Bicyclists Speed Limit Sign in the Trees Along the B&A Trail Near Pasadena

Bicyclists Speed Limit Sign in the Trees Along the B&A Trail Near PasadenaA long ride was on my calendar today, so even though I really just wanted to laze on my couch and watch college basketball and looking at cats, I strapped the Surly onto my car and drove us out to BWI for a ride around the airport and off toward Annapolis. I’ve already figured out that 2-3 hours on the bicycle’s a teensy bit boring, especially when you’re treading the same ground you did three days ago, so I put some podcasts on my portable listening box to take along with me. Continue reading

Pier Into the Bay at Middle Branch Park

Middle Branch Park PierOh yes, it’s spring break, and I need it, badly. I have a zillion things to get done this week, but this weekend I am going to take a much needed actual vacation, and it started with a bike ride on a relatively warm day, in and out of the wind. I hopped on the Surly and headed down the hill, a quick stop for bike gloves and and then for a sandwich, and I was on my way to the Gwynns Falls Trail and a ride over to Middle Branch Park. I took my time, pedaling slowly into the wind–every direction was a headwind today, it seemed–and enjoying the sights. Continue reading

End of Horse Route at the B&A Trail & Boulter’s Way

End of Horse Route at the B&A Trail & Boulters WayI had to go to campus today for a meeting and then another meeting, and my strong desire to not go to campus meant I had to bribe myself, so I popped the Surly on the back of the car and drove us there with the promise that we could ride the trail out to Annapolis after work. Rather than park at the airport, I drove to the start of the B&A Trail, taking the long way because I didn’t plan my route beyond “drive toward the airport.” Continue reading

View Down the Williamsburg Bridge Heading Back to Brooklyn

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It was practically springtime in New York today, I swear, and lucky me had the day free and my sweet little bicycle to ride about town. I carried the Brompton down four flights, unfolded it, and 15 quick minutes later I was eating chewy yeasted donuts with E. and comparing notes on bikes, gentrification, and reality television. I let her take Brompty for a quick spin and then I headed toward the Manhattan Bridge-the Brooklyn’s too busy, and I love the separation of bikes and peds on that thing. I pedaled my way up the hill of the bridge and felt simply joyous. I know, cheesy, right? But that’s how it feels to zip along in the sky, looking over the pure density of this place. And then I was unceremoniously dumped into Chinatown. Fellow bikers were zipping by me to run the red lights, cars were pulling into the bike lane and unceremoniously throwing open doors, and pedestrians were running willy-nilly into the streets–oh, city noise! Get me back on the bridge, back to safety! I negotiated the buzz, enjoyed a lovely afternoon with J., swapping reading lists and stories about local politics in a variety of locals, and then it was back on the bike and following the signs to the Willaimsburg Bridge. This one is also divided for cyclists and pedestrians on our own level above the cars and subways, and oh my, it is such a treat. Please make all bridges double decker thank you very much. I let the bike lanes take me home, a lovely end to a lovely weekend of biking around NYC.

View Down the Shore Bikeway at Erskine in Brooklyn

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Yesterday’s ride was a short one-down the hill to Penn Station on the Brompton for our ritzy train ride up to NYC. Best laid plans to ride across ALL THE BRIDGES were spoiled by a snowy deluge-this cat does not ride on ice- but today it was warm, sunny, and breezy, just perfect for a ride. I wrote down directions from Crown Heights to Jamaica Bay so I could see water, and off I went. My map took me out Eastern Parkway on its busy bike/ped path where you can see the segregated neighborhoods switch over by who is sitting on the benches to a right onto Rockaway’s buffered bike lane filled with glass and double parked cars, and then through the scrap metal district leading to that Brooklyn that looks like Queens to me, all single-family homes with awkward awnings and the lattice work that looks like it’s done with bed poles-you know what I mean if you’ve seen it. I dodged some hairy traffic back on Rockaway, but then I was on the bike/ped path that hugs the shore of Jamaica Bay, and oh, it was smooth sailing. It is still obvious that Hurricane Sandy was here, and much of the ride was sandwiched between the KEEP OUT signs of rebuilding and the cars speeding by on the Belt Expressway. I pedaled out until the path disappeared, got lost in Queens due to my tendency to follow a bike lane no matter what, and then I was 12 miles out, taking a break, performing a quick shifter repair, saying my good mornings to this particular set of dogs, and wondering when they’ll rebuild all the tiny piers outside the homes at 165th Ave. and 99th Street. The ride home was into the wind but worth it as I retraced my steps, and this spot, at least, was downhill. Pedaling along under the NYC sun, yep, I am pretty lucky. Lesson learned again: it is always worth it to take your bike along if you can.

Iron Fencing Around the Druid Hill Park Reservoir

Fence Around the Reservoir at Druid Hill ParkAfter my chain snapped on Monday I took the bike in for a day at the spa. Wednesday was a wash, but today I finally got to go for a ride again. The Surly was all fancy pants–new handlebar wrap, new water bottle holders, a shiny clean drive train, and new shifter cables and housing– and it was a treat. Continue reading

Broken Chain in the Board of Ed Parking Lot at Guilford & North Ave.

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And then some days you set out for a short recovery ride up to Federal Hill for a sandwich and a massage, but you make it less than a mile before the chain just flies right off the bicycle. Shifting has been a bit wonky for the last few rides, and I swear I was going to clean her innards soon, but alas, too late for that. I ran us home, took the car for errands, and then all of us went to the bike shop. The Surly’s going to spend the night and get a tune-up, drivetrain clean, new bar wraps, two new water bottle holders, and a new rear rack to finally replace the sad panda rack that has been broken and rattling since we got hit by that car two years ago. Sometimes your girl let’s you know she needs a little tlc, and this one surely deserves a spa day.