Monday, May 05, 2008

Bike Balto

Putting the charm back in Charm City, Baltimore is becoming more bike friendly.

Having lived and loved in Baltimore from 1999 to 2001, I can attest that the city is a good biking town that isn't very bike friendly. I lived and commuted by bike and without a car there for the first 6 months. Just 3 miles from Greektown to downtown. Sometimes I took the Number 10 Bus. The bus system is actually not bad. But that Number 10 Bus could pick up quite a motley crew coming from Dundalk (redneck), O'Donnell Heights (ghetto), and the Bayview Methadone clinic (junkie). It was like one big happy grown up Sesame Street, on a good day.

In Baltimore, I noticed and understood why people put "must have car" in personal ads. For the first time, I realized why people think public transportation is for losers. In Baltimore, a lot of losers are riding the bus. And hell, if you're not a loser, why don't you have car? I did end up buying a car, but not because I was afraid of being a loser. But I really did need a car for work (yes... need). It's the only city I've ever lived in and not been car free.

On one hand, Baltimore is a small city without too many big hills. It's fast to bike around. On the other hand, 1) drivers just aren't used to bikes, but that isn't a huge problem; 2) there are these "death grates," horribly designed sewer grates that your tire could fall into; and 3) there's a lot of ghetto in Balto I wouldn't recommend biking through on a regular basis.

Also, there's a not-too-steep but very steady incline in the whole city from South to North. That's one of the reasons I lived in the East.

But I enjoyed biking in Baltimore, as I do everywhere. There's no reason it shouldn't be a great biking city. Here's to Baltimore! And if anyone goes there, bring me back a crab cake.

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