Ever since they started running the shuttle from downtown Baltimore out to UMBC I’ve just been taking that commute rather than taking the Brompton on the MARC train like I did last year–the shuttle’s free and easy, and I get to stretch my legs on the Surly, still my very favorite ride. It’s strange–I used to take that bike out almost every day, but now she sits quietly in the dining room collecting dust in between rides. But then it’s a Friday during October baseball, and the last thing I want to do is get caught in downtown traffic–the shuttle may feel like magic, but it’s just as prone to get caught in the cars as any other vehicle. Solution? Take Brompty on MARC like the good old days, so that’s what I did–easy peasy, the bike getting her own seat at the front of the train. Multimodal commute options FTW! And coming back into Penn Station in the afternoon made it easy for N. to pick us all up and take us home. I really never ever miss having a car–there are so many options out there that make owning my own car unnecessary. Lucky me. Could that be you too?
Wednesday saw the return of Brompty to the bike lineup as we headed back to campus after a month-long hiatus. I love the world the folding bike opens up for me, but this girl doesn’t have the gearing to do hills with ease, and the new commute adds two hills. That isn’t a lot, but it was enough to make me nervous about how much time I’d be adding to the commute with the move, and I was happy to have a chance to get that first go out of the way. I aired up the tires, unfolded the pieces, dusted off the seat, and was on my way, reminding myself–out loud–that I was not in a hurry. As long as I remember that I’ve got time and can sit myself in the easiest gear I need my knees can take whatever hills are there. Turns out the added mile and a half was just an extra mile and a half of flowers and how-you-doin’s and neighbors and then I was back on Saint Paul, flying down the hill to the train station in maybe 10 more minutes than from the old place–that’ll work, especially with the added bonus of taking the left lane on 33rd for a turn onto Barclay. There’s something about vehicular cycling that really gets me going, especially when I’m on Brompty. Continue reading
Thursday dried up which made the bike commute a lot more pleasant, even if afternoon puddles did still give me a mini-stripe. I rode down to catch an early train, settled Brompty and I into our seats, and then another Brompty got on, this one tucked lovingly into the second storage slot before its rider looked at me inquiringly and asked, “Are you Kate?” Yep, that’s me! A. and I have never met, but we’ve meant to talk about our bike commutes to UMBC for over a year. Finally! Continue reading
E. is running the Brooklyn Half Marathon this weekend, which is pretty damn cool, so Brompty and I hopped on the train to NYC to cheer her on. I love that I can just pop the bike in the overhead bin and then unfold her on the other side and ride us all down to Brooklyn. Today’s ride through Manhattan was a quick reminder of the different attitude you need to ride here to avoid the pedestrians wandering into the street, the delivery trucks, cabs, and cop cars blocking the bike lane, and the other cyclists whoosing past; let’s just say I used my outside voice a lot. The left onto the Manhattan Bridge bike path was a relief, even though it was a bit tricky to avoid that one woman with all the groceries blocking my way. Oh, but the ride up the bridge! I love the slow pedal with the cars and subways, the city getting smaller and turning into water. I snapped this picture at the halfway point. I have seen this view from many vantage points in the last 20 years, but the view from the bike is the first one that’s felt like seeing all that much. I coasted down the other side and followed my directions to Red Hook for ridiculous tacos and grits and then followed Union Avenue through Park Slope and up Eastern Parkway to Crown Heights. I could ride in Brooklyn forever, but tomorrow it will be all Brooklyn Half Marathoning for me. E. can run it, but I’ll take my bike. Oh, such fun!