Summer arrived today, and along with the heat and humidity it brought summer school with it, so most of today was spent prepping for class and then holding it in a chilled room on the ground floor of an otherwise empty building up on campus. I got home tired and feeling lazy, but I hadn’t been on the bike since Sunday; that just won’t do. I changed into my favorite summer riding skirt and a tank top, tossed my personal music player in my bag, and clipped in for a ride over to Druid Hill Park, because tonight all I wanted to do was listen to songs and pedal mindlessly with all the other folks out enjoying the turn of the seasons. Continue reading
A. asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride this weekend, and surprise, surprise, I did! Today’s ride took us from my neighborhood to Ellicott City and back, by way of the Gwynns Falls Trail, Patapsco Valley State Park, the Trolley Trail, and the Gwynns Falls Trail again, and oh, was it lovely. It was 0ddly a little chilly with whirling winds, so we kept our jackets on as we pedaled down the hill, around the harbor, and up through Federal Hill to pick up the Gwynns Falls Trail and a route I remember from our ride back into town a couple weeks ago. Continue reading
Thursday’s ride was a short one, just down the hill to the Mariner Center for UMBC’s undergraduate graduation ceremony. I know a lot of folks who find these ceremonies long and boring after awhile, and though I need to learn to smuggle in water and extra snacks under my gown, I still love a good graduation–pomp, circumstance, costumes, floppy hats, shiny faces, extended and even more extended families, reminders that The Children Are Our Future, and then, of course, the endless list of names. For individual graduates, though, it’s always the very first time, and I still get excited to celebrate, especially for the students I’ve had in classes or as advisees. Continue reading
R. and O. asked if we might all get on our bikes and ride around town a bit to look at different monuments and talk about what they do, and would I mind coming up with a route? It’s like these two climbed inside my head and found exactly what I wanted to do and then asked me to do it, I swear. Our ride was today, so I woke up early, made a list of a few different routes (Patterson Park or Federal Hill? Druid Hill Park or Fort McHenry? Pennsylvania Avenue or Mount Vernon?), and then rode over to the Jackson-Lee monument to meet up and discuss our options. Continue reading
I heard a rumor it was raining outside, but I figured since the weather report on my smartyphone said there was a 40% chance of rain I would probably be able to avoid getting too terribly wet, seeing as how I was only riding a couple of miles. Welp, that 40% chance was 100% chance, and the ride down Bedford Avenue on Brompty reminded me–again–that fenders are good thing if you’re going to ride in the rain. Fortunately, I don’t melt, so I just kept on pedaling and when i got to the donut shoppe to meet E. I took cover under this scaffolding, rung out the back of my skirt, and listened to the music coming from the church behind me. The thing about NYC is that there’s always scaffolding. And then there were artisan donuts and a cold, wet ride up the Franklin Avenue bike lane to home, with extra donuts in a bag for yesterday’s half marathoner. This wasn’t the best weather for a ride, but I’d still rather ride in the rain than get around any other way. Thanks, New York, for another excellent weekend enjoying your fine bicycle infrastructure.
Oh, today was just perfect. E. and I woke up early, choked down bananas and coffee, and headed over to the crowded start of the Brooklyn Half Marathon. E. has been training for this for a long time, and it’s her first race at this distance. There were 25,000 other runners all lined up in projected pace order stretching blocks and blocks down Eastern Avenue as music and aimless chatter spilled out of loudspeakers as we both jumped up and down waiting for the start. Continue reading
E. is running the Brooklyn Half Marathon this weekend, which is pretty damn cool, so Brompty and I hopped on the train to NYC to cheer her on. I love that I can just pop the bike in the overhead bin and then unfold her on the other side and ride us all down to Brooklyn. Today’s ride through Manhattan was a quick reminder of the different attitude you need to ride here to avoid the pedestrians wandering into the street, the delivery trucks, cabs, and cop cars blocking the bike lane, and the other cyclists whoosing past; let’s just say I used my outside voice a lot. The left onto the Manhattan Bridge bike path was a relief, even though it was a bit tricky to avoid that one woman with all the groceries blocking my way. Oh, but the ride up the bridge! I love the slow pedal with the cars and subways, the city getting smaller and turning into water. I snapped this picture at the halfway point. I have seen this view from many vantage points in the last 20 years, but the view from the bike is the first one that’s felt like seeing all that much. I coasted down the other side and followed my directions to Red Hook for ridiculous tacos and grits and then followed Union Avenue through Park Slope and up Eastern Parkway to Crown Heights. I could ride in Brooklyn forever, but tomorrow it will be all Brooklyn Half Marathoning for me. E. can run it, but I’ll take my bike. Oh, such fun!
It has been a light week on the bicycle–just a quick ride up and down the hill to meet N. for beer and then today’s pedal around the neighborhood–coffee shop in Remington where I saw two other weekend riders–we’re all feeling fine, that Sunday 40 was a good recovery ride, Waverly for a quick visit, and back to Charles Village to meet J. for lunch and plans. After this past weekend’s ride and the ones coming this weekend, this has been just right. I took this picture of pink flowers in someone’s yard, a reminder to slo-o-o-w down, it’s still just spring. Brompty and I take off for NYC on the train in the morning so we can pedal alongside as E. runs the Brooklyn Half Marathon–my kind of travel, and it’ll be good to get some bridge riding in. I see you, summertime, but no rush, seriously.
I’m not going to lie, when the alarms went off at 5:30 this morning I would have been happy to turn them off and go straight back to sleep. But no, I dragged myself out of bed, put on yesterday’s damp riding costume, and headed downstairs to the easy carb loading offered by the Holiday Inn Express complimentary breakfast–thanks, Jackie, for putting it out early for us! We got on buses for a ride over the bridge before collecting our bikes, slathering on sunscreen, and putting air in our tires.
Today I rode my first century, and here are some things I saw: fields and fields and fields of golden flowers; rows of just-sprouted somethings; horses playing chase with each other; chicken houses; two miniature ponies in a field that wasn’t miniature at all; swamps and marshes; purple flowers; patches of irises that I wanted to gather for my mom for mother’s day; piles of food and happy faces every 20 miles or so; a dead snake and a dead possum with his mouth open, blood still staining the road; and so, so so, many fields and farms like this one and others with waving greens. Oh, and a whole bunch of bicyclists. I saw a zillion other things too, but mostly I saw all of us kick out our miles, and even in those last 7 miles of driving rain, I was pretty much a happy clam. I could spin all day every day, so beautiful it is. We shall see how I feel tomorrow, but tonight I feel warm all over, tired and a bit addled, and altogether satisfied. Huzzah!