View Across the Patapsco From Middle Branch Park

View Across the Patapsco From Middle Branch ParkFriday’s ride started late, following a long morning of grading and grading and more grading. It’s simultaneously the best and worst part of the job. It’s a chance to settle in with individual students and see what they’re really thinking about, and a reminder that I’ve just got too many students to do that in the way I’d like. But I muscled through a big stack over fancy coffee and pizza, and I was ready to stretch my legs after. I headed down the hill and around the Inner Harbor, a quick stop at the tourist visitor’s center for some cash (I knew I was going to end up at the casino on payday), and checked out the empty spot where the Constellation used to be. A giant ship is suddenly absent, just its high heels left poking out of the harbor. Continue reading

Demolished Building at E. Preston & N. Washington

Demolished Building at E. Preston & N. WashingtonI spent my Saturday standing on the corner of 33rd and Ellerslie up in Waverly, bike leaning against a street sign, cheering on the gazillion runners taking part in the Baltimore Running Festival. My sister’s running the NYC marathon at the end of the month, and watching her train and knowing her story, well, I know that every single one of the runners passing by me that day had a story, too. I’m pretty much a marshmallow, so that thought had me choking back tears as I clapped and wooted for a good two hours before finally tearing myself away for a much-needed bike ride. Continue reading

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