Marshland at Assateague Island National Seashore

Marshland at Assateague Island National Seashore N. asked me a few weeks ago to plan a weekend getaway to wherever, and right away I knew we’d be going to Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. First, there’s the obvious drive to visit all the national seashores–I’ve only been to Gulf Islands and Point Reyes, and I was excited to add another to the list. More, though, there’s the part where I just love seashores, especially the barrier island kind where a spit of land makes that magical liminal space, woodland forest on one side, sandy beach on the other, salty marshes in between. Continue reading

Brompty Waiting on the MARC Train to Halethorpe

Brompty Waiting on the MARC Train to HalethorpeEver since they started running the shuttle from downtown Baltimore out to UMBC I’ve just been taking that commute rather than taking the Brompton on the MARC train like I did last year–the shuttle’s free and easy, and I get to stretch my legs on the Surly, still my very favorite ride. It’s strange–I used to take that bike out almost every day, but now she sits quietly in the dining room collecting dust in between rides. But then it’s a Friday during October baseball, and the last thing I want to do is get caught in downtown traffic–the shuttle may feel like magic, but it’s just as prone to get caught in the cars as any other vehicle. Solution? Take Brompty on MARC like the good old days, so that’s what I did–easy peasy, the bike getting her own seat at the front of the train. Multimodal commute options FTW! And coming back into Penn Station in the afternoon made it easy for N. to pick us all up and take us home. I really never ever miss having a car–there are so many options out there that make owning my own car unnecessary. Lucky me. Could that be you too?

Row Homes at Imla & Bank in Bayview

Row Homes at Imla and BankThe last week of September was all commuter rides punctuated by a Monday relief–a building collapsed in downtown Baltimore, and traffic was at a standstill. N., one of my shuttle buddies, texted me about it from an early shuttle, and I was relieved to learn no one had been hurt, and I could just hop on my bike and ride home instead of waiting for my turn in the wall of cars trying to get to MLK to take a left. Thursday I had the day off from work, though, and I spent in on my bike–all day long, 30+ miles worth of riding for fun and travel. Continue reading

View from Admiral Fell Inn’s 5th Floor at Thames & Broadway

View from Admiral Fell Inn's 5th Floor at Thames & BroadwaySunday was another shockingly beautiful day in Baltimore, and we had an outdoor wedding to attend down in Fells Point, on Ravens game day. This is just the sort of thing that would throw my parking-averse self into a frenzy days in advance, worrying where we were going to put the car, how much parking would cost, when we’d have to leave to find a spot–not to brag, but I can really worry about this sort of thing. But the ladyfriend and I both have bikes, so we put on our formal wear–me, a dress and heels, her slacks and a vest and a tie and some snazzy wingtips–and jammed some lights and a safety vest in a bag for the ride home, and headed down the hill to watch L. and T. tie the knot. Actually, they did so awhile ago in Australia, but they wanted to throw a show for the rest of us, and they couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day to do so. Continue reading

Bruster’s Ice Cream at Aquahart and Greenway Road

Bruster's Ice Cream at Aquahart and Greenway RoadIt’s the end of September, but Baltimore feels like early summer. It hit 80 degrees this weekend, and it was nothing but blue skies, perfect for a bike ride. I hadn’t been on the B&A all season and the ladyfriend was up for anything, so we strapped our bikes to her car, stopped at the bike shoppe for a new tire for her (her tube was bubbling right through the old one! gasp!) before lunch, and then we were off. Continue reading

Missing Front Wheel From a Bike at Lombard & Greene

Missing Front Wheel From a Bike at Lombard & GreeneI haven’t been posting a whole lot lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding the bike. When it’s your means of transportation 95% of the time, you’re pretty much guaranteed a ride every day. That’s my favorite part of living car-free, and it’s working. Some highlights from the past week or so include finally getting a good ride up the Fallsway bike path again and wondering why people complain so much about being routed by the prison–at least you’re not in it, and why do we want to hide what we do to each other with all our cages? Oh, I think I know some answers to that one, and they aren’t pretty. Continue reading

Blue Angels Plane Between Buildings at Park & Centre

wpid-20140913_154555.jpgThis weekend was the Star Spangled Celebration, Baltimore’s party in honor of the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore near the end of the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner that night (or inspired by that night), and even though it didn’t become the national anthem until 1931, you’d think the way we’ve been acting these days that the country was founded that very night by this very song. I’ve been super interested in how we remember this unmemorable war since I started biking out to Chalmette National Battlefield, where they act like the war was the birth of a happy multiracial country just because Creole folks fought alongside Jean Lafitte (not just a pirate–a slave trader, but they always leave that part out) at the Battle of Orleans. Then I got to Baltimore, where the Battle of Orleans is a footnote and the whole war is about this one battle and the flag and the song. Continue reading