Flowering Tree at Barclay & 33rd

Looking down a street toward a busy intersection, a bright pink flowering tree in the foreground.

I got a new bicycle! It’s a blue Trek Domane AL 2, the most basic entry level road bike they had in my size at the bike shop by my house. I’ve been thinking about maybe getting a road bike off and one for years. I love my Surly, but sometimes maybe I don’t want to be riding a tank up and down the hills around here. Maybe I just want to go out for a ride with nothing on my bike but my ass and a water bottle. I certainly don’t need a road bike, but I want one, and then the local bike shop had one in my size, and after a couple of test rides, I rolled it on home to cuddle up to the Surly in the basement.

Monday I took it out for its first ride, a short one at the end of a long work day, my first after spring break. Nobody sent any work emails over the break, which meant they all came in first thing Monday morning. I spent the day glued to the computer at meetings and responding to emails and tracking down late assignments and sending my own emails–sorry, everybody. I took a break in the afternoon to do a quick food run. B. and I share a Monday task of grabbing food donations from a local grocery store and then running them down to the main distribution site for Food Rescue Baltimore in south Baltimore. The scale of what those folks do is truly amazing, and it is an honor to be a tiny half-cog in the machine.

And then it was back home, more computer staring, a short walk with the ladyfriend so she could take a computer break, too, and then finally, time to ride the new bike.

To be honest, I was a little nervous. I’m so used to my fat-tired touring bike that I found myself anxious that the skinny tires on this thing would lock into the nearest pothole and tip me right over the front. The only way to get over that fear is to ride, so that’s what I did, up my regular running route into Guilford, around Sherwood Gardens (still not in bloom, folks, but soon!), over to the Roland Avenue bike lane, and then just zig zagging around to see how it felt going up different inclines. I’ve been running this neighborhood at least twice a week for over a year, and wow, it all goes so much faster on a bike. And this one felt like a rocket ship to me, given my usual plodding pace–a pace I love, but it was just so much fun to feel and see differently.

I ended my ride the way I started it, on Barclay Street, waiting for the light on 33rd. I stopped to snap a picture of this early bloomer, just north of 33rd Street. I love the flower trees. The early ones are starting to bloom, and I am feeling a sense of hope that I haven’t felt in a long time. Sitting on that new bike and riding it around with naked legs (I didn’t have to wear leggings under my skirt, it was that nice out!) felt like being at home. I have trudged back and forth past that tree so many times over the past year, but on this day, on this ride, it felt new again, but in a most familiar way. I’m so lucky to be here and to be able to get a new bike and have a body that can ride it. As Bruce would say, ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.

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