Tonight’s ride took me racing down St. Paul to meet J. at the bookstore to hear C. talk about his newest work. I’d had a long day helping incoming students learn to navigate some of the many levels of bureaucracy at their new institution, so a talk on “Intimate Bureaucracies” was a perfect cap to the day. I snapped this picture as I waited, not sure what to expect. Continue reading
Today’s ride took me and the Surly over to Hampden and up Chestnut to 36th Avenue before I figured out that Falls Road is the other way, and then flew down the hill to lock up my bike and head into the studios for my breakout performance on Baltimore public radio’s Marc Steiner Show. WEAA 88.9 is in desperate need of bike racks, so I had to lock up to a gate before heading in and putting on the headphones for an hour-long conversation about gender. Continue reading
S. declared it was time to take a beach vacation, and it most surely was, so on Saturday I loaded up my bag, stuck it on the front of the Brompton, and headed down the hill to meet her for a ride to the beaches of The First State, Delaware. That Saturday ride was just perfect–warm, sunny, empty streets, and I picked up enough speed to really feel like I was flying. I folded up the bike and tossed it in the car for a three hour tour all tangled up in part of Maryland’s beard. Continue reading
Oh, man, it was hot today, and I was travelling by bike in a city I don’t know well. By the time I righted all my wrong turns from Columbia Heights to Georgetown to meet H. for brunch, I was a sweaty, frazzled mess. I folded down the Brompton and went into the air conditioning to wait. The bike tucks so neatly under a table, and I think I’m finally over my nerves that folks won’t let me bring her inside. After we parted ways I headed down to the alleged bike/ped path along the old C&O Canal, but I just wasn’t up to dodging rocks on the unpaved trail or hopping upended bricks on the other side. The heat was already geting to me, so rather than try to follow the googleymap, I just gon on Pennsylvania Avenue and pedaled until I got a nice breeze going. Eventually I saw a sign directing traffic to the Lincoln Memorial, so I took the soft right until I was in the well-signed tourist area. The place was summer-crowded with school tours in matching t-shirts, so I got off and walked until I found myself on the right side of the memorial~the side with the sprinkler. Oh, thank you, National Park Service! I snapped this picture before getting myself sprinkled, and then I was back on my way, past the Korean War Memorial, around the Washington Monument, and past museum after museum after museum until I reached the Capitol Building. Union Station’s right behind there, so I took a right, pedaled up the hill, dodged cars and pedestrians in the roundabout, and was finally back in air conditioning. I sucked down a couple bottles of water befoere boarding a delayed MARC train back to Halethorpe for a quick pedal to my car that I left on campus yesterday. And now I’m home, rehydrating, and looking at maps of DC for my next trip, hopefully after the heat wave has waned a bit.
Almost every bicycle ride I take is a pleasure, even if I’m just retracing the same old paths on my way to another boring errand. I even enjoy those sweltering rides in New Orleans, the ones at dusk along the Mississippi River, which sounds romantic until you know how many bugs you’ll eat just trying to breathe. But hey, I just really, really like riding a bicycle. Today’s ride in DC rush hour traffic with record heat, grinding up hills, not sure where I was headed…let’s just say I’ve had better times. Bu what felt good was just folding up the Brompton and tucking it under the table at a bar and sucking down glasses of ice water, a beer, and a surprisingly tasty lentil salad, knowing that I won’t always be this lost in this town if I keep riding this little bicycle that is going to help me figure out yet another city. Yeah, this’ll work.
Ok, so technically this is what I saw riding my bike around yesterday, but by the time I got home from my Saturday birthday festivities at the shocking hour of 11:00pm, I fell straight to sleep, no time to blog. It was a beautiful sunny day, and since it was my birthday, I got to do whatever I wanted to do. First up: a bike ride to brunch, where I ate just enough and then ran into a woman I lived with in Berkeley 10 years ago, because that’s just what things are like sometimes. Continue reading
So it’s the bicentennial of the War of 1812, and Baltimore is pulling out all the stops to celebrate this war that nobody remembers. After finishing up my work at home, I hopped on the Surly and rolled down the hillfor a lovely lunch with V. before continuing my ride to the Inner Harbor to check out some ships. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be wowed by the ships, but I totally was; their sails just look lovely against the blue skies. You can board the ships for free, but Brazil closed early, and the line for Mexico was too bananas for me, so I got back on my bike and headed over to Fort McHenry. Being there on this particular Flag Day felt a little like that time I was at Jim Morrison’s gravesite on the 25th anniversary of his death–folks were having Emotional Experiences while I looked on. I traded facts about the war the exhibit doesn’t mention with a fellow visitor, his about the British freeing slave who then fought for their side, me about how we invaded Canada without proper preparations because we thought they’d welcome us as liberators. Oh, history. I toured the Fort, took some lovely photos of flags, and then dodged the crowd on my way back downtown, a quick stop for a haircut and some frozen yogurt, before meeting J. in Fells Point for dinner. Traffic’s a clusterf*k, so I hope he brings his bike. Yeah, I needed a day off like this one.
After several long days of work and a long day of rain, I finally got to go for a ride today, albeit a short one. I hopped on the Surly and headed northeast through Waverly and up Old York Road to Ednor Gardens for some porch sitting with my old friend from high school, L., and her Baltimore friends. I’ve actually never been over to this neighborhood–usually I just keep riding up York–and though I didn’t do much tooling around, it’s nice to know it’s here for some exploring. Continue reading
Last year around this time I had moved out of my pool house and was living out of boxes in New Orleans, thanks to the kindness of friends. I was also reading all about Baltimore, and I read about Hon Fest, a street festival celbrating Baltimore’s iconic “Hon.” Yeah~I had no idea that was an icon. And then there was the part where some lady tried to copywrite “hon,” and I was all, like, that’s like copywriting “Who dat.” That guy from Kitchen Nightmares came in and got her to drop the copywrite, so she’s I guess less of an asshole now. And now I’m here, it’s Hon Fest, and I was on my bike to Hampden to check it out. There are food vendores, the local photography vendors, the jewelry and pottery and incense and beer stands. There were three music stages, and the first made me miss New Orleans more than anything. I stopped at the main stage, though, and I saw the Glyndon Area Players performing Broadway and pop hits; they were so good, especially the guy who did “My Girl.” We were all totally in to it, for real, and the kid got more and more confident as we shrieked, which meant more runs and higher notes. Awesome. Yeah, it’s just like any other street festival in the country, but the Glyndon Area Players from out Reistertown Road are only here, so there. I kept walking, got ice cream, listened to 9 Mile Limit, our local rock/roots/reggae band for awhile, watched an odd mix of folks dance along, and then headed back home for a read and a nap. Thank you, Saturday.
Today’s ride was almost identical to yesterday’s, but I took right one block sooner than usual, which meant new streets, including Eden, which at Eastern Avenue gets railroad tracks that just end where to asphalt takes over. There used to be an entirely different infrastructure here, traces peeking out here and there, but today we act like the way our streets are is the way they have to be. I mean, the struggle to get one stinking bike lane… I pedaled along, ran my errand, ate ice cream, had some coffee, finished my book, and then I was back up the hill to home. Oh, summertime, you are lovely.