Private Street at John & Lanvale

Private Street at John & LanvaleThe weather was a trip yesterday, all gray skies and wind in between giant sunbeams and blue skies. The place cannot make up its mind, I swear. I stayed home early to catch up on work and work and more work before heading down the hill to an appointment. The skies looked ok, but the wind was whipping around more than I prefer when I’m making the weather choices. Afterward, I scarfed down a quick lunch and then grabbed the bike to head west and see how people are organizing spaces over there since the murder of Freddie Gray. Continue reading

Indian Pavillion at Pratt & Penn

Indian Pavillion at Pratt & PennTuesday saw me back on the commute, riding down the hill and right and down and right and right again to the bike racks at the University of Maryland Medical Center. It’s all car dodging until the left onto Eutaw when I hit what my head calls “the ped zone.” The Westside is bustling at this time of the morning, and the pedestrians are the least predictable of us all. I respect the refusal to honor the supposed god-given rights of cars, even though it can be frustrating to have to dodge everybody when I have the right of way. And every morning I think to myself, can we stop pretending like this part of West Baltimore is dying on the vine. It’s the busiest part of the city bar the Inner Harbor, at least in my experience.

But anyway, I locked up my bike next the rack that has a lock locked onto it–is some bicyclist saving that rack with his lock, and why do I never lock up to that rack even though it’s public and you can’t “save” it–and got on the shuttle to campus for a long day of busywork until the shuttle ride back to the city. I had to pee the second I got off the shuttle, and since we’ve built a world in which even though we all have to pee, we can only pee if we’re in our own home, workplace, or in a place where we’ve purchased something, I popped into a coffee shop on Pratt Street, bought an 85 cent bag of cheese curls, and peed in their upstairs bathroom before walking back to my bike, stuffing said cheese curls in my mouth at a truly astonishing rate. I snapped this picture on my walk when I noticed the words “Indian Pavilion” running down what appears to be an empty building next to a parking lot. First thought: Worst Indian pavilion ever. Second thought: What’s an Indian pavilion, and why would there be one on Pratt Street? Turns out this used to be a restaurant, back in the 1990s. I’m not sure when it closed, or if it has been/is/will be something else, but it was a good reminder, again (Baltimore has no shortage of this particular reminder), how close busy and vibrant always is to the scars of failed capitalism. And then I licked the cheese dust off my fingers, got back on my bike, and rode up the hill to home.

Blue Skies at 36th & Ellerslie

Blue Skies at 36th & EllerslieThe weather report promised a day of rain and wind and storms on Monday, much to my bike-loving chagrin. I spent the morning locked up at home, dealing with hundreds of emails that could no longer be ignored, and slowly but surely the sun came out. I decided to go with the skies instead of the weather report and head out on the bike to complete some errands like the daredevil I am. Continue reading

Birdwatching on North Point State Park’s Black Marsh Trail

Birdwatching on North Point State Park's Black Marsh TrailI’ve been biking seemingly all day, every day for the past week. Saturday was especially long, up to Loch Raven, taking the lane on some seriously busy streets, down and over to check out the tulips and babies and puppies and mansions in Roland Park, and then down to Fell’s Point to avoid Pirate Day (you know pirates were often slave traders, especially when piloting the superfast Baltimore clipper ships, right?) and Record Store Day (the ladyfriend’s got that covered) and choke down a quick crepe before taking the Lombard Bike/Bus lane–good lord, I love that thing–to Ridgely’s Delight for a ride home. Continue reading

Daffodils at Druid Hill Park Overlooking I83

Daffodils at Druid Hill Park Overlooking I83I took Wednesday afternoon off after a week of marathon grading and teaching and meetings, and oh, it was lovely. I brought hardly anything with me for the ride over to Lake Montebello for a few laps with other bicyclists (they all had their spandex on–I was totes under dressed), kiddos on their way from school to wherever they go after school, and the many walkers, some in regular clothes, others in their suits that make you sweat more, which I guess technically means losing more weight–hey, whatever floats your boat. Continue reading

Daffodils and Green at Mother’s Garden in Clifton Park at 32nd & Harford Road

Daffodils and Green at Mother's Garden in Clifton Park at 32nd & Harford Road Monday’s ride was far too short, the day given over to grading and emailing and fire-putting-out, but hey, at least I got out for a quick pedal around the neighborhood under our springtime skies. My first stop was across the border of 33rd Street for a surprise visit to R.’s place. I had a book to give her, but that was just a ruse because I wanted to see her face and watch her perfect grey cat slink through the spring flowers. Continue reading

Waiting in Line for Tickets at Oriole Park at Camden Yards at Camden & Eutaw

Waiting in Line for Tickets at Oriole Park at Camden Yards at Camden & EutawTuesday’s ride was a surprisingly muggy one downtown to meet the shuttle for the ride to campus. I let the hill do the work on the way, locked up, and chatted with a colleague from the Classics department on campus. He’s an archaeologist who also hates driving, and we had a lovely time discussing the merits of fixed rail versus bus, bike versus everything else–you can guess where I fell on this debate. One of my favorite things about public and shared transportation is this kind of thing, though–that you get to chat with people you probably wouldn’t talk with otherwise. Continue reading