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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 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.
[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.
Obviously. Snow riding can be fun. But riding through the mounds of frozen goo left by plows and cars and people shoveling into the street — not to mention black ice — is not the casual ride we had in mind. Five people getting hurt on a ride isn’t going to promote or celebrate cycling so much.
How about next week or a New Year ride?
Monday, December 21st. Early evening/after work. Stay tuned for the time/place, as we watch the winter weather unfold. As much as riding in snow and ice can be fun, doing it for the hell of it sounds like an invitation for injuries. So if the weather’s bad, we’ll have to do a post-Christmas or New Year’s ride.
This is a mega casual ride — not a critical mass or memorial ride by any means. Bring a Thermos! It’s just fun to get together and celebrate winter cycling. If the weather does not cooperate, perhaps we could all get some beers somewhere fun that night?
More info this weekend.
The forecast looks grim, with snow this weekend, which will thaw a little and refreeze Monday night (in the 20s), making for black ice and other nastiness. As much as winter riding is fun, we’d like to be uninjured and enjoy it. Personally, I’d hate for anyone to get hurt when we should be having fun. We’ll have to call it after Saturday when we know how bad it is.
With this cold, wet, snowy mess hitting Baltimore today, I thought perhaps we could use photos of that beautiful, sunny November day when we all paid tribute to Jack Yates and to cycling in [North] Baltimore.
Josh, from Baltimore Bicycle Works.
Liam, from Cyclosity.
GHCC board member John.
Finally, Mr. Dan finishing the ride!
Today is overcast and cool. It’s the perfect day to ride to a coffee shop and get a cup. Then on the way home find some leaves to ride through.
I usually try to keep my ride pretty clean. I’ve been a little lazy about it lately, and it really needs a good bath. This got me thinking. My dad has always said, “Before winter sets in you should put a good coat of wax on you car.” One of his points being is that it helps keep the salt off the car’s finish in the winter months. This does make sense to me. So I’m thinking of cleaning up the old horse and putting a coat of wax on the seat/chain stays, down tube and fork. Can anyone think of a good reason not to do this?
Also with winter on the horizon does anyone have any cold weather riding tips you would like to share with the cycling community? One I use, I got from Sheldon Brown. Use clear tape to block off a few air vents on your helmet. It’s a easy and very inexpensive way to help keep your head a little warmer and not compromise the fit of your brain bucket.
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.
Don’t look for this today. It’s raining!
And my fenders do rejoice.
Had a beautiful tailwind yesterday morning. Blew into work refreshed and ready for Monday. My boss commented that my face was red. It was the sting of the chilly air on my way downhill four miles. It was better than coffee to wake me up. Well, almost. Add a liter-sized Thermos of coffee, and you’re in business. Thumping out emails and making my office smell like hot ink from the buzz of writing.
Then there was a family emergency in the afternoon, and I had to truck to Hampden — uphill and straight into a nasty headwind. (My parents got robbed, but all is well and replaceable.)
I forgot what my point was.