Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Free Money Party!

First, a blog recommendation: Brown Girl in the Lane. I love this blog! Firstly, it's written by someone who like me doesn't ride a fancy road or Dutch bike. Nothing against those bikes but I'm doing just fine with my comfort hybrid right now, and while I do appreciate beautiful bikes, I don't have it in me to be a connoisseur. (I don't take care of my stuff well enough!) Second of all, San Diego's (lack of) urban design is roughly approximate to Baltimore County's mess of strip malls, nice residential neighborhoods separated by impassable gaps of 55 MPH highway, and malls with room for eight hundred cars and zero bike racks. It's a refreshing change from reading blogs from women (for whatever reason, almost every bikey blog I follow is written by a woman) in PDX or Boston or other super-friendly places. Not that I wouldn't prefer to live in those places myself! But most people don't, and if bicycle advocacy is ever going to get beyond the big hipster cities, people from other places (including the suburbs and rural areas) need to start talking too. Any recommendations for bikey blogs from non-city dwellers/non-bicycle meccas?

Now that our move into Baltimore City is not just a possibility but a definitive (I have no idea if I'm using that word correctly), I've lost most of my desire to get a driver's license. Oh, I'm still going to get it; I've already paid $350 for useless mandatory driver's ed classes from a total asswipe and that's not chump change. But all of the necessity is gone. Hopefully, I will get a job in the city (JHU is my main target) and be able to bike or walk both there and also to any social events I may want to attend. I never, as in do not ever, want to get a second car. Having one is bad enough. I guess having a license will be helpful on the remote chance that I am invited to a free money party in, oh, let's say Delaware and Rob is too zonked on cheap Sudafed to drive me there. But what's the chances of that happening in Delaware? Less likely than in some other places, I reckon, and probably not likely to happen at all.

More importantly, I never, as in do not ever, want to live outside of a city again. If I have learned nothing else from the past year of living in the suburbs (and I haven't!), it's that I can't deal with suburban living. It isn't just hipster dislike of big-box stores and nicely manicured lawns. It's that everything--everything--is built around the car. Distances that are normally nothing for me to walk or bike suddenly become impossible gaps. And the most depressing thing is that apparently nobody has a problem with this. Everyone accepts it as normal that you drive two miles to get to Target, and then drive four miles to get to a gym or bike trail to get exercise. Even before I moved to Pittsburgh, I never thought this was a healthy way to live, and my opinion really hasn't changed. In fact, I think it's become more extreme. Once I became used to city living in Pittsburgh, where almost everything was a walk or bus ride (even if it was sometimes a long one) away, I can't re-adjust to suburbia. And I think I'm okay with that.


  1. Thanks for the bike blog love! Do you read Bike Skirt? The two writers (both women) ride road bikes and they are really are a bit more aggressive than I am, but I love it about them. For example, they race - which I don't. But they also write about the realities of living in a place that is not bike friendly.

  2. Yeah, I read that blog too, it's great! Bike unfriendliness or no, New Orleans looks like a great place to ride.

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