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. After a quick catch up and her business card I was back on the bike to make a stop at the Maryland Historical Society to renew my annual membership and check out their new exhibit, “In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812.” I wandered through it twice, felt a rise of righteous indignation that I will record later somewhere else, and finally gave up waiting for the living history performance, “A Solder’s Life”–the right choice. I continued my ride downtown, bypassed the Inner Harbor Sailbration crowds, and hooked up with the Gwynns Falls Trail over at the football stadium. Folks were waiting in long lines in the parkig lot to board school buses headed to Fort McHenry, and if that wasn’t a good argument for riding your bike, I don’t know what is. I pedaled along, said my how you doin’s to the folks who live along the trail, picked up a bottle of iced tea, and made my way over to Middle Branch Park–my kingdom for a shade tree! Small groups of people were gathering and staring up at the sky in anticipation of the Blue Angels screeching across the sky. All the shady spots were taken, and I don’t want to see the Blue Angels, so after chilling with the folks on this dock and taking in the sights of folks lining up all along the harbor, I headed back around and up the hill to Mt. Vernon for yet another festival–Gay Pride. I locked up my bike, hooked up with friends, and threw myself into another parade. I can be as cynical as anyone about events like this–it’s part of my job description–but the part where we can all dance and cheer and be ourselves without fear of violence, at least for this one day, well, that’s something. After just a bit of it, though, it was time for me to flee the crowds, so I pedaled back home, dropped the bike, and traveled the rest of this perfect day on foot. I was a little worried that not being able to reprise my traditional birthday ride out through the 9th Ward to Chalmette National Battlefield in New Orleans would make me sad and nostalgic and lonely, but it didn’t, not at all. I miss those old rides, but I like the new ones too, just like I like my old bike and the new bike too. But I think the Surly will always be the birthday ride–oh, that bike is home. Here’s to another year of riding!