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I Love Riding in the City

NAME: Mark E. Martin

LOCATION: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

OCCUPATION: Archivist / Activist

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?

I live in the Red Stick—Baton Rouge—in Louisiana. We’re about 120 miles upriver of New Orleans and no one knows we’re here. Most of the time riding here is like being on a post-apocalyptic film set of perfectly manicured lawns, relatively well-kept homes, the occasional SUV in the drive way or the porte-cochère but no humans anywhere. The rest of the time it’s a mad house of congestion, road rage, and racing. Good chaotic fun!

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?

I’ve only ridden in a few US cities other than Baton Rouge and I’ve never had the pleasure of riding in a foreign city. While it sounds parochial, I like Baton Rouge. Riding the levee along the Mississippi River is almost always interesting. Riding the neighborhoods at night when the magnolias are in bloom—or the jasmine or the gardenias or banana shrubs—is a mysterious olfactory treat because you never know when you’ll run through a pool of delightful scent. We have awesome trees too!

Why do you love riding in the city?

It’s a great way to get from place to place even if that second place is no place in particular. How do I feel today? Take a right and enjoy the peaceful empty streets of a neighborhood. Do I feel lucky? Take a left and get sucked into the flow of high-volume high-speed streets. Want a little of this and a little of that? No problem.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?

Riding takes me well beyond where I’m going and, yes, getting there is half the fun.

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