I’ve been off the bike for quite a few days, spending them wandering around beautiful (and I do mean beautiful) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with N., checking out museums and historic sites and restaurants and views–a lovely vacation. It isn’t a vacation without at least thinking about bicycles, so here’s my report: I want to ride my bike all over Pittsburgh and its many bike lanes, but I’ll need to be in my granny gear most of the time–that place is seriously hilly. Today, though, I was back on the bike in Baltimore, zipping down the hill and around the harbor and up the other side to meet A. for an early glass of wine before turning around and going back the other way to drop off the Surly for her end-of-summer check up. I followed my regular route before taking a left on Lanvale, two-way until Calvert, when if I were a driver, I’d have to take a right. There’s a bike lane, though, so when the light turned green, I headed into the intersection. The car driving east was taking a left, and I almost got hit, and then in my swerve, I almost ran into a safety pole. It all made my heart beat a little faster, especially when I heard the driver screaming at me out of her window. She wasn’t expecting anyone to go the wrong way down a one way street, so who can blame her for assuming I was in the wrong? Sure, she could have noticed the bike lane striping or the signs explaining that bikes belong on that street, but in reality, it’s a work-around for cyclists, not something a distracted driver would notice, not something that would make sense to a person who’s maybe never ridden a bike on the street. What I want are more cyclists so it all becomes normal so I don’t have to spend quite so much time avoiding swinging doors, cars pulling through crosswalks on red, and oh, those left turns. Until that day, though, I’m going to keep riding on the defense.