The Pool at Riverside Park in Federal Hill

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The week of bike riding got considerably better after Tuesday, and Wednesday’s ride was cold, sure, but the sun was shining and the sky was blue. I dressed aspirationally, again, so shivered my way up to Abell and back down and around to Locust Point for a day at McHenry Row. That place is so weird–a hint of the suburbs plopped down in the middle of things, but from an American point of view, it sure is convenient. I spent my day doing things that didn’t need to be done, and then I headed home. I stopped for a quick turn around Riverside Park. There was a cop playing catch with his service dog, a couple of high schoolers who looked to be spending their spring break high on the weed, and that was about it. I snapped this picture of the public pool, still dry and empty of swimmers. Soon, soon, and yes, public pools for all! We have allowed ourselves so few shared resources–libraries, roads, and parks–and in Baltimore, even these feel under attack. If we’re going to have a state, I think I’d prefer a state that keeps parks and pool and libraries open, instead of one that funnels cash to the rich on the fantasy that they’ll pay for this stuff out of their own sense of goodwill. And then I pedaled home, put on a sweater, and was on to the next one.

Brompty Waiting in the Rain at the Halethorpe Train Station

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Spring took a holiday on Tuesday, trading the 80 degree sunshine for cold wind, rain, and ice. I figured it couldn’t be serious and dressed entirely inappropriately, like one of those college kids who wear cargo shorts and flip flops as their year-round uniform, except mine is a skirt, t-shirt, and sweatshirt for those really wintry days. The morning commute was fine–the humidity and remaining warmth meant I got sweaty inside the ol’ rain coat, but otherwise, meh. Oh, but the commute home–the worst of the winter, really, proving the old adage from my pops that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Fortunately, Brompty brought her rain gear and weathered it all fine. And in the end, I made it home, where I got to take a hot shower and cuddle up with some cats , and it felt all the better for the yuck outside. Yep, the worst day on the bike is better than the best day in the car.

Green and Yellow at Southwestern and Tom Day

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N. texted to say she wished she was riding her bike today, a most excellent sign for a happy future on a bicycle, and I agreed, but she had to work, and so did I, so there you go. Fortunately, I bike to work, so I *did* get to ride on this blustery day. I zipped down the hill, folded up the bike, and got on the afternoon train. It’s a different train then. The commuters are already where they’re going, so this was all tourists and first timers, and I felt myself getting all superior and get-it-together-people like a real jerk. I took a deep breath, put down my Candy Crush machine, and looked around, wondering what we’re all missing now that we’re staring at our screens instead of idly chatting while we wait. And then it was my stop, a quick unfold and I was on my way, stopping to snap a picture of this corner that’s got itself all blinged out for spring. This is my first spring biking past this corner, and I made a note to myself to watch it this year for a full season of changes. So much new right now, so much new.

Two Bikes Snuggling Under a Flower Tree at Druid Hill Park

Two Bikes Snuggling Under a Flower Tree at Druid Hill ParkThe park was buzzing with folks enjoying the 80+ degree day–walking dogs, teaching kids how to ride bikes and scooters, handholding and necking and springtimeromancing, jogging, picnicking, engagement-photo-shooting, and just generally being outside. I rode my bike there to meet N., who lo and behold got herself a bicycle that morning. Oh, what magic! What fantasy futures of riding together to the ball game and to get ice cream and out to the water to count ducklings! I’m happy to ride by myself–I prefer it, generally, because the bike is the one place I can reliably be alone, but also with strangers–the contact zones of the city open up when you get out of the car. Continue reading

Truck Dumping Bales of Hay at Druid Hill Park Conservatory

Truck Dumping Bales of Hay at Druid Hill Park ConservatorySaturday was another sickeningly sweet day, so when N. suggested a trip to the spring flower show at the Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park and asked if I wanted to meet her there on my bike, the answer was an easy YES. I pedaled out without even a just-in-case sweatshirt, and I wasn’t the only one out there. The whole city seemed to have emerged in shorts and t-shirts and sunglasses, and I was happy to join them. I beat N. to the park, because bikes are faster than cars, especially when the car gives a guy who just missed the bus a ride to the train station–N. is such a peach. Continue reading

Flower Trees at Roland Avenue & Northern Parkway

Cherry Blossoms at Roland Avenue & Northern ParkwayI remember when I first got to New Orleans, and I was quite certain that I had never seen a more beautiful place on earth, at least when it came to the everyday flora. It’s all banana trees and palms and brilliant azaleas and oh my, it is just so pretty there. Baltimore, well, it take a minute longer to grow on you–or at least me. But then there was fall, winter, and then springtime. The flower trees flower in waves, first the white crabapples, then the pink cherries, and then, well, I have to wait to let the parks and streets remind me. Continue reading

Rows of Brick Houses at Rexmere Road and Chestnut Hill Avenue

Rows of Brick Houses at Rexmere Road and Chestnut Hill AvenueSpring is here, finally, and oh, it felt good to be out on the Surly on Wednesday, skirt waving in the wind, sun on my face! That whole rebirth-in-spring business isn’t just for bunny rabbits and Jesus Christ–it’s for bicyclists, too, even those of us who ride year round. I started my ride heading up the hill and to the right for a trip to the dentist before heading to Lake Montebello for a few laps with a slew of pedestrians and one very, very cute puppy: “He’s not as good as he looks–he already ate two pairs of shoes!” Continue reading