I haven’t been riding my bicycle much for the past two weeks, partly due to being out of town and partly due to having sole possession of a car for a whole entire week. I learned a lot that week–namely that you can go much farther much faster in a car, and it’s amazing how quickly I’ll take the easy way out, even if that means paying a few bucks for parking. Good thing I mostly don’t have a car, because I’d rather ride a bike, even if I forgot that for a few days.
It was just too windy to stop riding, get off my bike, and snap a picture on my ride home yesterday. It was that kind of wind where you drop down your gears and still find yourself pedaling–downhill. Whatever the conditions, though, just keep pedaling and you’ll get there–best not be in a hurry. So that’s what I did on my way home yesterday from a Friday in meetings followed by a beer and catching up with N, the first week of another new semester in the books. What did I see? Lots of stuff, but what I really saw was the mix of gaudy architecture with plain stacked concrete on the Westside, and on the way home, that brown Volvo parked about four cars down from 23rd Street on Guilford. Continue reading
I had a ticket to the Sugarloaf Crafts Fair and decided to use it on Sunday. That’s my Day of Rest, so I didn’t feel like riding all the way out there, opting instead to take the bike on the light rail for a little weekend multimodal commuting. It was easy peasy, a station less than a mile from my house, six or so stops to a station less than a mile from the fairgrounds. There were no bike racks, but I still got to park right in front for a whirl through aisle after aisle of jewelry, wooden spoons, metal art, and homemade drink mixes that will turn that bottle of wine into a refreshing summertime slushie. I made a stop on my way out for a drink and some tater tots at the local sports-watching establishment to round out my day in Timonium, and then I headed back to the light rail station. And then a guy let me know the trains weren’t stopping at that station for some reason, I’m guessing so they could get down to Camden Yards to collect the disappointed fans from the O’s game I’d just finished watching at the bar. Sigh. Continue reading
As soon as I slung my leg over my bike and clipped into my right pedal I felt like myself again, and I couldn’t help but dodge back and forth in the lane, doing that little dance of welcome home. Oh, it was good to get on the bike and race down the hill and up again, for the sweet treat of coffee and talk with two of my favorite nerds, E. and R. Afterwards R. and I lingered to talk about bikes and girls and things, and then I was off toward downtown and the Gwynns Falls Trail. Continue reading
Some days you just need to get out of town, and today was one of those days, so I dragged myself out of bed at an entirely reasonable hour, carried Brompty down the stairs, and zipped to the train station for a ride to Our Nation’s Capitol. Lucky me, I bumped into S. on her way to the archives. We don’t know each other well, but we always have a good conversation, and today was no different. The ride was quick with discussions of summer reading lists, how history is activism, why your community engagement might maybe be best if it engages with your actual community, and how much harder is is to do work when you know you are exploited labor, even if you love what you do. Continue reading
It was practically springtime in New York today, I swear, and lucky me had the day free and my sweet little bicycle to ride about town. I carried the Brompton down four flights, unfolded it, and 15 quick minutes later I was eating chewy yeasted donuts with E. and comparing notes on bikes, gentrification, and reality television. I let her take Brompty for a quick spin and then I headed toward the Manhattan Bridge-the Brooklyn’s too busy, and I love the separation of bikes and peds on that thing. I pedaled my way up the hill of the bridge and felt simply joyous. I know, cheesy, right? But that’s how it feels to zip along in the sky, looking over the pure density of this place. And then I was unceremoniously dumped into Chinatown. Fellow bikers were zipping by me to run the red lights, cars were pulling into the bike lane and unceremoniously throwing open doors, and pedestrians were running willy-nilly into the streets–oh, city noise! Get me back on the bridge, back to safety! I negotiated the buzz, enjoyed a lovely afternoon with J., swapping reading lists and stories about local politics in a variety of locals, and then it was back on the bike and following the signs to the Willaimsburg Bridge. This one is also divided for cyclists and pedestrians on our own level above the cars and subways, and oh my, it is such a treat. Please make all bridges double decker thank you very much. I let the bike lanes take me home, a lovely end to a lovely weekend of biking around NYC.
It’s Sunday, which meant it was time for another longer ride since, you know, I’m an athlete-in-training and all. I did that thing I always said I’d never do–I drove my bicycle somewhere in order to ride it. That seems so silly since the point is to not drive, right? Well, I need some time just sitting in the saddle and pedaling along, and I can’t into the proper groove with the stop-and-go of city biking. I strapped the Surly on the back of my car and drove to the train station by the airport and then just followed the signs. It only took about a mile to get into a rhythm, rolling past chain link fences and parking lots and gas stations and VFW posts and over the wooden bridges that add an out-of-place class to the loop trail. Continue reading
It’s Christmas Eve and S. was taking me to Damascus-the Maryland one-so I headed out on my bike for an early ride. I bundled up because it is finally getting cold here and zipped down the hill. Folks were lined up under the JFX to collect holiday packages and again at the park on Baltimore, lined up for food. I continued my ride, locked up the bike, went for a swim, and then headed back up toward home. I snapped this picture while waiting at a red light. Cars, taxis, buses, and me on my bike, all of us depending on the rest of us to follow the rules, which we mostly do. I stopped to chat with E. and walked my bike for a bit, past the folks lining up on the walkway at Health Services for the Homeless. A man stopped to chat with me about the importance of bike safety, wearing my helmet, paying attention, and all that jazz. Always, I said. And then I got on my bike, headed up Fallsway, and narrowly avoided being hit by a driver who raced through the crosswalk at an intersection on her way to make a right. Yep, stay attentive at all times, and drivers, please take your time; that could have made a really terrible holiday for all of us. I made it home safely, happy to have gotten in some exercise. Before I left my house I’d read an article about how children are getting iPads for Christmas instead of toys, an it’s a terrible thing. From what I saw on my ride today, that’s not all children, and I’m thinking we’ve got bigger problems than that.
I woke up early on Saturday and decided right away to do absolutely no work-related tasks that day. No emails, no grading, no reading or writing, nothing. I needed a good day off, and I took it. I lazed about for a bit and then layered up for a ride down the hill and around the harbor to meet J. and her parents at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Oh, it felt so good to be flying down the hill on empty streets, the morning fog still hanging on everything taller than a row house. It was quiet and still, and I wondered to myself, how do people who don’t ride bikes or walk around know where they are, like really know? Outside of a car you have no choice but to pay attention. But anyway. Continue reading
Monday was unseasonably warm, but I had to spend most of it inside offices and classrooms. And then I didn’t, so I rushed home, changed into short pants, a tank top, and a sweatshirt, and hopped on the bike down the hill to enjoy the waning moments of light on a premature spring day. (Something’s not right here, but I will let the climate bloggers worry about that.) What did I see? I saw a burning red disk of a sun sinking into the western skyline, kids in short sleeves throwing balls around an alleyway, a just-dead squirrel I had to go around, folks waiting too long at bus stops, three buses in a row going the other way, and cars. So many cars pulling out of parking lots and turning corners and waiting in lines to get on the JFX. They were all trying to get out while I was trying to get in, but even if that hadn’t been the case I could have zipped ahed of them at all the lights. Total gridlock downtown and it wasn’t even 5 o’clock yet! There has to be another way. I did my turn at the gym and the grocery and headed back up the hill and to Hampden where folks are in their cars again, touring 34th Street’s holiday lights. Me, I will take the bike every time, especially in such nutty weather.