I’ve been riding my bike a lot since I last blogged about it. I ride it almost every day, especially now that school is in session. It’s just how I get from here to there, and since I go here and there, I’m pretty much always on my bicycle. It has been so hot these last couple of months that biking has been a lot less pleasurable than usual. I’m still always happy once I’m on the bike, but if I’m being honest, I don’t always want to get on there.
I spent most of last week riding my bicycle around–errands, work, getting miles in. I could tell I was riding a bit too much–I was starting to get kinda agitated and insomniacal, signs of overtraining, so I decided I’d pedal it back a bit, following my pops’ rule: whatever you do should make you want to get back on your bike again. And then it was Thursday, and I had a good ride out and back to work planned–the bonus of commuting by bike is that your long rides work themselves in without even trying. Continue reading
Last Wednesday’s ride was another longer one, up to campus for a mid-morning meeting, and then back to Patapsco Valley State Park, this time to find a trail inside the park, unlike Monday’s ride. A teensy bit of advanced planning can do wonders, but that’s not a lesson I seem able to learn. I also failed to learn the lesson that the GPS is not always right, so my ride out of campus led me, for a disturbingly long time, out on the shoulder of I195. It’s UMBC Boulevard for a hot minute, and then there’s allegedly a way to stay on that street and then take a ramp up to Selford. I’ve seen our cross country team coming back from this direction, so I’m sure that’s possible, but I couldn’t figure it out. Continue reading
Classes started last week, just as they have for the past ten years I’ve been teaching. There’s always something different–a new syllabus or classroom, a new office or a new class blog, and always there are new students, familiar but different, and each group has to find its own chemistry. Sometimes, though, a new semester means something earth-shatteringly new that makes everything different. Like this past week, when I got an email the day before the new semester began announcing a free shuttle service between downtown Baltimore and UMBC. Wow. This is a game-changer for so many of us–or at least enough of us to justify the expense and to make them keep the shuttle line. My excitement was not without some reservation. Continue reading
Thursday was UMBC’s graduation, and rather than wait in traffic to find a parking spot with increasingly grumpyproud parents, I stuffed my tam in my bag and rode my bike the 20 minutes down the hill, locked up precariously to a fence right outside the side door to the arena because that’s what the security guard told me to do, and headed inside to eat all the buffet lunches with my fellow faculty members. A. brought my sorcerer robes with her on the Circulator, and by the time she figured out how to get into the place, she was one angry pregnant lady with her eye on the food tables–she’s eating for two, so don’t fuck with her. Continue reading
I love not having a car, but Friday was one of those days when having a car would have been kinda great. I had an appointment up in Roland Park and then had to be out in the suburbs at UMBC and then back in Roland Park to judge an evening debate tournament. And I was out of coffee. In a car, I just would have made the rounds, but on a bike it felt like climbing hill after hill after hill, always needing to leave a little early to get to the next thing on time. And I didn’t have a chance to get coffee until 1:30 in the afternoon, on my way home to swap Brompty back out for the Surly. But you know what? As I climbed up Roland Avenue for the second time, I realized how lucky it is to want to ride my bike, to take such joy in the feel of it all, and to live in a body that lets me do it. Continue reading
I smoked my last cigarette 8 years ago on Tuesday. It was a spur of the moment decision, but one I stuck with, choosing not to smoke, minute by minute, until I didn’t want to smoke anymore. I remembered it was my anniversary as I was dragging my tired self down the hill for a very long day of work, a bad night’s sleep and a headache making the commute seem much more like a chore than a cheerful opportunity to have Deep Thoughts about where the road salt’s going and when, if that RV ever goes anywhere other than that driveway, or whatever else I was going to see on my bike today. And then I smiled to myself, because I don’t have to smoke, think about quitting, or quit smoking anymore. Continue reading