Wednesday’s ride was all commute, happily since Monday’s rain-out meant a super crowded bus ride home. It was so crowded, in that way that reminds you how relative that whole “no touching” dictum is. I mean, if the kinds of physical contact happening on that Monday bus ride were to happen at the workplace, somebody’d be out of a job. Wednesday’s ride home was a different kind of slow slog, this one taking place right after I heard that Eric Garner’s killer was not indicted. That means the grand jury didn’t think there was enough evidence for any reasonable person to even possibly find the killer guilty of any kind of crime. It sucked the air right out of me, but I had the privilege for that to be a passing feeling, and I returned to breath, shallow for a bit, but there. Continue reading
Leafless Tree at 29th & Guilford
Wednesday’s ride was all about the weather, the first commute ride of the winter season. I realized as I rode down the hill to work, the freezing wind eating away at that bit of exposed neck, that this week’s rides were mostly going to be about weather. It’s like this at the turn of seasons–a flutter in my stomach that oh no, maybe I can’t keep riding my bike all the time in more extreme weather, followed by a few rides that remind me that yes, even though a bunch of my two-wheeled counterparts put their bikes in storage for very good reasons, I don’t have to do that. I can’t, really, because I don’t have a car. And as my friend A. wisely points out, it’s way colder to stand on the corner waiting for the bus than it is to take a ride. Continue reading
Zipper Crosswalk at Eutaw & Fayette
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
Brompty Waiting on the MARC Train to Halethorpe
Ever since they started running the shuttle from downtown Baltimore out to UMBC I’ve just been taking that commute rather than taking the Brompton on the MARC train like I did last year–the shuttle’s free and easy, and I get to stretch my legs on the Surly, still my very favorite ride. It’s strange–I used to take that bike out almost every day, but now she sits quietly in the dining room collecting dust in between rides. But then it’s a Friday during October baseball, and the last thing I want to do is get caught in downtown traffic–the shuttle may feel like magic, but it’s just as prone to get caught in the cars as any other vehicle. Solution? Take Brompty on MARC like the good old days, so that’s what I did–easy peasy, the bike getting her own seat at the front of the train. Multimodal commute options FTW! And coming back into Penn Station in the afternoon made it easy for N. to pick us all up and take us home. I really never ever miss having a car–there are so many options out there that make owning my own car unnecessary. Lucky me. Could that be you too?
Missing Front Wheel From a Bike at Lombard & Greene
I haven’t been posting a whole lot lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding the bike. When it’s your means of transportation 95% of the time, you’re pretty much guaranteed a ride every day. That’s my favorite part of living car-free, and it’s working. Some highlights from the past week or so include finally getting a good ride up the Fallsway bike path again and wondering why people complain so much about being routed by the prison–at least you’re not in it, and why do we want to hide what we do to each other with all our cages? Oh, I think I know some answers to that one, and they aren’t pretty. Continue reading
University of Maryland Medical Center Campus at Lombard and Greene
It was another week of mostly commuting as I get back in the swing of on campus work again. Friday was another trip on the new shuttle, and I took that easy morning route, snaking through Waverly and Abell on my way to Maryland Avenue for a speedy straight shot down to Lombard for a right into the bus/bike lane and the few blocks to Greene. I got there early because I don’t yet know how to get to a public transit stop any other way and waited. I took this picture of the layers of old buildings against each other and idly wondered if when they were new anyone thought they’d be this old someday. Will our new buildings last like these? Did anyone argue they were ugly or out of place with the existing architecture our displaced too many people? Will someone in 100 years stare at the new casino and wonder the same things? And then the shuttle came and there were meetings and meetings and a too-long wait for the ride back and a better ride home than last time. I finally see what all the fuss is about, Park Ave. I wonder how long until this all seems the normal way to get around.
Bike Corral at Lombard & Greene
Classes started last week, just as they have for the past ten years I’ve been teaching. There’s always something different–a new syllabus or classroom, a new office or a new class blog, and always there are new students, familiar but different, and each group has to find its own chemistry. Sometimes, though, a new semester means something earth-shatteringly new that makes everything different. Like this past week, when I got an email the day before the new semester began announcing a free shuttle service between downtown Baltimore and UMBC. Wow. This is a game-changer for so many of us–or at least enough of us to justify the expense and to make them keep the shuttle line. My excitement was not without some reservation. Continue reading
Giant Bouquets at Local Color Flowers at Brentwood & 32nd
Wednesday saw the return of Brompty to the bike lineup as we headed back to campus after a month-long hiatus. I love the world the folding bike opens up for me, but this girl doesn’t have the gearing to do hills with ease, and the new commute adds two hills. That isn’t a lot, but it was enough to make me nervous about how much time I’d be adding to the commute with the move, and I was happy to have a chance to get that first go out of the way. I aired up the tires, unfolded the pieces, dusted off the seat, and was on my way, reminding myself–out loud–that I was not in a hurry. As long as I remember that I’ve got time and can sit myself in the easiest gear I need my knees can take whatever hills are there. Turns out the added mile and a half was just an extra mile and a half of flowers and how-you-doin’s and neighbors and then I was back on Saint Paul, flying down the hill to the train station in maybe 10 more minutes than from the old place–that’ll work, especially with the added bonus of taking the left lane on 33rd for a turn onto Barclay. There’s something about vehicular cycling that really gets me going, especially when I’m on Brompty. Continue reading
A Ring of Safety Cones at E. Pratt & Gay
School’s basically out for summer, minus a whole lot of grading and the part where I start teaching summer school in less than two weeks, but hey, school’s out for summer! Woot! But first: Wednesday’s meeting. The thing didn’t start til 10, so that meant I had plenty of time to ride my bike down and up the hill to meet A. for a ride out to the suburbs. The ride’s always a bit slower during rush hour even though I’m not a car, probably because I’m one of those (mostly) rule following cyclists who stops at red lights and tends not to snake up the side of cars–pass me once, and you’re done. It was a bit slower, but I also just like feeling myself a part of the traffic flow, and oh, so much better than tin canning it by myself. Continue reading
Looking out the MARC Train Window at 40 & the West Baltimore MARC Station
Sometimes I’m too tired to ride a bike because I’m not sleeping well, but that’s how I get to work, so bike I shall. And then I’m stopped outside the West Baltimore MARC station, staring out the window at cars queuing up for the slow snake back to Baltimore, and I’m relieved I never have to wait in that line, even if that means biking when I’m not in the mood or waiting at bus stops. Anything but a car, I swear.