I had one morning meeting up on campus and nothing else on my schedule, so I figured it was high time I take the bike on the commute. I left myself two hours to go the ten miles, fully expecting to get lost/get a flat/get so tired I’d have to walk. Well, I did get lost, but I’ve been memorizing streets on my drive over the past couple weeks for just this event, so I knew Saratoga crossed Monroe, and once I was on Monroe I could follow the same route I take in the car. Voila! Once I got out to the County, I spent a lot more time on sidewalks than I’m used to. I mean, bikes belong on the road with cars, but sometimes I jump, especially when there are on and off ramps and no shoulder. I finally made it to the downhill into campus, locked up to a bike rack, and happily loped up to the office. I took a different route home, through the County rather than West Baltimore, and the ride was totally different–individual houses, fewer vacants, more rolling hills, more suburban. And then there were houses like this one, burnt out and boarded up, long enough for graffiti–but look how cute it is! The ride was long enough to take me over the 95, through that neighborhood where they keep the UPS warehouses and carpet stores, through that edge of town where you really the opposite kind of racial segregation from the morning ride, and then suddenly I was at Camden Yards and the Grand Prix’s pit row and the Inner Harbor. Back up Guilford, the familiar climb, and home again. That was a long day of bicycling, and a lot of elevation gained–1,260 feet where the same length ride in New Orleans would see 9–and I am beat. But it’ll get easier, that’s a guarantee, and I’ve got time, and already I can see how hills are interesting puzzles. Baltimore’s got plenty of puzzles; tomorrow, though, I’ll be driving.