Last Sunday we did Bike Maryland’s RecRide. Starting in Patterson Park, the 30 mile ride took us on a ride through the city, featuring a downtown and residential neighborhoods and Johns Hopkins’ campus. We went by a number of city parks and had a refreshment stop in Druid Hill Park.
This ride was hilly, challenging, interesting, gritty, pretty and fun. While the flyer said “Start is at 8 a.m. sharp!” the reality was people were still picking up their registration packets at 8:20. That was about the time we and a number of others decided not to wait for the mass start. The route was marked well and volunteers were placed at the more confusing spots, so there was no danger of getting lost. There were more bike lanes than I expected, and many more beautiful neighborhoods than I had seen before in my visits to the city.
The streets were pretty empty of traffic early in the morning, though they began to fill up more as time went by. Most drivers gave us plenty of room, though one, desperate to make a right turn across a lane full of cyclists nearly executed a mass right hook. Now that just wasn’t nice.
The hills posed quite a challenge. Not only were there were a lot of them, but many were really long, especially the 3-mile climb coming up to Druid Hill Park. By the time we got to the rest stop there, I was wondering if I could go any further. The snack and brief break helped some. What helped even more was that most of the remaining 5 miles (though not all) was downhill.
It was a great ride and lots of fun to ride through the city. I gained a new perspective on what Baltimore is like. Most but not all of the riders were faster than me (as I expected). Some things to remember for next time: Pace yourself for some tough hills. Take time for a photo or two. I didn’t and I should have. Finding street parking will take a while; be sure to allow time for that. Heading off when you’re ready makes sense, because the registration lines are long and the start will be delayed. Bring a snack along just in case, because the rest stop comes 25 miles into the ride. Use the port-a-potty before starting out, for the same reason. Get your sunscreen on under your gloves, or you will get a little stripe of sunburn.
Have you ever done this ride? If so, what was your experience like?