Daffodils and Green at Mother’s Garden in Clifton Park at 32nd & Harford Road

Daffodils and Green at Mother's Garden in Clifton Park at 32nd & Harford Road Monday’s ride was far too short, the day given over to grading and emailing and fire-putting-out, but hey, at least I got out for a quick pedal around the neighborhood under our springtime skies. My first stop was across the border of 33rd Street for a surprise visit to R.’s place. I had a book to give her, but that was just a ruse because I wanted to see her face and watch her perfect grey cat slink through the spring flowers. Continue reading

Looking out the MARC Train Window at 40 & the West Baltimore MARC Station

Looking out the MARC Train Window at 40 & the West Baltimore MARC StationSometimes 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.

Looking Up at the Side of Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center at Fallsway & Madison

Looking Up at the Side of Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center at Fallsway & MadisonMonday’s ride took me down the hill–big surprise–and around the Inner Harbor, where I got to use the best of my outside voice to remind pedestrians and Segway drivers (riders?) to Share the Path. I complain a lot about the lack of easy bicycling around the harbor, but I recently tried walking it. The pedestrians are right–the shared path is the only good way around the construction in front of the World Trade Center, and once on a path, hardly anybody gets off it to follow a different one, even once the obstacles are gone. An easy pedal up to Federal Hill for some work with the co-workers, and then I headed home, same outside-voice around the harbor, a left on President to enjoy the worst bike lane in the city on my way to the best one–the Fallsway cycletrack. Continue reading

View Down the Williamsburg Bridge Heading Back to Brooklyn

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It was practically springtime in New York today, I swear, and lucky me had the day free and my sweet little bicycle to ride about town. I carried the Brompton down four flights, unfolded it, and 15 quick minutes later I was eating chewy yeasted donuts with E. and comparing notes on bikes, gentrification, and reality television. I let her take Brompty for a quick spin and then I headed toward the Manhattan Bridge-the Brooklyn’s too busy, and I love the separation of bikes and peds on that thing. I pedaled my way up the hill of the bridge and felt simply joyous. I know, cheesy, right? But that’s how it feels to zip along in the sky, looking over the pure density of this place. And then I was unceremoniously dumped into Chinatown. Fellow bikers were zipping by me to run the red lights, cars were pulling into the bike lane and unceremoniously throwing open doors, and pedestrians were running willy-nilly into the streets–oh, city noise! Get me back on the bridge, back to safety! I negotiated the buzz, enjoyed a lovely afternoon with J., swapping reading lists and stories about local politics in a variety of locals, and then it was back on the bike and following the signs to the Willaimsburg Bridge. This one is also divided for cyclists and pedestrians on our own level above the cars and subways, and oh my, it is such a treat. Please make all bridges double decker thank you very much. I let the bike lanes take me home, a lovely end to a lovely weekend of biking around NYC.

Waiting in Traffic on President & Fleet

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It’s Christmas Eve and S. was taking me to Damascus-the Maryland one-so I headed out on my bike for an early ride. I bundled up because it is finally getting cold here and zipped down the hill. Folks were lined up under the JFX to collect holiday packages and again at the park on Baltimore, lined up for food. I continued my ride, locked up the bike, went for a swim, and then headed back up toward home. I snapped this picture while waiting at a red light. Cars, taxis, buses, and me on my bike, all of us depending on the rest of us to follow the rules, which we mostly do. I stopped to chat with E. and walked my bike for a bit, past the folks lining up on the walkway at Health Services for the Homeless. A man stopped to chat with me about the importance of bike safety, wearing my helmet, paying attention, and all that jazz. Always, I said. And then I got on my bike, headed up Fallsway, and narrowly avoided being hit by a driver who raced through the crosswalk at an intersection on her way to make a right. Yep, stay attentive at all times, and drivers, please take your time; that could have made a really terrible holiday for all of us. I made it home safely, happy to have gotten in some exercise. Before I left my house I’d read an article about how children are getting iPads for Christmas instead of toys, an it’s a terrible thing. From what I saw on my ride today, that’s not all children, and I’m thinking we’ve got bigger problems than that.

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.

Traffic at St. Charles & MLK

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I flew back to New Orleans today after a week setting up my new life in Baltimore. The weird thing about transitional periods is that the are, well, transitional. I’m in my second sublet of the summer–all my stuff is packed in boxes in my office that’s not really my office anymore–and I’m just here for three more weeks before I go back, and I really just want to get to riding those hills in Baltimore so I can get better at it, but I also don’t want to leave New Orleans. I mean, I know how to live in this town and how to bike around it, and it’s kind of scary to think about actually living in that sprawling metropolis! And the biking! I know these streets, all the cracks and traffic patterns and tendencies of cars and pedestrians, and I trust myself to ride in a straight line no matter where I’m riding, which means that I’m never really afraid. I snapped this picture while waiting for my turn at the light on St. Charles and Martin Luther King, watching the cars go by, listening to the streetcar come up behind me, avoiding joggers on the tracks. There’s a lot going on, but I am expecting all of it. I’m still not sure what to expect of Baltimore’s streets, and I’m both anxious to find out, and wanting to stay here, in my comfort zone. There will be a healthy amount of fear management in the next year. But not tonight. Tonight there was an easy pedal back downtown, an order of beignets, a good chat with my pops, and a walk along Frenchman, listening to the music start to pour out of the doors. Yeah, let’s try to stay in the present, but get in some longer rides to improve that cardiovascular fitness for the hills. It’s a balance.