I followed the ladyfriend’s directions for Saturday’s ride: go north, get lost. It has been just two weeks since my dad was killed by an errant driver, and grief is far from over. And part of grief, I’m discovering, is an inability to make decisions. I resisted for a minute–but going north means going uphill!–but relented when she reminded me that would mean I’d be going downhill on the way home. So there I was, spinning in an easy gear up Venable Avenue, taking a right and a right and a left and a left until it was trapped with the terrible decision of taking Harford Road or Perring Parkway. I decided to ride into Morgan State’s campus instead and found myself on a bike lane over Herring Run, where I took this picture. I’ve been here before, but on this day I was just grateful to find some natural beauty in the city.
I next headed up the Walther Avenue bike lane. I love a bike lane, but on a busy road like this one, well, it still doesn’t feel exactly safe. Cars take a bit of the lane as they try to pass each other or take a curve, and for all my I-belong-here shouting, I found myself tucking over to the parking lane, because what are you going to do. I took a right and zigged and zagged around some neighborhoods, watching the giant detached homes give way to blocks of brick duplexes, the layering of unequal distribution of resources written block by block. I finally got myself lost when I used my natural wayfinding technique of taking a street until it hits another street with a name I recognize and was at the intersection of Frankford and Belair. Neither of those roads looked fun for biking, so I turned around, snaked my way back to Walther, and took it to the turn around Lake Montebello on my way home. It had been far too long since I took a ride for no reason, and I liked it.
Taking a hard route and then needing to find one’s way out of unfamiliar territory are great ways to occupy the mind creatively, especially when it thinks there is nothing creative left at the moment. Brava Nicole for the idea.