Bike-to-Work Day

Apparently Bike-to-Work Day varies between cities, but in Baltimore, next Friday is Bike-to-Work Day, and next week is also Bike-to-Work Week. But May is definitely Bike-to-Work Month. According to wikipedia, bike-to-work celebration was started by the League of American Cyclists in 1956. Another group has June 26th as bike to work day, so I’ll celebrate that, too.

I rode in and back on Monday, but it was raining on Tuesday. I ignored the ‘50% chance of thunderstorms’ forecast and rode in on Wednesday, and had to wait for a ripping afternoon hail and thunder storm to pass before riding home in a light drizzle that evening. A small truck driver pulled the usual ‘honk just as you pass the cyclist trick’, but I was several feet away in a dedicated bike lane, so it didn’t have much effect.

I rode in through the fog this morning, with my blinky flashing. A woman in a blue Corolla was stopped in a line at a stop light, and honked in irritation as I rode by her on the right shoulder. There are signs about making room for bikes, but a guy in a white Volvo wagon passed faster and closer than he had to as I was going around a parked car. I passed him as he sat in line at the next light. I just made the green light and he floored it in anger as he passed me uphill into Druid Hill Park.

These were the first bad experiences on my new route to work. I used to follow Park Ave – Clipper Mill – Falls Road, but there is a lot of construction on the old mills right now. Two weeks ago I switched to Eutaw Place – Druid Hill Park – Greenspring Avenue. The Eutaw route is a half mile longer, but most of it features dedicated bike lanes. People had warned me that the area was too dangerous, meaning too black, especially after dark. There are a lot of black faces at Lexington Market and along Eutaw, then it becomes mixed suburban along Greenspring. So far I haven’t encountered anyone remotely hostile – on foot.

I wore a yellow fleece vest over my work clothes on Wednesday morning because the long sleeve polyester jacket felt too warm. Fortunately I did bring a folding polyester vest, which I wore for the ride home. On Monday and Wednesday, I wore a t-shirt under my dress shirt, then removed it at the office. Today I folded and rolled the dress shirt and stuffed in the bike pack with my lunch, wearing a long sleeve cotton shirt under my long sleeve jacket. That worked better.

Over last year’s riding season, I was tired of my insulating lunch cooler always sliding off my back. First I tied a shoestring from the top of the cooler to my belt buckle. It was an inelegant solution, but it worked. I also tried stuffing the cooler in an old Jansport backpack, but that felt very bulky. So I started looking at Camelbak packs. I settled on the Asset, which is not the largest or smallest, but comes in a very bright golden yellow called Goldenrod. Like all Camelbaks it has a water reservoir, which has turned out to be a more useful feature that I expected. I can add refrigerated cold water in the morning, which keeps my lunch cold until I get to work, and I can take small sips along the warmer ride home. Besides lunch, there’s enough room for a spare tube, a Crank Brothers hand pump, a patch kit, my wallet and keys and a shirt and tie.

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