And Thursday it was back to work, and the ride took me down the hill in 14 degree temperatures to the train station, and I swear my eyeballs were going to freeze right there inside of my skull. Oh, New Orleans, I miss you and your 70 degree late February days! I folded up the bike and got off two stops later, meeting A. unexpectedly on the platform for a Brompty reunion and ride up the hill to work. We complained about the weather and the left turn traffic light that seems to work randomly. A. is secretly happy to have that mystery to keep her commute alive, she admitted. We shared our desires for a tow rope up the hill in to campus, and then I split off for a busy day at the office.
Monday was my last day in New Orleans, and I used it to bike as many places as possible. When I first moved to NOLA in 2007, there were no bike lanes. Then the St. Claude bike lane went in, and then there was one on Broad Street, and that tiny stretch of Magazine in front of the WWII Museum, and the protected bike lane out in Gentilly, and now they are all over the place, and I wanted to ride them all. I wanted to take that favorite ride out through City Park and to Lake Pontchartrain to see the bayou and look for pelicans. I wanted to get lost out in Gentilly and do laps around Audubon Park and ride the Mississippi River Trail out to the end to see what they’ve done to that riverfront park in Kenner and if that abandoned suitcase is still there. Continue reading
Everything predicted thunderstorms Sunday, but Brompty and I had things to do, and I mistakenly believed my jacket was waterproof, so we headed out between downpours for a ride to Broadmoor to see M. and D.’s new digs, including–so awesome–the baby’s room. It was an easy ride, retracing old steps on new bike lanes. I remember when the very first bike lane was installed in the city, and now the are everywhere. And there’s a new streetcar line, though that one doesn’t make much sense until you remember the Super Bowl was here. Infrastructure’s improved for industry, not residents (and this certainly isn’t just a NOLA thing), and here the industry is tourism. And I’m a tourist now, enough to get lost crossing under the I10 and just avoiding a dead end to the freeway on ramp. I took the bike lane on MLK and smaked left on Galvez, happy to have friends who moved to a neighborhood I never got to explore much. I overshot my right, dead-ended and turned around, and finally got my muddy no-fenders self to their door for breakfast and catch-up. Afterward, and after another downpour, it was back on the bike to Mid City to see R. and her new digs.all the bike lanes and streetcars in the world can’t help with this coty’s lack of drainage, so it was all avoiding puddles and small lakes there and then after back to the Treme. I meant to head straight back to S.’s house, but then I saw the dogs, so many dogs lined up for Barkus, rolling late due to weather. I remember when this was an upstart, and it still is, I guess, even if Bud Light signs welcomed me to it. And you can’t just join the parade; I watched a volunteer close the gates of Louis Armstrong park on a rather stunned gentleman and his pocket pooch. You need a “marching pass” to join a walking parade? Wow. And then the skies opened up again–my luck had run out. 20 minutes standing in the rain and it was time to thow on the towel. I pedaled “home,” a soggy mess, happy to have seen some old friends–people, pets, and problems.
I spent my Friday packing Brompty in her new suitcase and then flying slowly south to New Orleans for the first weekend of Carnival, my annual pilgrimage to this place that used to be home. It was Brompty’s first flight, and I had all the jitters of a new mom dropping her baby at day care as they took my sweet bicycle away with the rest of the checked bags. She came out fine at the other end, and oh, I was glad I brought her along for a Saturday riding all over town. I headed toward Uptown from the Treme, a ride I used to make as often as I now make the ride up the hill from the Inner Harbor. This time I was off to meet P. and C. and the rest of the gang for the day’s Uptown parades. Continue reading
Thursday dried up which made the bike commute a lot more pleasant, even if afternoon puddles did still give me a mini-stripe. I rode down to catch an early train, settled Brompty and I into our seats, and then another Brompty got on, this one tucked lovingly into the second storage slot before its rider looked at me inquiringly and asked, “Are you Kate?” Yep, that’s me! A. and I have never met, but we’ve meant to talk about our bike commutes to UMBC for over a year. Finally! Continue reading
I checked the weather reports before I left for work on Wednesday, even broke it out into 15 minute intervals, and the rain wasn’t necessarily going to fall, and if it did, maybe not until 10 at the earliest, and I was catching the 9:25 train. I did a little online shopping for the rain pants I wished I had and then rode under threatening skies to the train station. And then those skies opened up and I rethought that “I’ll get them later” moment at the bike shoppe when they asked me if I wanted to add fenders to the Brompty. Continue reading
It snowed again late Monday night into the morning–this bike commuter’s worst nightmare–but fortunately I have back up plans and excellent friends and neighbors, so I tossed a text M.’s way and got Brompty and I a ride to campus. By the time I left in the evening the new snow had melted, along with some of the old stuff, and it was a temperate pedal to the MARC train for the quick ride home. And when I say temperate, I mean it; I didn’t even wear gloves or a hat! Miracles! The side effect of all this snow and melt, though, is salt, salt, salt, everywhere. Parts of Brompty are practically encrusted, and the taste was on my lips, my tongue, my fingertips–everywhere. I rode over piles of the stuff on the way up the hill, a reminder that roads don’t get clear by themselves, and how we clear them brings its own set of issues.
Monday was crisp and beautiful, and oh it felt good to get out on a bike ride! I had errands to run, so I took the Surly and pedaled down this hill to Harbor East for some groceries before heading to Canton for a much-needed haircut (though I got the $17 hair “cut” I paid for–oh well). I hadn’t been in this part of town in awhile, because the weather’s been terrible for biking, and when it’s good, I kind of just want to go to a circle ride freely around it–Druid Hill Park, Lake Montebello, etc. Everything’s the same, mostly, and it felt good to feel at home. Continue reading
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’ve had some snow storms here on the east coast. I love a snow day as much as the next school kid/employee, but oh, it’s ruining biking for me. I don’t bike on ice or snow, because staying upright demands not changing speed, changing direction, or braking, and those are three things I’m really in to doing when I’m on a ride. I’m happy to snuggle up with candy and television for the day, but the aftermath is terrible for anybody not in a car. T Continue reading
Oh, it is cold out there. Tuesday’s ride started with many layers (and my skirt in my bag–it’s pants weather right now) and the bright idea to remember both my hat and gloves, and then Brompty and I were off to the train station. The ride from Halethorpe is all uphill, so that sharp tingling sensation of cold wind on the face faded as I slowly made my way to campus, avoiding the spots of ice and mounds of salt. I stopped a block or so away from the big intersection at Sulpher Spring Road to snap a picture of the lovely decorations on this house–Christmas lights winding around one front column and a flag affixed to another, a garland of red plastic cups hanging between the two.