Assembling Bleachers for the Baltimore Grand Prix at the Inner Harbor

Assembling Bleachers for the Baltimore Grand Prix at the Inner HarborI was long overdue for a long bike ride, so that’s what I got on Tuesday. I had an appointment on Fleet Street, so in my head it was just down the hill. Then I looked at the map–Fleet Street goes all the way out there, to the edge of Canton, and I needed to get on the bike and pedal fast to make it on time. I did, down the hill and up Baltimore Street since I never go that way; just because you’re in a hurry doesn’t mean you can’t take a new route to see what you see. This way east is a longer hill than I’m used to, but it felt good to just pump up there–there’s a downhill on the other side. The neighborhoods change rapidly, and then there’s Johns Hopkins and the piles of dirt they’re pushing around over there in East Baltimore–too much of a hurry, I tell myself, think about that later. And then I’m taking my right to avoid the police cars blocking the street and roll up and down and down again to the edge of Canton. I locked up to a sign–no bike racks out here, they must be hiding with trees–and went in for a quick spin around the office. When I got out I called K. Turned out she was up for a bike ride after all, so we made plans to meet over by Camden Yards so I could take her on my favorite ride for new-to-biking-in-the-city folks–the Gwynns Falls Trail section that takes you past the casino emerging from the ground (or rather, being pulled up by the six cranes blocking out the sky down here), the bus station, around the waste treatment plant, a left at the Westport Substation, a right at the light rail tracks, and a left at the T into Middle Branch Park to the end where we sat on a pier eating cookies and talking about what we do with ourselves and why bikes are awesome. The ride back was just as nice, until we got to the blocked part of the Inner Harbor bike/ped path. Yep, it’s Grand Prix time, and that means downtown is a giant eyesore, gates and bleachers everywhere, our bike paths blocked off for the next several weeks for a giant boondoggle. It’s never going to make this city any money, but it will surely make this city a mess for those of us who actually live here every year until finally they give up. We still haven’t given up on the idea that granting huge tax credits and using city money to fund development projects will permanently grow jobs and the city economy, so I have no faith that the city will come to its senses about this anytime soon. I stopped to take this picture of a man in his Confederate flag t-shirt hanging from the bleachers, tightening screws, another flag waving in the breeze. Don’t tell anybody I said this, but the maze of pipes are kind of beautiful. And then we were back on our bikes and up the hill to our neighborhoods. It was an excellent day of riding with an excellent new riding pal. In a month or so we might even get to ride unimpeded (except by pedestrians) around the harbor together, a girl can dream.

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