I’ve been off the bike for quite a few days, spending them wandering around beautiful (and I do mean beautiful) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with N., checking out museums and historic sites and restaurants and views–a lovely vacation. It isn’t a vacation without at least thinking about bicycles, so here’s my report: I want to ride my bike all over Pittsburgh and its many bike lanes, but I’ll need to be in my granny gear most of the time–that place is seriously hilly. Today, though, I was back on the bike in Baltimore, zipping down the hill and around the harbor and up the other side to meet A. for an early glass of wine before turning around and going back the other way to drop off the Surly for her end-of-summer check up. 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
I’ve been at a conference in Oakland, CA for the past several days which has meant no bicycle riding–too busy, too tired, no bike. But I see bikes everywhere. There are lanes in downtown Oakland, signs directing riders all over town. My dear friend S. reports there’s going to be a bike lane on the new Bay Bridge when it eventually opens. Tonight when I took the BART into San Francisco for dinner with D. and P., there were bikes boarding trains, a space in the car set aside for bikes, and a pamphlet on the floor from August when bikes could ride in any car on Fridays. I snapped this picture of bikes lined up on racks at the 16th Street BART station–so many riders! Bikes are clearly just normal here–they can be normal. The infrastructure is built with the assumption it will be used for biking, and it clearly is. How, though, do y’all get up some of these San Francisco hills? Next time I best find out.
I spent the last couple of days at the Delaware shore with S., and although I brought Brompty with us, I mostly just sat myself down on the beach and stayed put, once the rain cleared. Today I was back at home gearing up for the first day of school on Wednesday. I’m sad to see summer end, but I’m happy to be getting back to a routine, even if it does leave less time for bicycling aimlessly about. Continue reading
It’s time to head home to Baltimore after this quick trip to NYC with the Brompton, so after a lazy morning, I packed up and rode the bike over to Bergen and Flatbush for brunch with E. She took the subway and just missed her train. I took bike lanes and stopped twice to double check directions, and I beat her by about four minutes. I wonder how long I’d have to live in NYC for that game to get old. Anyway, the Brompton neatly folded and sat next to us, and after I watched a couple of strollers barrel through there I wondered why I would ever be nervous about this bike taking up too much space. After breakfast I popped the bike open and headed toward the Brooklyn Bridge en route to Penn Station. I basically followed the signs to the bridge where I was greeted by a zillion walkers pouring into Brooklyn as part of some kind of walkathon. Sigh. I used my bell and my voice to navigate the throngs successfully and then I was in the city again, zigging and zagging to Hudson and then the slight right to 8th Avenue and the fancy protected bike lane, complete with its ver own stoplight, studiously observed by no one but me. I wonder how long I’d have to in NYC before I would be flying through those along with the other bikers who passed me (but who never ended up more than a block or two ahead of me, but whatever). I snapped this picture stopped at one of those intersections~dang, that is good design, and frankly, I’d marry that bike infrastructure if it were legal in New York State. The light turned, I pedaled through, pulling up again at 31st Street where I folded up and hopped into the train station, got my ticket, went down the escalator, shoved the bike above my seat, and now I’ll read my way home, having seen more of New York on my bike this weekend than I have in years. Brompton for the win!
I like to ride my bike like I’m driving a car–“vehicular cycling,” I think they call it. That means I stay off the sidewalk unless I fear imminent death (see yesterday’s post) and I take the lane when I need to. Oh, and I often use my outside voice to let folks know what the rules are, according to me. When I first started riding my bike around this town, I would take Guilford home from points south, and when I got to North Avenue, I’d get my best vehicular cycling on, taking a wide right into the turn lane and taking a left on the arrow, another left on 20th, and then a right to get back on Guilford. A driver once yelled about this to me, told me to take the sidewalk and parking lot like the other girl on the bike. Not me, no way, no how. I drive my bike. And then I started doing what that driver told me to do, and today there are signs instructing me to bike through the lot and take the sidewalk. Well alrighty then. Today’s ride was like pedaling through spring already, and I look forward to many rides following these new official directions in my near future. Yes.
I spent my day writing and reading and watching Shoah, which is the most intense piece of art I have ever seen. That’s all I’m going to say here, except that I can’t believe I’ve never seen it, and I think it should be required viewing, period. I had plans to go to the baseball game tonight, so regardless of the mood I was in, it was time to get on the bike and head over to R.’s for a carpool to Zephyrs stadium. Continue reading
75 degrees and sunny in December? Don’t mind if I do! This weather may portend the end of days, but I’m going to ride my bike around in it like a little girl until we all go under. I was a little tired from yesterday, but I took the Surly out, first to do some bicycle-related work, then to the museum for some southern folk art before hitting the gym. I rode back Uptown in time to choke down some cold pizza before tonight’s Metro Bicycle Coalition holiday party out at Jefferson Bicycle World. Continue reading