Artscape is B’more’s Mardi Gras. As a B’more lifer, that’s how I describe it. The largest free arts festival in the nation has represented the artistian community of the mid-Atlantic for more that a quarter century. The past two years, it has recognized the Baltimore bike culture.
Mark Counselman is a local bike activist who spent many years in Chicago. There he was active in the cycling community and learned the tricks of trade. When bike parking at Artscape was announced last year, Mark stepped up and applied the skills he learned in Chi’town. In 2009, Artscape’s bike parking hosted about 700 participants. It was PACKED! This year, Mark worked with BOPA to expand the bike parking INTO Maryland Avenue. Big thanks go out to Mark for helping supply area cyclists with a place to park during Artscape.
As started under former Mayor Sheila Dixon’s Friday Ride, it’s been an tradition to take a bike ride through Artscape before it opened. Seven of us started out from City Hall, through the JFA parking lot and almost out to Fallsway when ride faithful Gary was hit head-on by a motorist making a wide right into the parking lot. Gary and the motorist were fine, but Gary’s rim was history. The police responded and filled out a report in a very professional manner. When the officer asked, “Why would you ride bikes in the city?” the answers were plentiful:
“Because we live here”
“I love it.”
“Baltimore’s a great place to ride”
Besides, you can’t bike through Artscape in a car.