I haven’t been on my bike much this week, heeding my body’s request for rest. My longest ride was Sunday, first to meet friends for brunch, and then to check out the new bike lane on Central. The ladyfriend drove alongside it and promised I’d love it. She was absolutely right. I took the Monument Street bike lane, a right on Central, and for awhile was sharing the lane with drivers. And then, like a mirage, the widest bike lane I have ever seen emerged. The asphalt is still riding like it’s brand new, and I stretched out, big smile, thank you for these blocks of safe riding, Baltimore!
And then the lane ends, and I was back in the ol’ bike lane right next to parked cars, dodging drivers who are just going to sit here in the bike lane for a minute, promise, hazards on, go around. Drivers who don’t ride bikes don’t understand how frustrating this is, or how dangerous. Going around means putting myself back in the lane with cars and drivers who aren’t expecting me to be there. I want stickers that say, “Please don’t park in the bike lane. This is all we have.” I want to put them on the windows of cars that do this. I won’t do that, and I also won’t carry a bag of bricks to throw at drivers who almost hit me. These are my fantasies, but I know I just have to ride defensively and wish for more road design that slows traffic, and for more bike lanes like this new protected one on Central.
I kept riding south until I could do an up and around visit to Harbor Point. They’re building a couple new giant condos there now, and I wonder how people who live in that first condo feel about the buildings blocking their water views. I mean, kinda wonder, but also don’t really care. There’s something about this neighborhood that brings me to a quick anger. So much money poured in to build on a toxic site, and why do they get a fancy Whole Foods and a bunch of other amenities while so much of the city can barely get groceries?
I took my class rage and turned around to head back up the hill and over to Druid Hill Park to see if their tennis courts could also be pickleball courts, like a website called Pickleheads said they were. I rode north and east and north and east, passing through so many other kinds of class rage, including through my neighborhood that surely invokes it for others. I zigged and zagged around Old Town Mall. I hadn’t been through here in a minute, and yep, big ol’ condos are going up here, too, in the shadow not of other condos, but of this old mall. I wonder what the market rate will be here, and who will get a spot. Is this public housing? Affordable? I need to do some looking around, but on this ride, I just noted the sharp differences between the two construction zones–different backgrounds, different futures, different contact zones activated.
And then I continued my ride north to the park. It was packed on this sunny and cool Sunday afternoon, and I loved seeing my neighbors having birthday and graduation parties, a drum circle, playing tennis, running, biking, playing and watching basketball, sitting in circles under trees, and smoking pot in their parked cars with the windows rolled down, music blaring. I love shared space that gives so much room for us to relax in the ways we each choose.
So yeah, those were tennis courts, and you could totally play pickleball there, but it would be playing pickleball on a tennis court. I texted this news to my friends looking to pickleball in the city (the courts at Dumbarton Middle School are great), zipped around the park a bit, headed home. Spring riding is the best, and I look forward to longer rides in the coming days, as my body allows.