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Wyman Park Drive, after it crosses Sisson Street by Stieff Silver and goes toward the Jones Falls Trail and Druid Hill Park is being resurfaced right now.  While it will be awesome when it’s finished, you might want to find another way home tonight.  Sorry for the lack of pictures.


Some kind-hearted folks are organizing a ride from Baltimore to Annapolis to honor fallen cyclist Larry Bensky.

This is a ride from Baltimore to Annapolis to memorialize Larry Bensky, who as you all know was killed this past Tuesday while riding on Butler Rd. We’re doing this on Monday as it is the last day of the current legislative session and a great and somber opportunity to get bill 461 passed into law. House bill 461 requires motorists to give cyclists three feet when passing. Some say that it can’t be enforced but they’re missing the point. The point is to draw attention to the rights of cyclists and to move one inch, or three feet, towards a better, more civil society. So join us.

Respond to the event on Facebook here.

I can’t make it, since my child is about to be born any day (literally) now.  But if any readers/contributors do and would like to share reflections, stories and photos, please drop us a line.


In the fall, University Parkway was resurfaced (check out the video of it getting eaten).  The blacktop has been nice since then, but it’s lacked markings.  As soon as the weather warmed a few weeks ago, the traffic lanes and bike lane lines went back up.  Today, a crew was out on North-bound West University Parkway, putting in markings within the lanes.  They look fantastic! Many thanks to the work of folks like Nate!


I don’t think it’s my imagination that the number of cyclists seems to go up in Baltimore each spring — not merely up from the winter, but up from the year before. I’m sure even non-cyclists have noticed the increase in two-wheeled warriors over the last few weeks (especially the end of this week).

But I was wondering today if this year’s particularly terrible winter might have something to do with an increase in people engaging in outdoor activities in general. Were there folks who thought, “This winter’s been a doozy. I want to get outside more this spring. How can I? Riding a bike would work….”

Or maybe I’m universalizing my own relief that spring is here, matched perhaps only by my last winter/spring in Boston in 2003.

Winter cycling has its own rewards. But spring cycling means more company. (Check out Let’s Go Ride a Bike, for a post about commuting company, and this old NBBB post.)  My co-worker and I went 1/2 way home together yesterday.  And I haven’t been the only cyclist on the Jones Falls Trail at all since spring got here.


I snapped this today after summiting on Charles St. from Penn Station. Cherry blossoms, proof that spring is here. A nice reward for a great ride in the sprinkles.  Hooray for rain rides!


Nothing is better than bikes and public transportation.  Head down the Jones Falls trail on Sundays and ride the streetcars.  One more great place to visit on the JFT: The Baltimore Streetcar Museum.

....shouldn't we always?

Aside from a few new bike lanes here or there as part of Operation Orange Cone, there hasn’t been anything new to bike on in Baltimore for quite some time.  Even the new shared bike and bus lanes downtown need some refreshing.  One small victory was gained in the deep mid-winter on the central bikeway of Baltimore.  Baltimore City Public School System had closed the parking lot of the Guilford Ave cut-through due to conflict between cyclists and pedestrians with extended gate arms and chains.

A compromise was reached by the Department of Transportation adding signage to direct cyclists to the parking lot and yiedling right-of-way to pedestrians; nothing more than is asked in the regular course of travel by cyclists in all parts of the city…and world.   By adding 3 simple signs, the dream of the Guilford Avenue Bicycle Boulevard lives on.

Quite a few more signs for bicycles will spring up over the course of the spring, summer & fall taking B’more to the next level of bicycle existence.  No, it’s not Portland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen or even New York City.  It’s Baltimore.  Not only will the Park Heights and Southeast Bike Networks become reality, but construction on 3 trail sections will begin and an existing trail will be recognized.

Until the summer construction season, keep on riding, shake the remaining cold and yield to pedestrians.  There are many events coming this summer that need assistance of experienced cyclists.  Let’s get more of B’more outta cars and onto bikes!!!

As Bartles & James used to say, “Thank you for your support.”


Via The Baltimore Sun:

The family of a bicyclist who was killed last year in a collision with a truck on Maryland Avenue has filed a wrongful death suit against the driver and his employer.

On Aug. 4, John R. “Jack” Yates, 67, was riding his bike south on Maryland Avenue behind a truck when he got caught in the vehicle’s rear wheels as it turned right on Lafayette Avenue, police said at the time. He died at the scene.

The civil suit, filed Wednesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of Yates’ wife, son and daughter, seeks $5 million in compensatory damages for negligence by driver Michael Dale Chandler of Severn and Potts & Callahan Inc. The demolition, excavation and equipment rental company is located on Lafayette Avenue.

Baltimore police investigators determined that Yates was at fault because he was riding in the parking lanes and tried to pass the truck. No charges were filed against Chandler.

But Steven D. Silverman, the attorney representing Yates’ family, said that the driver and his company were negligent because a surveillance video shows he turned right without signaling.

Also, “he took a right turn without making sure it was clear and free of traffic — cyclists or pedestrians,” he said.

The lawyer also argued that Yates was not negligent because statutes governing bicyclists require them to stay with the flow of traffic, as far to the right as possible.

“That’s exactly what Mr. Yates did,” he said.

More here, and, I’m sure, terrible comments from all the jerks in the state.

Have I just been living under a rock, or is this the first time it’s been made public that it was Potts & Callahan’s driver who was driving the truck?

I’m glad that Mr. Yates’ family is sticking to it, since it seems like the Police gave up.

I’ve always thought they looked not only pretty cool, but also very practical. The first mile or so of my commute heads Southeast into the morning sun, and my tinted glasses don’t do the job on the brightest of days. No visored helmets I’ve ever used did a good job or anything except hitting me in the face in a crash when one broke off. For the sake of my eyes (i.e., keeping them in my head), I went visorless this time around.  But I assumed it was either a cap or a helmet. Because, having smashed my head into the ground before, I don’t go anywhere without my shell-hat, AKA, my helmet.

But, duh. (I’m admitting a high level of density here.) I could just wear a cap under my helmet. I mean, at least, I assume I could. I do have the largest size helmet, with the thin pads, and it’s a tight fit. I have an enormous head, seriously.  But maybe I’ll shave my head and get everything under there.

Also, if you’ve worn a Nutcase helmet, you’ve probably noticed the oddly-shaped pads. While “normal” helmets usually give you “striped” helmet head, these sorta make it look like something pooped on you or that you stuck your head into a watermelon or something. A different helmet head when I show up at work would be nice.

Anyway, came across these caps, and they even turn these out in stylish hemp. Pretty neat.

Anyone have any experience with, or recommendations for, cycling caps?

[Image, Walz Caps.]


I haven’t. This is a terrible cell-phone picture from when I was waiting for the bus this morning. I can walk to the grocery store and didn’t work last week.  So getting-around sans bike hasn’t been much of an issue for me.  But I realize that not everyone lives a ten minute walk from two markets and can telecommute when necessary.

Anyone have any cool snow/ice/bike stories from this storm/these storms?


When we think we have a rough time with snow here in Baltimore this winter, think of our Northern comrades in Alaska.  Check out Bicycles and Icicles.  It made me feel kinda wimpy for my bike being inside for a week.  These folks are serious adventurers!

I realize that comparing climates is futile.  Plenty of cities with much harsher winters than Baltimore have great bike ridership and strong “bike cultures.”  But we do also have pretty long and terrible summers. But there are hotter cities with plenty of ridership, too.  Maybe it’s just a matter of cycling being incredibly fun and of lots of people wanting to do it, wherever they live?

Still, this is some wild stuff I’d love to try one day.  If we keep having winters like this (and climate change scientists often say we might), I think I might have to invest in a hardcore snow bike like these intrepid cyclists pedal around the snowy North.

Wow.  Feet and feet of snow this winter, ruining so many nice bike rides.  Sure, riding in snow is fun and do-able, but not in two feet of the stuff.  Or maybe I’m just a sissy for not riding when my hubs, bottom bracket and feet would be under snow.  With what else is coming, I’ll bet half the bikes in Baltimore lost their minds.  Maybe their riders’ minds, too.


From Carryology.

I’ve used both, hated both and loved both.  I’ve traveled with two messengers for a weekend trip and hiked with one, and I’ve cycled with very heavy backpacks that almost took me down with crosswinds.

I get a sweaty back; so I was carrying a messenger bag this summer and fall.  But usually I hate adjusting them (even with the cross-strap) and the Messenger Bag Should Sloop (where you’re just bent from those things). I used to like that carrying a messenger bag identified me as “a cyclist.”  But, for one, that’s not really true.  Just as everyone with a backpack is not a backpacker, traveler or vagabond, not everyone with a messenger bag is a cyclist.  Secondly, I don’t want to be identified by my favorite mode of transportation.  I do also walk and take transit a lot.  Plus, well, if we want everyone to cycle, the cyclist/non-cyclist distinction is counterproductive.

I do notice that I over-pack with backpacks.  Right now I have 17 pens and four Moleskines on me.  No kidding.  Add work papers, dissertation drafts, a 40 oz water bottle, lunchtime book and other junk, and it’s a lot more weight on my back.  Sweating is not usually a worry this time of year, but I think my high-riding daypack can get in the way of my helmet a little.

Lately, I’ve been throwing my stuff into an old totebag and strapping it to my rack.  I do feel like a sucker with a bag on and an empty rack.  I call it my Bike Bindle.  I’ll have to do a post about that.


[Pardon the terrible camera-phone picture.]
After last night’s rain and this morning’s wind, there’s stuff all over Baltimore’s streets and paths, waiting to get in your way on your ride to/from work/school.  I was dodging sticks and wet clumps of gravel this morning, when I happened upon this big mess on the Jones Falls Trail, just South of the 28th and 29th Street[s] bridges.  If I were not already late for work and had a saw/ax on me, I might have contributed to getting it out of the way.

I also saw an open box of Trek bike frames near the Streetcar Museum’s shed.  Bizarre.  They looked new?

Also, in a score for cyclists, a piece of my apartment building’s slate roof was on the walkway when I left this morning.  It was large enough, sharp enough and came from high enough that it would probably have killed you if it landed on your head.  In a Nutcase-esque helmet, though, I don’t know.  Maybe not.  Though, damn.  It’s scary to think of what a piece of slate the size of a small pizza could do, from the top of 4 1/2 stories.

Anyway, I made it to the Maryland Avenue bridge, two blocks from my office this morning, before the rain started.  I heard these bangs and thought, “What the @#$% is that?”  It was huge rain drops hitting my hardshell helmet.  In the two blocks in which I sped to work, I got completely drenched.  But on my entire ride up to that point, the very very wet roads and paths didn’t affect my sandal-clad feet, as my excellent fenders kept me very dry.  I’m wearing wet jeans and wet flannel now at work on my lunchbreak, though.  Not very comfortable.

It was a good ride.  With the wind that woke me up two hours before my alarm, I almost took the bus.  But with how nice it’s going to be this afternoon, I’d have felt like a schmuck standing on Charles Street and watching everyone else have all the fun.  To boot, the rain window during rush hour probably beckoned more folks than just me who were teetering on whether to ride or not in that wind.  Until the end, the skies were dry, if very cloudy.

And the wind: a moderate headwind for my entire ride, with some scary gusts.  I had to pedal downhill.  But it was good.  I need the exercise.  My bike was drenched, so I carried up the 14 flights to my office.  That hurt more than I want to admit.  My big ass is very out of shape.

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