Day 2 of summer break caught me doing a couple of quick chores around the house before hopping on the bike down to Penn Station to catch the 9:05 to DC for a day at the museums. The part where you don’t have to live in DC or own a car but can, for $14 round trip, ride in and take advantage of all the cool stuff they’ve got there is one of my favorite things about living in Baltimore. I don’t take advantage of it much, but sure glad it’s there–it’s like Baltimore Bike Party in that way. Please don’t make me put on a costume and ride with a thousand other people, but please make room for everyone else to do it, I’ll just buy the t-shirt (which I wore on yesterday’s ride, ftr). Continue reading
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 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
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.
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.
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.
Thursday’s commute was another chilly one, and slow, because sometimes it is all just that exhausting. I flew down the hill, folded my bike and myself into the train, and folded us out for a trudge up the hill, everything feeling a little too heavy. A meeting, a couple of classes, another meeting, some writing, and the weight was lifted by the promise of a free evening–the sort of free that feels extra special because you’ve knocked so many things off the to-do list, and everything else can wait, really. Continue reading
Tuesday’s ride started a little early so I could catch the 8:10am train to Halethorpe as I continue my burgeoning love affair with my new multimodal commute. I learned a couple of important lessons on that first 10 minutes flying down the hill, lessons I’ve learned before, if I’m being honest: wear wool socks, not flimsy cotton ones, and don’t forget a hat, even if you have to go back upstairs to get it; it’ll be worth it. And then I was standing next to my folded bike and reading when I saw R. Continue reading
Thursday’s ride was a repeat of Wednesday’s, but with an earlier start for a stop at the mechanic’s to move my car from the lot to the street to wait for its final ride over the Rainbow Bridge. It was freezing, and the guy said I must be “Ravens Strong” to ride my bike this morning. Well, sir, you just might be right. Now, if you were actually me, standing there wearing twelve layers of everything and knowing the sweat was going to start about 5 minutes into this little project, you might not be impressed, but hey, I’ll take it. The rest of the commute went smoothly, and the bike got me some good conversation with some MARC workers on the way home. The pedal up the hill from the station was a slow one, especially as I navigated the thick sand-like piles of salt at Charles and North. (Go on, go bike through sand. It’s a slow and wobbly go!) A water main burst the previous night, and that is not the first one, not by a long shot. We travel these streets without thinking about what’s underneath, but what’s underneath is clearly in a whole lot of trouble. But hey, they’d fixed it by mid-afternoon and covered it over with a big black rectangle of asphalt, so I guess we are good to go. I kept riding and stopped to take this picture at Charles and 25th, another patch job over another broken something. This project’s been going on for awhile, and I’m not sure what’s going on, but it is another of the many signs around here that what we don’t see beneath our feet is in serious trouble. The complaints are always about traffic, not about our crumbling infrastrucre, for which traffic is barely even canary yellow, much less the canary coal mine. And then I was home, stowing Brompty in the basement, kicking off my shoes and filling my water bottle from the tap and settling in to forget it all with some low quality television. Nothing to see here, folks, nothing to see here.