ABF U-Pack Moving Pods at St. Paul & Chase


Summer school started today, so no time for a longer bike ride in the slightly cooler day, but I did take the Surly down the hill for drinks and dip with friends in Mt. Vernon, a ppace I would never go by car. As I was unlocking my bike I noticed three of those moving pods and a U-Haul truck~it’s that time of year again, but this year I am not one of those poor souls packing up and trying to figure out the best way to get things you feel like just burning from one end of the country to the other, and where to park whatever moving vessel happens to win out. Nope, this summer I’m staying put, just riding my bike up and down the hill, just like I like it. Godspeed to the rest of you!

Row of Houses at Potomac & Fait


It was another scorching and humid day in Baltimore, and I spent most of it working and reading in front of the window ac unit and wondering if this is an unseasonable heat wave or if it’s just going to be this hot for the next five months. To be honest, I didn’t exactly feel like going out on a bike in this weather, but I best get used to it, or it will be a long summer off the bike and whining. (And yes, I know I bicycled daily through multiple New Orleans summers, but that doesn’t make this less hot. And yes, I know I grew up in Idaho, but I haven’t lived there in almost 20 years, and I still get cold in cold weather.) I took the Surly down the hill and against Beryl’s fingertips blowing hard on our way to Patterson Park, where the drinking fountain was out of order. Not cool, man. Then I biked around, panting, until I hit the shops at Brewer’s Hill, I think it is~the sandwich shop has mad air conditioning and unsweetened iced tea! After my break I headed home. Cloud cover was rolling in, and that made the ride back exceedingly more pleasant. I stopped at the stop sign at Potomac & Fait and snapped this picture of the same house after house after house; this block needs some serious tree action to stay reasonable during the summer. That house in the middle has built a deck on top~now we’re talking. I hope they can install one of those misting fans up there. Pedal, pedal, pedal, and then I was home. Sometimes a ride is all about the weather.

Roger Taney Memorial in Mt. Vernon Square at Monument & Charles

I woke up early, finished my book–so good–and then it was time to lug Brompty down the stairs to rideĀ  to the Jackson & Lee monument over by the BMA for a historical tour of Baltimore monuments. They’re there on horseback, and etched at the base is this: “They Were Great Generals amd Christian Soldiers and Waged War Like Gentlemen.” Then we weaved in ways I never would to get down to the Battle Monument on Calvert and Lexington, the first public memorial to a war, but not the last. Continue reading

Blight Behind the Masquerade Costume Superstore at Columbus & Washington in Philadelphia

My dear old friend S. is in Philadelphia for a conference this weekend and I had the day free, so I got up early and drove up I95 to the City of Brotherly Love. Now, I hate driving, but not nearly as much as I hate parking, especially in a tourist district in an unfamiliar town. It makes me anxious, and I don’t think I’ll ever be rich enough to feel good about paying twenty bucks so I can leave a car alone for a couple of hours. Answer: toss the Brompton in the trunk, park in a residential neighborhood, and bike downtown. Continue reading

Bricks in the Water Along the Gwynns Falls Trail Near Harbor Hospital

Finally, grading’s done, workshops have been attended, and the sun has emerged after days and days of gray, which means, of course, that it was time for a bicycle ride. I took the Surly out to run some errands and then we headed over to the Convention Center, because I vaguely remember hearing there’s a heavy metal convention in town, and my ride downtown featured creative dodging of many pedestrians who looked like they might be in town for a heavy metal convention, so of course I wanted to see if I could get myself in there. Continue reading

Cloudy Skies at Druid Hill Park

I woke up early to a lovely morning and then an afternoon full of work. My whole self wants to be on summer vacation, but I’ve got a whole lot of everything still on my plate, which means I am just tired, weary, and not very excited to be stuck at my computer. Today, I didn’t even feel like riding my bike, so lazy was I. Continue reading

Tall Flowers in Charles Village


It was a beautiful day for bicycling today-warm, clear blue skies, the farmer’s market and the Love Parade and Bike Jam in Patterson Park and all kinds of summer events best bicycled between. But the cat was having issues, so instead she went in her box and and we drove to a drop-in clinic and waited and waited, leaving with a lighter wallet, some antibiotics, and yowling from all involved parties. When S. called to see if I wanted to join her and friends for brunch I squeaked out a yes and took the Surly-I wanted to feel at home-and sped down the hill for a lovely late meal in the sunshine before biking back up the hill to see if the cat could be coaxed to leave the safe confines of the inside of a boxspring. I snapped this picture of some tall yellow flowers blooming in Charles Village; summer, you are so pretty, and I trust you’ll provide many more days of bicycling to make up for my having to miss this particular one.

Looking Up at Trees From a Bench on a Trail in Damascus Regional Park


Many moons ago S. asked me to accompany her to her mom’s fundraising party for the MS 100 ride in Damascus, MD, and then it was finally today and time to head that way. Because she is awesome, S. kindly requested I fold up my new Brompton and bring it along for a ride on a park trail. She borrowed a mountain bike, and we were off. The bike is just so much fun to ride, and the gearing lets me keep pedaling while going down some fairly steep hills. I was flying, and damn, it was so much fun. But, as my father always says, what goes up must come down, and that’s true the other way, too. Yeah, I think I need a grannier gear on this thing for sustained climbs, or maybe I just need to get stronger. Overall, though, it was most perfect to be pedaling in the shade offered by trees like these, which we stared up at from a bench near the end of our ride. What a treat.

Heritage Sign & Blighted Building at Lafayette & Division


Oh, it’s finally here, my itty bitty clown bike! I got a call yesterday evening from the bike shop, so I waited impatiently this morning before walking down to the shop for its 11am opening to fetch the newest member of the family. It was just as lovely as I remembered, and as I took it out for a test spin along the Jones Falls Trail, I started to get good and giddy. It’s just so much fun! I rode it back home to grab my helmet and to show it off to S. before heading back down the hill to meet V. for work that couldn’t get done because I was too bust thinking about riding my new bike. I then rode it over to Upton to meet J. so we could nerd out together along the Pennsylvania Avenue heritage walking tour. I snapped this picture of the new bike against a new public history sign and increasingly old blight. The tour tells the history of a culturally, politically, socially, and economically vibrant area, but it doesn’t explain at all why so much of that has been lost as parts of this neighborhood continue falling to pieces as others keep it alive. Upton and Pennsylvania don’t look like they do now by chance. Decisions were made that make that glittering past “history,” right? I pushed my bike from sign to sign, historic church to historic church, stopping along the way for a chat here or there, and a chance to demonstrate the Brompton’s quick fold to a woman sitting outside in the sunshine with her cigarette, watching people pass on by. And then it was time to ride the new bike up the hill to home for one last fold on its birthday before lugging it up the steps to its new home. I can’t wait to see what we learn next. *squeal*

The View From Section 374 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards


I’ve been out of town at my little sister’s college graduation, which was lovely and full of pride and tears and all the stuff that comes with life passages like that one. It is good to be back, though, and I was especially looking forward to being back on the bike, because that’s where I feel most myself. Today’s ride took me up to Locust Point for a massage to work out the kinks of the semester and then a sandwich and some froyo to get in the mood for summer. I rode around the neighborhood before remembering that the O’s are at home, playing the hated Yankees, and I know just where the bike rack is. I locked up, got myself a $10 outfield seat and a beer the size of my head, and settled in to watch the game, reading my program between innings. That building out there, the wall framing the stadium? That’s the longest building this side of the Mississippi. When building this stadium 20 years ago, there were big debates about keeping it or knocking it down. It’s still here, and we can’t imagine it any other way, apparently. We’re winning, it’s the top of the 7th, and we’ve got a whole summer of cheap Tuesday nights. Works for me.