It is April in February, which means many days of breaking my father’s rule to never start a bike ride in the rain. That’s generally good advice, but that would mean a whole lot of time waiting for buses, and when the weather keeps spitting rather than downpouring, I’m generally up for the risk. I’ve been riding in lots of rain, just with my raincoat on and that little cycling cap that I used to think people wore to look cool when riding a bike, but which I now understand is pitched just right to keep the rain off my glasses. So yeah, I’ve been looking like a cyclist lately, and one willing to get soggy in order to maintain some modicum of control over where I’m going, and when I’m going to get there.
This week’s rides have been complicated by the amount of energy I’ve expended trying to avoid the giant piles of horse shit Baltimore City mounted police have been leaving in the Centre Street and Fallsway bike lanes. I snapped this picture of a pile that has been ridden through and pounded down for a bit. I rode around it, because I don’t want that shit in the treads of my bike tires smelling up my basement when I get home. Rain won’t wash them away either. There was a slowly decaying pile over at Fallsway and Eager or Chase for like seven months last year. So I just go around, and wait.
I spend a lot of time on my bike going around and waiting. Just this morning I went around an oil delivery truck, innumerable pedestrians, a car that wanted to take a left while pretending I wasn’t there, two people in motorized wheelchairs, wet gravel and wet steel plates, and two cars parked in the cycletrack. A lot of time I’m happy to go around. Sharing the lane with walkers, scooterers, wheelchair users, and joggers is fine with me. I ding my bell and am grateful we all have a safer place to be than in the street with cars.
But cops? Going around their shit, the shit they can’t be bothered to pick up? I hate it. I hate the way being a cop means not only do laws not apply to you, but basic decency in our shared spaces doesn’t either. It’s not like they don’t notice they are leaving shit in these lanes. Am I supposed to clean it up for them? Take the time to report it to the city so other city workers have to do it? It’s a small thing, but it matters. So many reminders, at every level, in annoying and also brutally violent ways, that the police just run in a different lane. They leave their shit everywhere, and learning to go around isn’t helping.