Monday’s ride was a regular one, down the hill, a right, a left, a right, a left, a right again to the bike racks in front of University of Maryland Medical Center where I locked up before walking up to the shuttle stop to meet N., my most loyal shuttle buddy, for our ride into work. It was my first day back in the office and back in the classroom since my pops died, and I was a little nervous. It all felt rather mundane and normal, which was a huge relief, and seeing N.’s pinched-against-the-cold face under the hat she’s been wearing for basically her whole adult life put me at ease. Continue reading
Abandoned Parking Lot on Kloman Street By the Light Rail Tracks
Tuesday’s ride took me down the hill to meet R. for lunch and tips on grieving–it looks like rollercoasting is ahead, and time is my friend. R. left, I joined N. and B. for a bit, and then I was itching to go on a ride without a destination. Blue skies emerged, it was 60 degrees out, and I needed to let my legs spin. Continue reading
Brown Volvo at 23rd & Guilford
It was just too windy to stop riding, get off my bike, and snap a picture on my ride home yesterday. It was that kind of wind where you drop down your gears and still find yourself pedaling–downhill. Whatever the conditions, though, just keep pedaling and you’ll get there–best not be in a hurry. So that’s what I did on my way home yesterday from a Friday in meetings followed by a beer and catching up with N, the first week of another new semester in the books. What did I see? Lots of stuff, but what I really saw was the mix of gaudy architecture with plain stacked concrete on the Westside, and on the way home, that brown Volvo parked about four cars down from 23rd Street on Guilford. Continue reading
Safe Pedestrianism PSA Seen From Fallsway & N. High
Monday’s bike ride took me up to Locust Point, and oh, it was lovely after a morning reading for pleasure and doing some light grading. I followed the usual bikeway down the hill and up and around the harbor to Federal Hill and then down Fort Avenue. The ride back was just the same, and I spent some of each ride thinking about cars, as one must do, of course, when trying to share the road with them. There’s so much push back about bikes on the road–cyclists break the rules, they run stop signs and red lights, they refuse to use proper lighting at night to be seen, they ride too fast/too slow/too bicycle-speed to be on the road, they don’t wait their turn, etc. I get that. I see it, and it makes me unsafe too, especially when riders don’t heed my right of way as a fellow cyclist. Ok, true. Continue reading
Looking out the MARC Train Window at 40 & the West Baltimore MARC Station
Sometimes I’m too tired to ride a bike because I’m not sleeping well, but that’s how I get to work, so bike I shall. And then I’m stopped outside the West Baltimore MARC station, staring out the window at cars queuing up for the slow snake back to Baltimore, and I’m relieved I never have to wait in that line, even if that means biking when I’m not in the mood or waiting at bus stops. Anything but a car, I swear.
Car Getting Towed at 23rd & Howard
It rained ice last night, but fortunately in the city it warmed up quickly, and all we had was rain. By the time I got the call I was waiting for the rain was down to sprinkles, making it much more pleasant for the short ride over to where I’d left my car last week to meet the tow truck driver for my final goodbyes to the Hyundai Accent I’ve been driving around occasionally since 2007. I got the car to drive from Oregon to my new gig at Tulane in New Orleans. I cried as P. and I made our way through east Texas and into Shreveport, and I cried all the way until I10 turns to bayou just past Baton Rouge. Don’t leave me here, I cried, scared of the masses of green I was sure were hiding stuff, the inhuman heat, and the giant crickets that caught rides. Continue reading
Pole in the Sidewalk on Rolling Road & Sherbourne
My car’s on the fritz, and it looks serious, so it’s time to get back to living a car-free life, a prospect considerably eased by the fact that N. has a car. Even so, I’m going to be on my own for commutes to school, and Thursday was the first of many. Brompty and I rode down to Penn Station, got our MARC tickets, and hopped on for a quick two-stop ride to Halethorpe for the couple-mile ride to campus. First stop was a place called South Campus where I’ve never been, and a quick mapquest put me on something called Rolling Road, not a good sign for the limited gears of Brompty. It wasn’t the easiest push, even in the granniest of gears, but I made it without walking the bike and early for my meeting, energized by the stretch and the sense of badassery you get when you take a route that on first glance isn’t the best for bikes–yeah, I’m easily pleased. And then it was another couple miles back to the main campus, made easy by the downhill I’d already earned. The curvy roads made for limited visibility, so I took the sidewalk for a bit, ordinarily a move against my religion. And sometimes you get this, a sidewalk basically blocked for anyone in a wheelchair or who needs the room. That built environment determines who can be there, and on this ride, it seemed. Pretty clear the place is for cars only. Unless, or course, you just take the lane, which I gladly did, happy to be out in the chilly sunshine under blue skies, grateful for bikes and trains, imperfect as they are, and new car-free adventures, whether the transmission gets fixed or not.
The Stonewall Jackson National Shrine in Guinea Station, Virginia
Ok, I didn’t see it from my bike today. I saw it from N.’s car. She drove me back to Virginia to pick up my car after it broke down there last week. How nice is that? People are awesome. Anyway, I didn’t see it from my bike, but it’s why I have a car, and it’s something I’ll come back and see by bike someday, because the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park has a bike map! Sometimes cars are really helpful. Anyway, this is the house where Stonewall Jackson died after one of the battles at Fredericksburg over the course of 18 months during the Civil War, halfway between the two capitals. Continue reading
A Sign Blown Down at Guilford & Mount Royal
I’ve been off the bike and in the car for the past few days, on a little research foray in Virginia, E. in tow. It was all fun and games and history–Mt. Vernon, Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, the Museum of the Confederacy, the White House of the Confederacy, Tredeger Iron Works, and the American Civil War Center (phew!)–until yesterday, when the car wouldn’t start. Ugh. Long story short, I ended up having to leave the thing at the mechanic’s in Mechanicsville, VA and rent a car to drive us home. Next weekend, I will hopefully get to go back there and pick up the car and bring it back here, leaving a good chunk of my wallet there. Ugh. Continue reading
So Many Cars Everywhere Downtown
Monday was unseasonably warm, but I had to spend most of it inside offices and classrooms. And then I didn’t, so I rushed home, changed into short pants, a tank top, and a sweatshirt, and hopped on the bike down the hill to enjoy the waning moments of light on a premature spring day. (Something’s not right here, but I will let the climate bloggers worry about that.) What did I see? I saw a burning red disk of a sun sinking into the western skyline, kids in short sleeves throwing balls around an alleyway, a just-dead squirrel I had to go around, folks waiting too long at bus stops, three buses in a row going the other way, and cars. So many cars pulling out of parking lots and turning corners and waiting in lines to get on the JFX. They were all trying to get out while I was trying to get in, but even if that hadn’t been the case I could have zipped ahed of them at all the lights. Total gridlock downtown and it wasn’t even 5 o’clock yet! There has to be another way. I did my turn at the gym and the grocery and headed back up the hill and to Hampden where folks are in their cars again, touring 34th Street’s holiday lights. Me, I will take the bike every time, especially in such nutty weather.