4th of July Parade by Bike

Martin and Katie O'Malley and sons with Cycle Marylanders

Fourth of July 2011 found John and I on Montrose Road wearing Cycle Maryland t-shirts.  We and 15-20 others were waiting for the Governor to arrive to lead off the parade. We’d be riding behind him, supporting the governor and his promotion of cycling in Maryland.

An array of cyclists showed up, I think more than Cycle Maryland was hoping for. There were all sorts of bikes: commuters, racers, hybrids, folders and this great tandem. 

The Governor arrived, there was some meet/greet/photo ops, and then the big moment came. “Cyclists, take your places!” We arranged ourselves behind the Governor’s red Mustang.

Katie O'Malley greets the cyclists

We took off, with a marching band in the lead, then the Mustang carrying the O’Malleys, and us right behind. Two security guys walked amongst us, scanning the crowd in security guy fashion.  Along the parade route were the famous Catonsville chairs. Onlookers packed the curbs to capacity. They cheered. And they booed. Some of them were plain rude, but the O’Malleys smiled, waved and thumbs-upped everybody. Their older son was awesome, smiling and joking through it all even as insults were shouted at his father.

You know how challenged you feel by a hard ride, where you push yourself to go faster or climb harder than you think you can? This was the opposite. We had to go slower on our bikes than is technically possible, maintain our balance and avoid crashing into each other or the Governor’s car. Yikes! It took a lot of concentration and some muscle strength too. Luckily it was just for a mile.

Civic duty done, we enjoyed a cookout and later on fireworks, which were great, light rain and all.


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