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It’s next week already! The short idea is to meet in North Baltimore somewhere and just have a quiet little 15 (or so) miler around town to celebrate winter cycling, the holidays, lights — hopefully including a spin to the Harbor and possibly to the 34th Street thing. We’re going to count the votes by 9:00pm EST on Wednesday the 16th and post the date on the 17th.
I’ll message folks via the Facebook group to hopefully get some more responses. For the 21st, it’s the start of WINTER. So it has a nice ring to it.
I was going to post this while down the beach but given the recent events I decided to hold off until now. So here it is…
My original plan was to ride from 139th to the OC inlet at the end of the board walk but, after careful consideration, recommendation of a local and a reader of this blog, I decided to ride North instead. I, liking to beat myself up, decided to begin my ride around one p.m. on the hottest day we where down there. You know 90 some degrees with 100 heat index. Whatever, it’s flat on the shore, right? Anyway my first stop was of this watch tower.
For anyone who doesn’t know, these towers are haunting reminders of how close German subs came to our coasts in WW II. I’ve always been fascinated with these concrete sentries. I think they’re creepy in a neat sorta way. Moving on, I next rolled into the town of Bethany. In my opinion this is what a beach town should look like. Quiet, sandy and lived in. I pasted the Bethany bike shop. I don’t think I have to explain why I took a picture of this.
I wasn’t ready to turn back towards home so I continued North on 50. Before I knew it I was looking 2 miles down the road at the inlet bridge. I road down alone side the bridge where there is a parking lot for folks wanting to fish, go to the beach or out on a boat. There I took a water break and a few more pictures.
After hydrating a bit I jumped on my ride and headed home for the day. The ride took me about 2 hours to go up and back, with a few breaks of course. Over all total mileage was just under 25 miles. It was a very relaxing ride. I highly recommend it. The only draw backs are no shade and you are riding on 50 where vehicles pass you are doing, well, 50 or so. That was the most surprising part of my ride is that I did not feel unsafe on 50 at all. Delaware really has it together when it comes to bike lanes and markings for them. The lanes where very clearly marked and there was signage everywhere saying “Look out for bicycles” which, is much more to the point than “Share the road”.
Maybe next time I’m “danny oshin” I’ll ride South. I think that with be in the off season.
Zack and Dan and I had coffee tonight with Zack’s four month old son. Then Dan and I took a long walk around Hampden, Rolden and Roland Park, sipping root beers, talking about the direction this blog has been heading lately. When we started this website and our tongue-in-cheek bike “club”, we had nothing in mind but fun. Why blog? To spread the fun. Environmental issues aren’t going to get as many people to ride bikes as posting pictures and paragraphs about having a fun ride will. Maybe I’m just hedonistic?
I fully realize that I am largely to blame for the recent negativity. Perhaps some of my recent posts would have been better on my personal blog (five years and going strong!). In my defense, seeing a fallen cyclist in the road does tend to breed negative thoughts and feelings, and reading hateful comments on The Sun doesn’t help. But we have to work to get past what happened and to get moving toward remembering why we cycle in the first place: it’s fun. Yes, it’s good for the planet, good for your body. But the best reason to ride is that it’s the most enjoyable way to get anywhere. If we could hear Mr. Yates, he’d be telling us to get out and spread the cycling message through example and a smile, not through angry words.
We promised ourselves we would not use this blog only to complain about cars, about any segments of the cycling community (roadies, hipsters, Freds, etc.), about politics. While we’ve done (I think) a good job of not being divisive about cyclists, we’ve gone and slipped into some us/them mind-set lately. Cars/bikes. Drivers/cyclists. That’s just stupid. I only know two cyclists who don’t have cars, and I’m one of them. Hell, you could argue that it’s good for cyclists to have cars because each of them is one more driver who looks out for other people. That’s an example we could all use on the road. Everywhere.
And certainly lumping all drivers together because of people like The Sun‘s commenters and the people who yell at us is as bad as the folks who lump us all together because they see cyclists running redlights and nearly running over pedestrians.
Something gnawing at me says, “Mr. Yates just died last week! We can’t act happy when the police haven’t even found the truck yet!” But ask yourself this, as I have: What would you tell us if you were Mr. Yates? I‘d say to keep riding. To have fun and let everyone know it. I‘d say that focusing only on danger and tragedy forever isn’t going to get butts on saddles.
So, in the spirit of lightening up, I give you Roxy, who looks like she ran into a wall.
[Roxy photo by ElRo. Evil Crack Monkey drawing and photo by Johnny.]
Who’s up for a ride tonight? Completely low-key and completely last-minute!
At least Dan and I are meeting at the Watertower after 7pm and then pushing off at 7:30. If you plan to make it, please leave a comment. If you want my cell number, I’ll email it to you. Baltimore’s glassy, so bring a tube if you think you might need it. We usually carry patch kits, pump and levers.
And bring water! It’s gonna be hot!
We usually just ride around town for 10-15 or 15-20 miles enjoying ourselves, often getting a coffee/tea/soda somewhere. I’m just back in the saddle after three months out, so I doubt we’re going to be counting the miles.
If you get there before 7pm, you can talk to folks from Friends of the Watertower, a group who’s trying to save our historical brick beauty.
[Photo from Hemingway’s birthday ride last year. I didn’t edit out our faces; the camera was on the sidewalk in Little Italy, and this is what came out.]
This Sunday, Dan, Johnny and Zack took a very short (like an hour and a half maybe) ride last-minute because Johnny had to return Zack’s rims to him — trued rims, replaced spoke and patched tire. I mean, folks who ride centuries might scoff at our trip to Druid Hill, down the full length of the Jones Falls Trail and then back up Charles Street to University Parkway. But a nice 12-20 mile ride is just our idea of fun.
All the better if, at the end, there’s a bad flat when we’re near someone’s apartment. Baltimore City tap water (with lemon!) and air conditioning are nice, followed by beers and a little bike work. Hell, how could you say “no” to that?
Anyone up for a short little ride after dinner/evening Thursday night? Nothing big — just meeting at (what’s left of) the Watertower and a 10-20 mile fun ride to end there, perhaps with a coffee stop….
Dan says, “WE WANT YOU!!”
WANNA WRITE FOR THE NORTH BALTIMORE BIKE BLOG?!
We used to maintain the practice that one could blog on the site after we all met and rode together and all that. There are actually a number of contributors to this site. With new babies, Johnny’s accident and, well, LIFE, we haven’t gotten together to ride in ages – not since winter. So we have decided to open up blog membership to all comrades who pedal around the mean and hilly streets of North Baltimore City. Do you ride in North Baltimore? Do you ride through it from North of the City on your way to work? Do you never get anywhere near it but instead tear up the sharrows in your own part of the City? In short, are you a “Baltimore” cyclist?
Then this means YOU.
There are a small list of rules you might think about before signing up, which are subject to change:
1) Please write about cycling, not your new cat.
2) Feel free to moderately swear and cuss, but don’t get too Kevin Smith on us. There are some families who read this. They’ve probably heard the Sh-word and maybe even the F-word before, but there are other…dirtier things best left to your personal blog.
3) Please post some kind of image with your blog posts. All of them, as far as this is possible. Blogging is a visual medium. Images are not to exceed 500 pixels wide or high, or the blog format may get messed up. If you can’t resize, try GIMP (it’s free and easy to learn!). No nudity please. Please abide by fair-use, and don’t hyperlink photos from other websites, stealing their bandwidth.
4) Please try to be positive. Drivers often suck, and we all know it. But reading about that isn’t going to make the folks who read this site wanna cycle in this city, or any city.
5) We really do not want to have to censor people, but we reserve the right to remove inflammatory posts, naked pictures of your dad coming out of the tub, etc.
6) Please don’t sign up and never post at all. While posting quotas are stupid because everyone has a life, if you sign up and don’t post something in your first 30 days, you’re membership will be canceled. Sorry.
7) Oh, yeah. You have to, you know, be a cyclist. Not something who likes bikes or owns a bike. But if you’re not a cyclist, you probably wouldn’t want to sign up anyway.
If you think these rules are fair and want to blog with us, please email northbaltimorebikebrigadeATyahooDOTcom (with appropriate symbols, of course) with your email address, where you live, why you wanna join, your blogging experience, etc. Or, leave a comment to THIS post. We never share personal information, and we will get in touch with you and get you signed up.
Thanks for your continued support!
Dan and Johnny
Co-Founders, North Baltimore Bike Brigade.
We’ll begin the hour looking at ways to make Baltimore a more bike-friendly city with Anna Ricklin from the City Dept. of Transportation. She’s also a member of the community bike collective Velocipede. Then, one CEO, 1500 miles, 15 days: Trish Karter, CEO of the Dancing Deer Baking Co., is biking from Atlanta to Boston to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in the U.S. What she calls her Mother’s Day Ride is bringing her to Baltimore, and she’ll hop off her bike briefly to join us in Studio A.
You can listen online if you missed it.
I can’t tell all of the ignorant things some people have said to me since the bike accident, to complement all the very nice and very sweet words and well-wishes and gifts of candy and company from very good people I am lucky enough to know. In addition to people who have been very very nice to me, there is a whole platoon of people have taken it upon themselves to help me reform and understand my face-plant better with completely unsolicited advice. Indeed, even in defeat, there are insistent cycling-nay-sayers. A few (read more)…
So damn, time goes by fast. Johnny and I went out and took this kick ass ride last Saturday. We rode up to the city/county line on Lake Ave and then worked our way down to Fell’s Point. We got a cup of coffee and sat on the pier for a bit before heading back home. All in all about 20 miles or so. I was going to write this big post with lots of pictures that I took on the ride but I figured I’m a little late. So instead I’m gonna use this post to say if anyone is interested in doing one of these 20 mile or so rides down town or where ever let us know. We would love to make a run to Fell’s Point or Canton one day or night with bunch of people. The more people the more fun.
I just thought I’d share this. I took it the other day when I was up at Druid Hill. The lake was frozen over and covered with a fresh coat of snow.
[Dan and Johnny, Druid Hill Park (Baltimore), January 2008, last year.]
It’s not on the annual lists of biking hot spots, but during my recent visit to Baltimore I realized they might just become the next big bike city. They’re not quite Portland (yet), but they’re gaining fast.
I hear a decent amount of smugness from people in super bike-friendly cities, largely people that don’t even ride. I’m not singling anyone out or naming names, but conversations often go like this. I’ll edit the insults toward Baltimore that often come with it:
“I hardly see anyone ride in Baltimore. It’s too scary there with all the cars and traffic. I wouldn’t ride in Baltimore.”
“Lots of people ride. I do. @#$% the traffic.”
“You don’t even ride in X bike friendly city…..”
I have to say that some of this comes from cities like Portland, from people who have never ridden here. I’m glad that most other Portlanders are happy to see other cities doing what they’re doing, i.e., that they really in fact care about cycling taking off worldwide. A very good friend of ours (a Baltimore native) lives in Portland and works on bikes and rides everywhere, and he was impressed when he was in town last May with the progress Baltimore is making in becoming more bike-friendly. And think of all the improvements that have been made since then! People ride in the winter now!
Dan gets judged, and people wonder, “My other ride is your mom? What does that sticker say?” He won a light set, patch kit and tire levers. This sticker, which almost made me poop a little:
We had a lot of coffee and some treats before the ride, after some morning riding to and from set-up — on the very quiet and wet streets of Charles Village and Waverly. It was nice to be out without cars like that.
Several dozen people met up at the Watertower for the Tour du Greater Homewood, donned blue shirts made for the ride and turned right onto Roland Avenue. We rode through Hampden, Wyman Park, down the Jones Falls Trail, up Charles Street to Waverly, where we stopped at the Farmers’ Market.
It was a little hot and humid after the early morning storms that woke up everyone in Baltimore at 5:00am. But with water and a leisurely pace, it was cake, baby.
I don’t mean to get all he-manish, but I wanted to ride more. We’ll have to do another group ride soon. Perhaps an NBBB pub crawl or something in a few weeks. We never did have a picnic either.
We rode in the parade afterward, which was awkward because we had to move so slowly. I was kicking myself for not rocking a dress/muumuu. But it was nice to see so many people interested in cycling in this part of the city. Transportation, she is a-changin. We’re lucky to be on the cusp of something like the wave of cycling over-taking all awesome people in Charm City.
More photos here.
Photo Friday: The Team.
I’d call it casual, but they’re all casual. A few of us are planning on taking a leisurely ride from the Watertower to Fell’s Point, have a lemonade/other treat at the foot of Broadway, and then return. We’ll be at the Watertower after 7:30, and we’ll plan to leave at 8:00. Monday. Tomorrow. The 21st. Hemingway‘s birthday. Anyone who wants to come is totally welcome. But please wear a helmet and have your safety lights on. Safety vests are encouraged and damned stylish.
One caveat: If there are storms, the ride is cancelled. Drivers don’t know what to do in the case of storms, and it’s not worth the risk of getting flattened by someone on the phone in a land yacht with the windshield blinded by a downpour. If there was a place you had to be, it might be different, but this is just fun. (Before you call us sissies, ask yourself if you ride in the rain and in the winter. Because we do.)