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.
It has been a long, warm winter of utility bike rides, to and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from acupuncture and brunch and haircuts and all the rest of the regular places I have to go. I don’t have a car, hate the bus, and love my bicycle, so of course I’ve spent the unseasonably warm winter months riding my bicycle to and fro.
I’ve been riding my bike all over town in the past couple of weeks. Down the hill to pick up the shuttle for work, back up the hill to home. I’ve ridden the new bike lane in Roland Park so as to knowledgeably engage in online debate about whether or not it’s a good bike lane (I think yes, but everyone needs to be patient so we all learn how to use it). I’ve ridden to lunch, to after-work drinks, to acupuncture and therapy appointments, to a friend’s in Federal Hill. I’ve also ridden down the hill a short left on Eager Street where I’m teaching a women’s studies class to a group of women who are part of Safe and Sound’s ELEVATION program at Baltimore City Detention Center. Continue reading