It’s July, and there’s a heat wave, so honestly what I’m seeing on my bike rides this week is my own sweat in my eyeballs. It’s brutal, especially going uphill. I’d still rather ride my bike than bake at the bus stop, waiting for another bus that’s going to get trapped in the traffic nightmare that is a sinkhole at Howard and Pratt and street closures for Artscape. Seriously, a bicycle is always the best way to get around.
I’m still riding my bike around, because that’s how I get around, but we are entering the hot and humid days of summer when rides get considerably less pleasant. It’s like riding your bike in somebody’s mouth. Or pedaling through hot pea soup. Or something else similarly hot and wet and yuck. But here we are, acclimating to another hot summer in Baltimore, happy to get a ride in most days to get from place to place. I snapped this picture on my way home on Friday. The sky was all layers of cloud and threats that didn’t come true.
Today’s ride was a bit different. It was spitting rain when I left the house at 7am, and then I spent the next three hours at the gym, working out and then staring at my phone in the locker room, willing the heavy rains to pass. And then they did, or close enough for me to ride home and still be able to see through my wet glasses. It’s a lot of weather-related rides these day, sunscreen in my eyes, dreams of a cold seltzer pushing me up the hill. It’s good to have a normal summer.
It’s the end of September and it is just still so hot out. We had a few minutes of fall teasing, the kind where the slightly cool wind in the morning has you wondering if you should have brought a sweatshirt but five minutes later you remember that biking heats you up and you don’t need it. The past couple weeks have been that hot wet thing where it feels like you’re bicycling inside somebody’s mouth. I’m over it. I want fall to get here. It’s my favorite time of year, what with the cider donuts and cardigans and reminder that it’s ok to slow down and take a little rest. I need that.
It has been a long, warm winter of utility bike rides, to and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from acupuncture and brunch and haircuts and all the rest of the regular places I have to go. I don’t have a car, hate the bus, and love my bicycle, so of course I’ve spent the unseasonably warm winter months riding my bicycle to and fro.
It’s that time of the summer when it’s just too damn hot and humid for bike riding to be all that much fun. The ladyfriend even gave me her car for Monday so I wouldn’t be huffing and puffing in dangerous 100 degree temps. Last summer I rode my bike 350 miles in the Adirondacks at temperatures like this, but it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity, or maybe I’ve just gone soft. At any rate, I left my house on Tuesday with a plan to just ride three quarters of a mile to the gym and exercise in the relative comfort of the YMCA’s air conditioning.
It was a beautiful sunny summer weekend, the ladyfriend was on a much-needed out of town adventure with herself, and I had absolutely no plans. That’s some perfection right there, and I spent the Sunday of it riding my bike around. I left my house at high noon, all lotioned up with sunscreen and nowhere in particular to go. I had it my mind to maybe hit SoWeBo Fest, so I rode south and west and west to avoid my regular work commute route but to be heading in generally that direction. And then I was pedaling through west Baltimore on an old commuting route I used to take when I first moved to Baltimore. I decided to see if that bridge on Old Frederick Road had been replaced, and once I got there and saw that yes, it had been, I was on the Gwynns Falls Trail, so why not take it to the end?
And then it was summertime, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. B. asked if I’d like to ride to work, all the way, and I was a little nervous, partly because we’d have to leave at 7:15am, but mostly because it’s kind of far, and there’s that uphill on Wilkens Avenue. I’ve made the ride a bunch of times, but what if it was too far this time? Like most things, it’s a mind game, so I made up my mind to go ahead and join him. He does it almost every day, so big deal, right? Continue reading