New Condos near McElderry & Aisquith

I haven’t been on my bike much this week, heeding my body’s request for rest. My longest ride was Sunday, first to meet friends for brunch, and then to check out the new bike lane on Central. The ladyfriend drove alongside it and promised I’d love it. She was absolutely right. I took the Monument Street bike lane, a right on Central, and for awhile was sharing the lane with drivers. And then, like a mirage, the widest bike lane I have ever seen emerged. The asphalt is still riding like it’s brand new, and I stretched out, big smile, thank you for these blocks of safe riding, Baltimore!

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A Farm Near Easton, MD

Ten years ago I trained for and rode in Ride for the Feast. It’s a big fundraiser for Moveable Feast, an organization that provides nutritionally balanced meals to people with health conditions who are also facing food insecurity. It’s a great organization that does amazing things, and ten years ago it was also the place I rode my first century. I signed up for it not because it was such a good cause, but because I love riding a bike, and I wanted to meet some bike-loving queers–which I did.

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Bike Locked at UMMC at Lombard & Penn Street

Close up of a black U lock through a red bike rack, a black lock, and a blue bike helmet.

It has been a long work week, and today, when I finally have a couple of hours that I could spend on my bicycle, it is pouring rain, big winds headed our way, and nope, not going to get to do that today. I mean, I could, but I’m way past starting a ride in weather like this just because I feel like I “should” get the miles in. I’m still working on the listening to my body thing, and I will all too often start a ride when my body would prefer I rest, but hey, baby steps.

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Looking East from the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon

The top half of the photo is a clear blue sky and a busy cityscape takes up the bottom half.

Sunday’s ride took me down the hill to meet L. and friends for her birthday brunch at our regular place–she’s fun and 41, as she says! I don’t personally celebrate Easter, but it looked like everyone else in the neighborhood did. There were lots of suits and ties, dresses and hats, kids squirming in clothes that looked cute and uncomfortable. I rolled up to the bike rack and had to ask a family of eight to make way so I could use it. We shared some words about the weather (it was amazing) and waited impatiently for the restaurant to open. When it did, they got themselves a big table at the back, and I grabbed the corner bar for us, ordered coffee, and stared at my phone until my friends showed up.

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Weeping Cherry Tree at Greenway & Southway

Pink flowering tree against a bright blue sky.

The weather this week has been wild. Monday was just perfect–bright and sunny, cool but warm enough for short sleeves, and only a slight breeze. Then it warmed up, a lot, and it was too hot on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is here, and it is cooling down again, thank goodness. I know spring is always up and down, and I also know I am very lucky if this counts as “wild” weather. The devastation in parts of the south and midwest–that is wild and terrible weather. We get the dregs of those systems, and while they make it a little funky, we’re ok. So far. Knock on wood.

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Blue Skies Over a Green Field Along Herring Run

A green field with leafless trees int eh background against a blue sky with a few puffy clouds and a few streaky ones.

I had time for a longer ride on Wednesday, and I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful spring day. I did my work from home, some grading, some meetings, some this and that, and then I had a block from 12:45-2:30 with nothing in it. I slathered myself in sunscreen for the first time in a minute and left the house with bare arms for the first time in many moons. We are so close to me taking off my tights, too, and I just can’t wait. But as soon as I can do that it’ll be too hot and I’ll be complaining about that, so, there you go. My dad always said there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, but really hot and humid is, in fact, in actuality, in truth, bad weather. For me.

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Flower Tree on Mulberry Between N. Stricker & N. Gilmor

A white flowering tree in an alley between two brick row homes, a cloudy sky in the background.

I was in New Mexico celebrating my boo’s 40th birthday for a week and a half, and it was magical. Northern New Mexico is breathtakingly beautiful, and they put chile sauce on everything, which is such a great idea, and I didn’t want to leave at all. Except I did–I love Baltimore and my life here, and I am happy to be back on my bike.

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Looking Out Over the Pier Near the Broening Park Boat Ramp

Monday was cool and gray, but the wind machines were turned down for the first, and I fear last, time for awhile–perfect day for a bike ride. I spent my morning in virtual meetings, my lunchtime with M., our usual walk to coffee and back, and planned to head out on the bike. M. and I have been doing the same walk to the same cup of coffee and outside chit chat, and walk back for years, and we always check on the cat litter that was dumped on the sidewalk just past the alley at the side of that burger place. Somebody dumped their litter box on the sidewalk, and still, at least two years later, there’s cat litter in the corner where those two pieces of sidewalk don’t quite meet. I’m sure who(m)ever dumped it has long forgotten about it, but M. and I can’t forget about it, especially because every single time I point it out: “Still there!” I like taking the same paths over and over not just to see how things change, but also what stays the same.

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Looking South from 35th & Old York Road

A residential street with row houses on the right side and trees on the left.

I needed to do a long ride, or a long ride for me. I increased my mileage too much too soon, and I gave myself some shoulder and neck pain that was my body’s way of telling me to slow down and take a break. I did that, it helped, but I missed the long ride. Monday I’d go for 20 miles, I told myself over the weekend, and when Monday came, I was a little scared to do it. I have ridden 20 miles many, many times in my life, and I rode 15 last week, but sometimes I still get a little bit anxious. So I did some work tasks, took an online German class, but then, instead of waiting all day to see if I would be able to ride 20 miles, I just headed out the door at 10am to see how it would go.

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Flowering Trees at Druid Hill Park

Pink flowering trees at Druid Hill Park on a gray day.

The ladyfriend was working from home on Monday, and as I got ready to head out on a bike ride, she was like, “You know it’s raining, right?” My rule, borrowed from my dad, is to never start a bike ride in the rain, because I’ll finish enough in the rain as it is. It was barely drizzling and my weather app said it wouldn’t be more than drizzle, so I shrugged and headed out.

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