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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.
Hmm, here I am, wearing sandals. No beard. No scarf. No heavy vest. Only medium-weight gloves and a hoody. Nice, right? It’s strange, though. There was still snow in the river when I rode in this morning, and it was nine degrees a few days ago when I went to work. No wonder everyone around me has a headache.
[Bike rack in the quad at SIU Carbondale, 2006.]
I live in an apartment building in North Baltimore, and I live on the top floor (i.e., the 4th). While I do take the steps fairly often, I generally take the elevator with my bike, especially when I’m wearing work cloths. ElRo was leaving at the same time and cycling to work also today. As we were getting ready to pack into the elevator, my next-door neighbor was coming out — with HIS bike.
What ensued was a “You guys go ahead” — “No, you go” — “I insist, you guys go ahead” — “I think we’ll fit, wanna try?”
It might have been funny to watch, but the best part was that bike traffic these days is getting so thick that people leaving from the same floor of the same building at the same time are clogging up elevators. I am sure the nice weather this week after a particularly harsh January has a lot to do with it, but the big traffic is getting stronger all the time. I can’t imagine what this spring and summer are going to look like, but I enjoy trying to picture it.