The weather report for the end of the week was all rain, so I grabbed an hour on Wednesday to sneak in a bike ride around town before everything got all wet. I know, I know, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing, but I hate riding in the rain if I can help it. My brakes don’t work as well, drivers are even more bananas than usual, and once my glasses get wet, I can’t really see. The older I get the more likely I am to choose my mode of transportation or exercise based on pleasure rather than what I think I should be doing. It is a gift of getting older to care less what other people (by which I mostly mean my internal high school principal) think about what I’m doing. And I can’t tell you how happy I was when my stepmom gave me my dad’s bike tour journal, where he clearly chose to stay in hotels sometimes to avoid the rain and charge his cell phone. If you knew my dad, you know he was a purist about many things, so learning he wasn’t always that way was a real treat.Continue reading
The spring semester started this week, and for me, teaching started Tuesday. That means I’m back on my bike commute after six weeks of working from home. It is a huge relief. I love not having to commute into the office, but after a few weeks of that, I miss just being around people. I know many white collar folks who can work from home want to keep doing that, but I like being in person with people, especially with students. And I think there is real value in being together with students in the flesh to talk about ideas.Continue reading
Tuesday’s bike ride was the usual–down the hill and to the left to the University of Maryland Medical Center, locked my bike to the racks near the door and under the overhang to protect my fancy seat from forecasted rain, and then I walked over to Pratt and Light to catch the shuttle to campus. My commute takes forever, but the good part is that it gets me outside first thing in the morning, heart pumping, legs moving, eyes up and out.
The heat’s turned back on in Baltimore, which made me all the happier to end my bike ride in Canton for another session in the cryotherapy chamber. The ride down was easy breezy now that I knew where I was going and didn’t have to check my phone for directions. I headed down Guilford, veered left for the protected cycletrack along Fallsway, walked my bike as instructed to the sidewalk just past Fayette before pedaling south and east and south and east until making a couple of wrong turns and ending up at my new favorite summer spot for freezing myself. I was all flush with that feeling of gratitude that I can ride a bicycle–it really is the very best.
I was in Austin, Texas all week last week, there to learn some basics of computer programs used in the digital humanities. I was anxious before I left, worried that I’m an old dog that can’t learn new tricks. I’m an impatient bird, and when things get frustrating, I have a tendency to give up. Computers are frustrating; could I hack it, so to speak?
I could, and I did, and I had an amazing week, the most focused and interesting week of learning in memory. I didn’t want to leave, even though by the end of it I wanted nothing more than to be at home. It was hard work, 9-5 in classes, and before and after tending to one or another of my three other jobs at the moment. I didn’t think I’d find time to get in a bike ride, but Austin has a bike share system, and it seemed a shame to pass it up. I choked down a quick lunch on Wednesday and had exactly 40 minutes to get to a bike, ride around, and get back to class.
Today’s ride took me down the hill to work, as per usual, and then back up the hill to home. I took this picture of signs outside the University of Maryland parking garage at Eutaw and West Fayette. No Trespassing Violator Prosecuted, but also, bicycle air is in there. I had a couple of thoughts: first, what a great thing to know, that there’s air here, in case I ever need some. Continue reading
I spent the week riding my bike mostly to and from work, getting used to the cold weather. Turns out it’s still not that cold, but if it’s early enough, I need my windproof gloves. And it gets dark early, so I’ve got to bring the ol’ blinky safety vest with me every morning. The ride to and from has gotten normal, the way commuting routes get normal. I’ve got my frustrations–that the lights in Waverly and Charles Village aren’t timed for my bike, the rutted asphalt of Maryland Avenue–and my favorites–catching the light at the bottom of the hill coming into Mount Vernon and the block between Howard and Eutaw on Monument that I only see because of this new commute. Continue reading
Today’s ride started at the bike shop for a new helmet, and oh my, what a pleasure it is to have a local bike shop. I tried on some lids and had a completely lovely chat about helmet philosophies and training diets (she prefers the ice cream program over my pizza plan) before setting off for a roll down the hill. I meant to go to the Kinetic Sculpture Race, a most wondrous festival of giant floats on bicycles, racing, but in spite of the obvious pleasure of that sort of event for a person like me, I just wasn’t in the mood for crowds. Instead, I biked down through Little Italy and up Bank Street toward Patterson Park. I snapped this picture of an empty and overgrown lot for sale just before Caroline. The part where this spot can exist mere blocks from the hyperdeveloped areas of Harbor East and Fells Point blows my mind, as a newcomer to the city, anyway. I didn’t live here when they decided to build so much public housing downtown, when all the rich people were taking the new highways to the booming suburbs. I live in Baltimore now, when there’s a reversal, and downtown is being developed as live-work-tourism space. I wonder what the city will do with areas like this, Perkins Homes, as the real estate becomes more valuable. For now, this spot is offered by Fells Point Realty, perhaps a sign that that neighborhood’s creeping north. The way things look now, I will be here to watch those developments. The rest of my ride was all a marvel at wispy clouds, ridiculous blue skies, brilliant greens, and a traffic jam of bikes on the Fallswat heading home. Yep, spring is here. Lucky, lucky us.
Oh, Friday, I looked forward to you all week. My winter class and my own research and writing have been getting in the way of doing nothing, but I reserved Friday for just that. They promised a warm one, and I missed the “90% chance of rain” memo, so I set out without gloves, hat or raincoat. Oh well. I zipped down the hill in fog for a quick stop in Harbor East and some laps in the pool. Swimming is turning out to be just awesome. Right now it’s all about concentrating on my breathing, and since I’m a beginner, I’m getting better really, really fast. And then it was back on the bike~a quick nod to the bike that has been locked to that one rack since September~and I was on my way around the harbor and up to Locust Point for the ol’ sandwich-massage-and-a-haircut hat trick. By the time I headed back home it was raining, so I just tested my brakes and then rode as fast as I could, taking shortest route instead of the one signed for bikes. I stopped on Light Street to snap a picture of the Warrior Emporium, a place that specializes in cutlery and martial art supplies, of course. It’s a perfect combination, but it just kind of feels weird. There’s a hardware store next door, another place that secretly kind of has everything~drawer pulls, nails, cat carriers, soda, and everything. What a block, eh? Every shopper’s dream. By the time I made it over to Fallsway it was really coming down, so I put my head down and sped home, still quite certain Friday was worth all the hype.
Thursday’s ride took me down the hill early to meet my swim teacher for another lesson. These lessons have had me riding from Charles Village to the edge of Canton, not a trip I was used to taking, so I keep trying new routes. Today, though, I just took the straight shot down the hill, a left on Aliceanna, slight right onto Boston, and I got there in just 35 minutes, which is fast for a red-light-obeying cyclist like me. Continue reading