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From the mailbox:

Hello North Baltimore Bike Brigade!

I found your contact information online and wanted to invite you and your members to join celebrity Tour de France veterans Floyd Landis and Bob Roll for the 3rd Annual Save-A-Limb Ride on Sunday, September 28th at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD. Is it possible for you to share this information with your listserve members and place it on your blog?

The Save-A-Limb Ride will feature three different ride through Maryland’s Countryside: a Metric Century ride, 30 miler, and 6 mile family fun ride. Proceeds from the event will go to the Save-A-Limb Fund, a nonprofit established with the goal of advancing patient care and support in the fight to save limbs from amputation and to preserve joints. Following the Save-A-Limb Ride there will be a picnic and carnival, featuring Bob Roll as MC.

We’re also looking for volunteers to assist with water stops, carnival games and registration for the event. Make a difference today! Register for the Save-A-Limb Bike Ride and Carnival and raise money for the Save-A-Limb Fund where every pedal and dollar will change the life of someone struggling with a limb and joint deformity.

For event times and to register, please visit us online at

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you think may be interested. We also have opportunities for your organization to set up a table an recruit new members for your team. I look forward to speaking with you further about the event and answering any of your questions. We hope to see you and your team out on the course! Thank you in advance for your time and attention.

Take care,
Anna ML Valero

I won’t be able to make it, and I know that Zack will be where I will be Sunday.  But if anyone else can swing it, it sounds like fun.  And I’d love to see photos!


But I won’t clog up this here space with it again.  It’s here.

After a warm weekend, I find my morning commute chilly through the wooded parts of Wyman Park and the Jones Falls Trail.

I hope Mr. Moon is wrong about the relative multitude of cyclists in Baltimore lately. (Read this.) Just like rain won’t melt you, cold won’t crack you.

You know, I hate to say it. But it seems like the title “cyclist” might need…qualifying sometimes, for some people. Someone who does a lot of downhilling or racing might not want the same word to apply to me as to them. “Utility cyclist” or “Fred” or “Hybrid-rider” might be preferable to them to refer to me.

I’m just as guilty. Sometimes I find myself thinking that “summer cyclist” would be a good name for people who pack up and start driving when the leaves start changing and falling. But it’s the same crap as making fun of a gal/guy on a cruiser or hybrid or etc. As much as I am tempted to get all self-righteous because I ride year-round, cheers still to anyone who used a bike for transportation this summer. Yonder time (2005), I used to drive/own a car. Cyclists insulting me might have kept me there a little longer. So I won’t be a jerk.

Instead of insulting you, I’d encourage you to keep on riding. Cold-weather riding has its own hidden treats. If you prefer to drive/take transit this winter, well hell, still thanks for joining us this summer. See ya next year, maybe a month or two earlier 🙂 (And maybe seeing some of us riding around Baltimore with holiday decorations on our bikes can tempt you out a few times.)

(Why can’t we all get along, like ElRo and Big Red?)

I was on my way to work last Tuesday after the holiday weekend.  I had gotten a few flats that weekend and was being extra-aware of everything that morning.  A person I often see riding his bike to work also was ahead of me as I approached a certain intersection.  I saw him do what I usually see him do — break a traffic law.  (I’ll admit to making right turns on red that are not allowed for certain times of day and bending or breaking other laws when it’s going to keep me safe.  Heading North from Downtown on Calvert Street, for instance, stopped at a light, I’ll run the danged thing if the car behind me is turning right, not looking and has been crowding me for a few blocks.  I’d rather get a ticket or even be a bad example than a smooshed example.  But this is an extreme example.)

I hate to generalize, but he looks and acts smug.  He never waits at any red lights, never looks before turning, even left turns, etc.  So I thought it would be funny if I caught up to him before the Jones Falls Trail, maybe pass him on my milk-crated bike and make him feel like poo.  I did catch up with him at the red light where Wyman Park Drive and Sisson/Keswick meet because there was too much traffic going by for him to run the light yet.  Yes, the one where it’s impossible to see to the right if you’re heading toward Druid Hill.  He went to run this dangerous light and lost his chain.  Inside, I laughed so hard that I might have snickered out-loud.  He wasn’t hurt or anything, just pulled off to fix it and get his hands greasy.

I went on and rode my bike on Fallsway that morning because there was a lot of debris on the trail.  I was running kind of close to the clock, so I was in a relatively high gear and pushing toward Downtown much faster than I usually do.  Low and behold, this kid who usually uses the road is next to me, on the trail, and it looks like he’s racing me.  I didn’t want to get sucked into this stupid race-head bullshit.  I let him get a few feet ahead of me because the place where he would have to cross the road or enter the road was coming up, and I didn’t think he’d be reckless enough to dart out into the road without looking.  I was half right.  He looked, but he still jumped out, right in front of me while I was doing about 25 mph and he had slowed down considerably.  I had to slam my brakes and still almost hit him.  I was on his back wheel until Maryland Avenue.  I was almost late for work, too, from slowing down.  Traffic picked up, so I couldn’t pass him, and he was riding slowly from wearing himself out with his racing nonsense.

If you are he, what you did was dangerous and stupid.  You could have gotten us both hurt, and you’re damned lucky I wasn’t a car.

It’s bad enough that we have to contend with drivers who are jerks and idiots.  Now we have to deal with rude cyclists, too?  I passed a guy who was slowing me down yesterday morning on San Martin Drive.  But I politely warned him verbally and with my bell and gave him a good six feet — all of which was more than he deserved, since we came out of the same building and he dropped the door on me when I was right behind with a bike.

I can’t figure out if the wankers are new commuters or what.  (Somehow, I doubt it.)  I’m as glad as anyone to have the company on the road, but we’ve gotta work together more.  There’s no excuse for doing things that are dangerous and stupid at the same time.

Paris has one. Barcelona has one. Montreal, Mexico City, even our neighbors in Washington DC. Bike sharing programs! Others, too. But these five are in big cities, and Washington is especially important because “what happens in Washington reverberates around the world, and we’ve already seen the wild popularity of bike-sharing in various countries and climates.” Maybe we’ll get them up here, hon!

We could. Washington is wildly…flatter than most of Baltimore, but the waterfront is pretty flat here. We have the tourists to ride them. I was at Carma’s Cafe’ last weekend, and I heard some tourists wondering to themselves if there was a bike share program down near the Inner Harbor. I’m not making this up! You never know. We do have a Mayor with a dedication to making Baltimore more bike-friendly. There are more ordinary cyclists out everyday. A bike is a great way to see the waterfront and downtown if you’re a traveler here. For all I know, there’s something like this in the works or at least being looked at. I’d be happy to put my research skills toward this end, if there’s anyone out there working on this.

Read more, with more photos, too.

You know, if you’ve ever sailed home on a tailwind or had to mash those pedals against a strong wind in the morning, you know that this could really really work. As in all things, maybe better on a bike than a car, though. But I am not volunteering to test it. Read more.

For the National Night Out Parade a few weeks ago, ElRo had to carry a padded laptop bag from REI without smashing it. I rigged up a tote bag pannier for the two mile ride. Worked perfectly, though I think anything that weighed more than an empty bag inside of it might have swayed a bit.

Photo Friday: The Ordinary.

Starting in 2005, I rode around on my former Giant for a year with Slime tubes — no flats. Also, not that much mileage and most of it in Southern Illinois. Pulled metal out a few times.  But still, no flats.

Put hundreds of miles on my current Giant’s semi-cheap Kenda hybrid/touring tires riding all over Baltimore. Slimes tubes. Never had issues for like 22 months. Before I left for Boston/New York, I pulled a flat coming home on Falls Road, near Cross Keys. No biggy. There as a big, shady, grassy spot along the road to do some patching, and I had good company and my toolkit.

But no. Or, rather, yes. Biggy. The Shishishishishishishishish sound you hear when air is escaping and you have even crappy clip-on fenders was accompanied by a nasty bubbling sound. There was Slime everywhere. Everywhere. So much so that, without three or ten rags, there was no way to patch that tire. I was only about a mile from home; so I walked it, rather than taking the load off of my rack, flipping The Duke over and replacing the rear tube. I assumed that the hole must have been large, if the Slime didn’t stop it. But no. It was small. Tiny. Barely bigger than a pin. Ordered some non-Slime tubes immediately. That stuff is gross and ruined a nice pump.  Now I found out the hard way that it doesn’t always do what it says it will do.

Fine.  Replaced my tubes and kicked out the jams.

Then this Saturday on my birthday, I picked up some glass in my front tire on my way back from Fell’s Point. Made it home, patched ‘er up and was all set.

Sunday, Dan and I were out riding, and something was rubbing around Druid Hill. There was a bubble in my back tire that kept hitting my fender. But the time I got home, the rubber was gone. I stole ElRo’s old back tire (which is a larger, 40c tire, while mine were 38s). Ordered some Kevlar-lined tires and three more tubes. No biggy. I’d just ride around on those big tires until my new ones came in — which I did Monday, with no problems. Bought some books, did some riding, made some food. Fun times.

Then Tuesday, I picked up glass in the same front tube, on the Jones Falls Trail on my way from work. I had a bad day and was annoyed, but at least I could pull off the road and patch in the grass. Good thing I always carry my repair gear. Patched up, rode home, showered, ate pasta and chilled.

Gave one Hummer driver the finger when he blew the horn at me and motioned for me to use the JFT.  I had just gotten back onto the road from patching and was hot.  I gave that jackass the full Statue of Liberty extension of a middle finger.  I try not to react so much to drivers.  But come on.  If you drive a Hummer, no one cares what your opinion is about cycling. Besides, while we are required by Maryland law to use bike lanes when they are present, the JFT is not a designated bike lane.  I usually do use it on my way home, since I’m riding all uphill from mid-town to Roland Park.  But that wanker was out of line, and I laughed as his gas bill half of my way home.

Wednesday morning, I was drinking coffee and I heard my tire blow out in my bedroom. I do take pride in my patching abilities, but I assumed that was the problem, that one of the two patches on my front tube had blown off. But what happened was that the tube got pierced somehow when it stretched into the dimple where the spoke nipples are. I checked, and the rim tape looked fine. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe I was not careful enough with the wheel yesterday and had something in there that caught itself in the dimple and took the tube out. I stopped midway through patching to try to add new rim tape to my tire/tube order, but they wouldn’t let me. It was getting late, and patching my tire at home was not an option. I had to get to work.

I feel like the Universe is conspiring to keep me off the road. So I took the bus to work yesterday and today. Well, in my defense, I had to go in and come home early yesterday so that I could go with my brother to the airport at 4:30. Today, my bike won’t let tubes live until my new rim tape comes.  But still. Despite a nice bus ride, I missed my bike.


Came home, and my back tire was flat, too. It seems that my rubber rim strips have failed me. Just ordered cloth rim tape, second-day so that I can get my bike back up by Monday. Damn it. I have a meeting until 8 that night, too. It’s a universorial conspiracy. Yes, that’s a word. I just made it up.

I hope Treehugger meant this jokingly.  Because the comments already show that, baby, it ain’t over.

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