Wednesday was so ridiculously hot and humid. As I was getting ready to head out, I idly wondered if it would feel hotter because they’d told me we’d reach a heat index of 106 degrees, or it would actually just *feel* that hot. And then I went outside, and it was just plain hot. My ride started with a quick mile and a half up the hill and over to the YMCA where I exercised in air conditioned comfort before heading home and swapping out bikes for the much hotter ride to campus, by way of the MARC train. It was the kind of hot where the wind going downhill feels like it’s blowing from a furnace–no cooling there. 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.
Friday was the last day at school before spring break, and oh my, did that put me in a good mood. I dressed for spring on the bottom and winter on top, and rode to the station with chilly legs and a sweaty back–oh well, what are you gonna do? It was a quick zip around campus for errands and one last meeting, and then I was zipping back to the station to meet the train for a much-needed break from all this commuting nonsense. I took my left onto the outer circle and ran into another Brompton, this one ridden by A., who teaches in the Information Systems department. Continue reading
Sometimes this bike blog feels like a weather blog, but that’s because this winter’s weather has made biking all about just getting through it. After our lovely spring days earlier in the week, Thursday woke up to howling winds and sub-freezing temps, but hey, I’ve got to get to work, and I’m a stubborn thing, so I layered up, unfolded Brompty, and headed down the hill to the train station. Other than a few heavy gusts that made my eyes start gushing wintertears, it wasn’t really that bad. And then I got out on the other side, at Halethorpe. Continue reading
Spring has sprung, and as usual, I’m overly-excited, which meant rushing out of the house with hardly any clothes on and onto my bicycle for a zippy ride in the still-chilly wind, down the hill to the train station for a ride to Halethorpe on a Monday mid-morning. I felt naked, out without leggings or a jacket, and it felt amazing. Oh, I missed you, almost-sun on bare legs! The ride home was just as lovely, if even a little chillier as I snapped this photo looking down, skirt flapping in the breeze. We’ve got another winter blast coming in a couple of days, but for now, I just want to say yes, and thank you, earth, for turning.
I checked the weather reports before I left for work on Wednesday, even broke it out into 15 minute intervals, and the rain wasn’t necessarily going to fall, and if it did, maybe not until 10 at the earliest, and I was catching the 9:25 train. I did a little online shopping for the rain pants I wished I had and then rode under threatening skies to the train station. And then those skies opened up and I rethought that “I’ll get them later” moment at the bike shoppe when they asked me if I wanted to add fenders to the Brompty. Continue reading
Tuesday opened to frozen roads and school delays due to an overnight snow shower, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have to head into work for meetings and lunches and meetings and such. And there’s no car anymore. I bundled up in two of everything–socks, pants, baselayers, gloves–and headed down the hill on the Brompton. It wasn’t the cold that got me as much as the ice in the bike lane, so I took the lane next to it, bought a stack of tickets, folded up the bike, answered work emails for 15 minutes, unfolded the bike, and climbed the hill to campus. There was no road rage, no parking, and I was reminded again of how that driving habit had gotten to be a habit, and now this will be a new habit. I made my meetings, did some work, and then reversed course, snapping this picture while I waited for the train. The sky just never looks this blue in a car. Thanks for dying, sweet old Hyundai Accent. You’re making the bike feel brand new.
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.
It’s the new year and I’m back from one final vacation trip–an overnight with S. at the beach. Oh, it was just a perfect mini vacation! But today it’s time to get back to work, so I woke up early, did some reading, packed my lunch, and headed to work, taking my Brompty to the train station. Yep, the car’s still sitting at the mechanic’s in Virginia, so its the multimodal commute for me. It takes about six minutes to race down the hill to the station, and then just 14 or so minutes on the train, and then another 15 minutes on the bike to campus. Continue reading