After days and days of oppressive heat we had a cool one Wednesday, light humidity, and it was perfect for my bike commute to campus for a quick meeting. The ride to and from easily took three times as long as the meeting itself, which is a good ration of biking to working, if you as me. I took it easy, preparing for the taking it easy part of next week’s bike tour, and I did a great job pedaling slow, looking around, taking it all in. There’s this part of the Gwynns Falls Trail that goes through a tunnel and then up a decent, if short, incline. I’m terrible at this part of the trail. Continue reading
Monday’s ride started out early, meeting B. for the commute to work. Wow, the miles go faster with a friend–I’m making a note of that. B. has done several cross country bike rides, and I asked him my big question: how do you eat enough to sustain day after day of 60-100 miles on the bike? His answer: Waffle House. Continue reading
I’m not really sure what clicked in me that made riding a bicycle as a primary form of transportation so normal. I mean, from the outside it looks pretty scary, what with all the cars and pedestrians and chances to fall in sinkholes, and I’m hardly a daredevil, but somehow it was just instantly the best way to travel for me, and it’s totally the logical choice. When I moved to Baltimore the plan was to keep biking to work every day, like I had in New Orleans. That, though, was a quick two mile ride on flat terrain–10 miles each way to Baltimore County, hills included, riding with the big cars on Wilkens Avenue…well, that wasn’t so easy to stomach. Continue reading
Spring took a holiday on Tuesday, trading the 80 degree sunshine for cold wind, rain, and ice. I figured it couldn’t be serious and dressed entirely inappropriately, like one of those college kids who wear cargo shorts and flip flops as their year-round uniform, except mine is a skirt, t-shirt, and sweatshirt for those really wintry days. The morning commute was fine–the humidity and remaining warmth meant I got sweaty inside the ol’ rain coat, but otherwise, meh. Oh, but the commute home–the worst of the winter, really, proving the old adage from my pops that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Fortunately, Brompty brought her rain gear and weathered it all fine. And in the end, I made it home, where I got to take a hot shower and cuddle up with some cats , and it felt all the better for the yuck outside. Yep, the worst day on the bike is better than the best day in the car.
N. texted to say she wished she was riding her bike today, a most excellent sign for a happy future on a bicycle, and I agreed, but she had to work, and so did I, so there you go. Fortunately, I bike to work, so I *did* get to ride on this blustery day. I zipped down the hill, folded up the bike, and got on the afternoon train. It’s a different train then. The commuters are already where they’re going, so this was all tourists and first timers, and I felt myself getting all superior and get-it-together-people like a real jerk. I took a deep breath, put down my Candy Crush machine, and looked around, wondering what we’re all missing now that we’re staring at our screens instead of idly chatting while we wait. And then it was my stop, a quick unfold and I was on my way, stopping to snap a picture of this corner that’s got itself all blinged out for spring. This is my first spring biking past this corner, and I made a note to myself to watch it this year for a full season of changes. So much new right now, so much new.
Thursday’s commute was another chilly one, and slow, because sometimes it is all just that exhausting. I flew down the hill, folded my bike and myself into the train, and folded us out for a trudge up the hill, everything feeling a little too heavy. A meeting, a couple of classes, another meeting, some writing, and the weight was lifted by the promise of a free evening–the sort of free that feels extra special because you’ve knocked so many things off the to-do list, and everything else can wait, really. Continue reading
Monday was another snow day, this one covering up a layer of ice, so that meant no biking for me and a whole lot of hoping that all road surfaces would miraculously melt and dry for Tuesday’s commute to campus. Sure, I could grab a ride with a friend, ask a student for a ride home, but I want to ride my bike and use my train pass and be in some control of my own movement–plus I’m really stubborn–so I layered up and left early so it I had to walk or wait for a bus, I’d have to time to do so. The ride down the hill was fine, though I could feel (and hear–quit honking your horns people, there’s nowhere for me to go!) the irritation of drivers as I took a whole lane in morning traffic because the bike lane was filled with plowed remains. Continue reading
And Thursday it was back to work, and the ride took me down the hill in 14 degree temperatures to the train station, and I swear my eyeballs were going to freeze right there inside of my skull. Oh, New Orleans, I miss you and your 70 degree late February days! I folded up the bike and got off two stops later, meeting A. unexpectedly on the platform for a Brompty reunion and ride up the hill to work. We complained about the weather and the left turn traffic light that seems to work randomly. A. is secretly happy to have that mystery to keep her commute alive, she admitted. We shared our desires for a tow rope up the hill in to campus, and then I split off for a busy day at the office.
Oh, it is cold out there. Tuesday’s ride started with many layers (and my skirt in my bag–it’s pants weather right now) and the bright idea to remember both my hat and gloves, and then Brompty and I were off to the train station. The ride from Halethorpe is all uphill, so that sharp tingling sensation of cold wind on the face faded as I slowly made my way to campus, avoiding the spots of ice and mounds of salt. I stopped a block or so away from the big intersection at Sulpher Spring Road to snap a picture of the lovely decorations on this house–Christmas lights winding around one front column and a flag affixed to another, a garland of red plastic cups hanging between the two.
Tuesday’s ride started a little early so I could catch the 8:10am train to Halethorpe as I continue my burgeoning love affair with my new multimodal commute. I learned a couple of important lessons on that first 10 minutes flying down the hill, lessons I’ve learned before, if I’m being honest: wear wool socks, not flimsy cotton ones, and don’t forget a hat, even if you have to go back upstairs to get it; it’ll be worth it. And then I was standing next to my folded bike and reading when I saw R. Continue reading