Baltimore

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Another large city, very close. A stunning contrast to the middle west where small cities are far apart.

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I’m running into very different set of challenges here. I’m used to having one road, one direction, and a gulf of nothing, with any luck a few gas stations along the way. One the east coast now it’s the other way around : unending urban sprawl, with zillions of streets and only a general direction to follow. Early morning the sun really helps to find north. As I’m not following the ACA maps any more (they’re making very large detours), I have to find other ways.

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So today I tested biking with GPS guidance ! Hey why not. Of course that means listening to the iphone, and trying to keep it charging up faster than the battery dies (which is really fast with gps on – I ended up with close to a dead battery). But it really works well ! I wanted to believe, and so I went on for one hour without checking the map, a really hard test of trust for me. As it was giving me the correct street names, I was a bit reassured. I was going through really, let’s say, backward neighborhoods though, with garages, dumps, etc. Plus I was changing direction every two minutes. But I know leaving a large city is very complex when you don’t use the main routes, and I can’t do that on a bike.

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But slowly, I was going north. It was working. And I ended up on a nice bike lane, very similar to the WOD we used to enter Washington. Great ! It’s amazing riding a bike on a flat lane, along a river, a few minutes out of a major city. It feels like using a secret passage.

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I had a new mechanical issue on the way. It appears my seat really switched place three days ago, I wasn’t dreaming. I never touched the screw over four months, still, it got loose or something. It probably contributed to breaking my back, on top of sleeping on the floor that same day. I put the seat back in a regular position, tightened it… and 200 meters later it moved again. I had to tighten it with the force of a thousand suns, and then some.

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Of course, the gps doesn’t know about closed roads. And apparently in Maryland this is a religion. I had to take four detours. With the last one I did a full circle before realizing I was back at the starting point. I ended going through the blockade, saw no trace of road works and cleared the area.

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And I was in the suburbs of Baltimore ! With downtown already visible in the distance. Relatively high skycrapers, overpasses, multiple lanes… and a final detour before being in the city.

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