Rite of Passage

School has started, both at UMBC and in the surrounding counties.  That means more traffic to deal with, particularly during my morning rides.  The first week is always the worst, after which things start to improve as people fall into a routine.  I’m not crazy about this time of year, but it does have one thing going for it — weather conditions are slowly starting to get better for riding.  It’s still hot, but it’s a dry, more tolerable heat.  The biking nirvana of early Fall is right around the corner.

Today marked my 20th and final ride of August, making it my most prolific bike-commuting month to date.  That record may stand for awhile, as holidays, vacation and random days off tend to keep my ride totals under 20 most months.

New route today.  I wanted an option for a longer ride, without dealing with traffic on Montgomery and/or Frederick Rds.  I went down Lawyers Hill, through the park on the Grist Mill Trail, left on Ilchester, right on Beechwood, and right on Bonnie Branch.  This took me right back to the park entrance, where I doubled back through the park and rode to UMBC through Relay/Halethorpe.  This was my first time ever doing the notorious climb up Ilchester Rd., and it was humbling.  My bike dumped its chain when I dropped into the granny gear, and I almost fell over.  I then had to ride a quick loop to get the bike moving again up the steep grade.  But after that it wasn’t too bad, and it kept me out of traffic.  I’ll probably ride this more often, as it’s good hill training.  Won’t be doing it with fixed gear any time soon, though.

I came into UMBC via Poplar Ave.  Traffic on that side of campus was not bad when I arrived, around 8:45am.  I’ll probably avoid coming in via Wilkens/Hilltop for at least a week, when things have settled down and I have a better sense for what time classes start.