It’s cold and windy in Baltimore, but I needed to go on a bike ride today, badly. I remembered my father’s insistence that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” piled on my wool and layers, and hopped on the bike to see what was happening out there today. I flew down the hill to downtown and then took an unexpected left to follow the anti-marriage equality truck to a rally at War Memorial Plaza that was ostensibly “Not a protest. Not a festival. Not a rally. Not a time for speeches, sermons, stumping or pontification.” I have to say, though, all that down-on-the-knees praying about the fallen sinful of the United States and all the No on Question 6 signs left me calling bullshit. I am lucky enough to operate in worlds where I don’t generally have to interact with people who think there’s something deeply sinful about other people’s sex lives, and it was an odd feeling standing there with my bicycle being prayed for by all these people who apparently have time to care about what I’m doing with my personal life. Frankly, it felt terrible to be there with these people, so when the guy on stage hinted that we were all supposed to hold hands, I rolled away, and not just because flu season means keeping my hands to myself. I shook off the creepy by riding over to Locust Point for a sandwich and a haircut and then rode over toward the stadiums, intending to pedal over to Cherry Hill. Instead I found myself following a sound system past some tailgating for what I think was a high school football game and then to Carroll Park where I stopped and watched kids at the skatepark try tricks on a BMX bike, skateboards, and scooters. I snapped this picture of the most talented of them, heading down one ramp to jump the next. The skatepark is next to the rec center which looks completely dilapidated and today was inexplicably surrounded by wet stacks of foam roof insulation. Why? What roof was supposed to be insulated, and what’s happening to it now? Anyway, I continued my ride through Pigtown and up S. Carey, a street I usually bike down. Going the other way means a whole different scene on a bike. I pedaled past boarded-up row houses, bustling churches, trash-filled alleys, pocket parks, apartment buildings, public housing, a blighted mansion behind fencing, and then I was taking a right on Lafayette back toward home, crossing Eutaw Street into Bolton Hill, an entirely different Baltimore from the one I’d spent most of my afternoon riding through, marked most significantly from my bike’s perspective by the ice-like surface of brand new blacktop. So much of this city is so devastated by decades of disaster, plenty of disaster to go around. I rolled myself down the hill, around, and back up the hill to home. That cold wind is best combated by staying in motion, but seriously, find your gloves, you goofball. Winter’s here.