Wednesday’s ride took me down the hill really early so I could hop the 7am bus out to campus. It was my turn to send Greetings From the Faculty at new student orientation, and when you don’t have a car, that means you’ve got to leave your house at 6:45 am to get there on time. That early it’s still a little bit cool out, and it was a pleasant roll down Guilford with the early bird cars and buses, until I got downtown. There’s just no way around the unpleasantness that is gridlock in a downtown core, but until we agree to move work all over so we don’t all have to pass through here to get where we’re going, we’re stuck with it.
Tuesday’s ride took me down the hill and to the left for another visit to the cryotherapy chamber. It was already hot as balls, as they say, and by the time I got to the place I was totally ready to get frozen. After I left I tooled over to Potomac Street to check out the status of the new protected bike lane the city’s putting in there–or was putting in there before neighbors complained so loudly it was cancelled, and then put in again after cyclists sued the city for cancelling it. The final design is, I think, still up for negotiation, but last I heard the protected two way cycletrack is staying, and parking is changing to make room for fire trucks, the main concern of those angry neighbors.
Monday was such a lovely day. I woke up early, banged out some work, and then hopped on my bicycle to head east on 33rd Street for my every-six-months dentist appointment. I’ve had dental insurance for six years now, and everything is different. My appointments are quick and easy, nothing like those long scraping sessions I faced when I went seven years without a cleaning. I now go religiously, making that next appointment as I leave, and going to the dentist is just a part of my life rather than this big scary thing that is going to pick all my pockets. That teeth (and eyes) aren’t included in health care is just baffling to me. Toss in the measly coverage most folks get for mental health and it seems we might just not care about heads.
Thursday promised rain all day, but I had a Very Important Cryotherapy Appointment over in Canton at noon, and nope, not interested in the bus. If everything went exactly precisely as scheduled–something that has NEVER happened to me on the bus–it would take 52 minutes to get from my house there. I can do it in 30 on a bike and end up exactly where I need to be on my schedule. I’m so, so grateful I can ride a bike.
Today’s bike ride took me on my usual route down the hill and to the right to the bike racks next to the ER at University of Maryland Medical Center. I’ve done this ride at least a hundred times, likely more, but today felt a little different. Yesterday I learned that another cyclist was hit and killed by another car. I saw the post on one of my bicycle groups on Facebook, and commented on the link right away. How tragic, I said, because it’s always tragic. I know what it feels like to get the news that a car has taken someone you love. I know that when someone dies, they are gone forever, and you are forever different. I know this, and I also know how resilient we are in the face of grief, as long as we let ourselves feel it all–or as much of it as we can bear–and as long as we stay open to it, and talk about it. I know that a year and a half after my dad was killed by a car, I am ok. I feel joy again, not as often or easily as before, but it’s already back. And it hasn’t even been two years yet. But I’m different now, and it isn’t a difference I’d wish for anyone. It hurts, badly. So when I saw the news, I knew another group of people would now have to tread this far too well trod road, and I hate that.
Monday was my last day of my first summer school class. This one was an experiment, taught in Baltimore about Baltimore, and I only had a handful of students. Getting UMBC students to travel all the way to Baltimore is going to be a trick, but I’m dedicated to figuring out how to pull it off. This first time around might have been a small group, but it was so much fun that I was reluctant to cancel our last in-person meeting of the minimester, even though campus was officially closed. I’m not one to work on holidays or weekends–too many people have worked too hard and sacrificed too much for me to work on those days–but there I was, holding class, because I wanted to.
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.