there in just 35 minutes, which is fast for a red-light-obeying cyclist like me. Continue reading
Today’s ride took me out first thing in the morning, down the hill and left to another swimming lesson, and wow but it was a totally different Baltimore from yesterday. Blues skies and bright sun, but I left my sunglasses at home. I squinted my way east, took the lane on Boston to keep the cars from trying to pass me (three feet people, three feet), and made it to the pool in 35 minutes. The ride back was considerably less annoying past rush hour, so I took my heavy-legged time, stopping for brunch before heading back up the hill to home. The sun was dimmer but the wind was picking up, and I found myself thinking, turn down the wind machine Baltimore, some of us are trying to ride our bicycles up the hill with the tired legs of the just-learning-to-swim already! Continue reading
I woke up to gray skies and fog that hung around all day long; Baltimore’s trapped in a cloud. One thing that means, though, is that the temperature’s mild, and in that respect it’s good for biking. I hopped on the bike after a leisurely morning and headed down the hill to run afew errands and then hit the gym for a do-over on yesterday’s swimming snafu. E. advised me to take the long way, so that’s what I did, a left on Biddle for a ride past block after block of vacants until my right on Central. Man, that avenue is nuts~it was like off-roading with all the bumps and gravel pits and narrow lanes. The minivan behind me was honking as I did my best to stay on my wet pedals and I was like, what do you want me to do? But then there was a bike lane and people and I was at the end of the street. I took a right and walked the bike behind yet another construction project and I was on the pier. I snapped this picture of boats and flags against the white background of a fog that still hasn’t lifted. I walked the bike to the bike rack at the gym, past the Johns Hopkins business school that of course occupies some of the most expensive real estate in town and Legg Mason’s “global assets.” Some people live their lives in those buildings while others are waiting at the rescue mission on Central just a mile a way, but surely it’s all about who’s working hardest, right? I swam without sputtering and celebrated with a soggy ride home. The cloud gets closer to the ground after the sun sets, it seems. Back up the hill to home, very lucky indeed.
It’s Sunday, time for another meeting of the Sunday Morning Hiking Club! Our member with a good sense of direction and the commitment to get us somewhere good was under the weather, though, leaving A., S., and I to our own devices. We didn’t go far, just heading to Hampden. After a couple of false starts we managed to get on a trail following the Jones Falls, which still runs through Baltimore, underneath all the streets and expressways named after it. Continue reading
It’s grading season in my neck of the woods, so that’s what I did until it was time to lug the Brompton downstairs for a ride to Federal Hill to meet A. for a ride to College Park and a couple more holiday parties. It was crisp and sunny out, a second consecutive day of holiday parties, and I zipped quickly down the hill on quiet streets. I hit the harbor, took my right, and rang the tiny Brompty bell as I pedaled around. I love how nimble this bicycle is, zipping around rocks in the path or zipping through that small space between the lamp post and the grass. Zip, zip, zip, I huffed and puffed my way up the hill, wishing for just a moment that I had a few more gears. Continue reading
I faced a bit of a quandary this morning. I had three places to be today, and in time constraints that meant biking was out of the question, but just barely. And it was a sunny day–first one in awhile–and that meant biking had to happen. Solution? Pop the Brompton in the back seat, drive to the first destination, bike to the second and back, and then return Brompty to the car before driving to campus. This is why they pay me the big bucks. I checked the map to figure out how to get to Canton by car and headed out for another swim lesson. 45 minutes later I was unfolding the bike and mazing my way around Canton and Highlandtown, bright sun and blue skies. Continue reading