Looking Down Charles Street from I695

Looking Down Charles Street from I695I had a ticket to the Sugarloaf Crafts Fair and decided to use it on Sunday. That’s my Day of Rest, so I didn’t feel like riding all the way out there, opting instead to take the bike on the light rail for a little weekend multimodal commuting. It was easy peasy, a station less than a mile from my house, six or so stops to a station less than a mile from the fairgrounds. There were no bike racks, but I still got to park right in front for a whirl through aisle after aisle of jewelry, wooden spoons, metal art, and homemade drink mixes that will turn that bottle of wine into a refreshing summertime slushie. I made a stop on my way out for a drink and some tater tots at the local sports-watching establishment to round out my day in Timonium, and then I headed back to the light rail station. And then a guy let me know the trains weren’t stopping at that station for some reason, I’m guessing so they could get down to Camden Yards to collect the disappointed fans from the O’s game I’d just finished watching at the bar. Sigh. I pulled out my almost-out-of-power smarty phone, did a little mapping, recited the turns in my head, and decided to just pedal home. One turn took me through a dead end parking lot before I figured out what the googleymap was trying to say, and then I was looking at this–Charles Street at 695, where there’s a bike lane once you get across there, but it made my heart skip just a bit. A bike lane on what looks like a main arterial? 3.5 miles from the Baltimore City line? Ok, green light, here we go. And oh, it was the perfect ride. That part of Charles is called a scenic byway for a reason, and it took me past mansions and tulips and last-breath flower trees and deep greens and water, and then I was on the 61 bus route, and I knew the rest of my way home. I stopped to take pictures of the parks and the historical signs letting me know that I was at the very spot where Union forces stopped the Confederates from getting any closer to the city, a spot I never would have seen if I’d just driven out to the fairgrounds, because who stops to read these signs from their car windows? I crossed the city line, took my right on Lake, left on Roland, tamped down my nearly ever-present class rage, and enjoyed the downhill zip to home in that perfect, perfect spring weather. It was good to feel worn out after finding myself just a little bit lost. But c’mon, light rail–don’t play us like that. Not everyone has a bike and nowhere in particular to be on a Sunday afternoon. Just my luck, that’s me.

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