Flat Rat in an Alley in Abell

Today’s ride was a quick one, just down the hill for a treadmill workout at the gym, up the hill to meet colleagues for lunch, and then up the hill to home. It started like all rides do, in my alleyway.

For the past many weeks, I can’t even tell you how long, I’ve been walking my bike past this dead rat. It’s the glob at the bottom of the picture, and if you didn’t know it was a rat, you might think it’s just a wad of trash.

But it’s a rat. The tail gives it away. I ride over so many rats in this town. Sometimes they are fresh, and I go around to avoid the squishy crush of their bodies under my wheels, but most of the time I’m rolling over flat bodies that I think are trash before I notice the tail, always the tail, sticking up and out like a handle I’ll never grab. A rat’s tail is made of bone, so it’s just not going anywhere.

The ride home was tougher than usual, thanks to strong, cold gusts of wind. Pedal, pedal, pedal, I made it, walked my bike back down the alley, around the rat like I do twice a day, every day, grateful for a Friday with some space and time.

Horse Shit in the Bike Lane at Centre & Charles

Horse Shit in the Bike Lane at Centre & Charles It is April in February, which means many days of breaking my father’s rule to never start a bike ride in the rain. That’s generally good advice, but that would mean a whole lot of time waiting for buses, and when the weather keeps spitting rather than downpouring, I’m generally up for the risk. I’ve been riding in lots of rain, just with my raincoat on and that little cycling cap that I used to think people wore to look cool when riding a bike, but which I now understand is pitched just right to keep the rain off my glasses. So yeah, I’ve been looking like a cyclist lately, and one willing to get soggy in order to maintain some modicum of control over where I’m going, and when I’m going to get there.

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Looking Toward Oakenshaw from 33rd & Oakenshaw

Looking Toward Oakenshaw from 33rd & Guilford I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m a runner now. I started running on the treadmill at my Orangetheory classes last year, just thirty seconds or so at a time. And then I kept running, getting up to sixteen slow minutes in class. Then I decided to take it outside in August to see if I wanted to be a runner yet. I’ve been on this road-to-running many times in my life, but maybe this time it would stick. Not that it has to. My dad was an asshole about a lot of things, including “fitness,” but in his old age had mellowed. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it, was the advice he gave me in the past decade or so. If I didn’t enjoy running, I wouldn’t do it.

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Parking Lot and Prisons at Fallsway & E. Centre St.

Parking Lot & Prisons at Fallsway & E. Centre I hadn’t ridden my bicycle in a couple of weeks, due to holiday travel and holiday sit-around-the-house reasons, but I finally got in a ride today, and wow, I instantly felt so much more like myself than I have in some days. It was a beautiful day, finally sunny, blue skies peeking out more and more as the day went on. I rolled down the hill, made a quick stop at my gym to earn the 100 bonus points you get for checking in to the gym nine times in a month (a very on-brand choice, if you know me in real life), and then down to Harbor East to meet my work wife for lunch.

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Nirvana Restaurant at Magazine & General Pershing

Nirvana Restaurant at Magazine & General Pershing I spent the end of last week in New Orleans, a short trip that was needed for a long time. I hadn’t been back in three years, previous visit attempts thwarted by cancer, the inability to make a travel plan because of cancer’s ptsd, and, of course, hurricane warnings this July. I made it, finally. I spent time with friends and their lovers, friends, children, and pets, and it was such a treat to peek in on so many lives and say hello! I’ve missed you! I’m still here too!

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Bike Parked at Racks in Front of 901 N. Caroline Street

Bike Parked in Racks at 601 N. Caroline Street Today’s ride took me down the hill and to the left and over to Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center at 601 North Caroline Street, though it’s not really on Caroline Street, as far as I can tell. I’ve been here many, many times. I remember posting a similar picture when I rode over to meet with my breast surgeon for the first time after my diagnosis with breast cancer, almost two years ago–November 21, 2017 is when the news came in, but I knew it was cancer a bit before that. Radiologists know, and mine told me. If the biopsy comes back benign, I’ll know the pathologist made a mistake.

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Dead Rat in the Maryland Cycletrack at 24th St.

Dead rat Today’s ride took me down the hill via the Maryland Avenue cycletrack, a right on Lombard to the bike racks at Greene to pick up the shuttle to work. I take this ride all the time, and I know its asphalt really well. it took me a few years to figure out the phantom drop just before Saratoga, but I mostly know it all by heart now. I still keep my eyes down, though, because you never know. And today it was this sad dead rat, looking sleepy but most definitely dead, in the middle of the right lane around 24th Street. I went around it and kept on my way. I locked up my bike, headed to campus, worked and worked and worked, and then turned around, got on the shuttle, walked to my bike, and headed uphill.

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