Today’s ride started early, up to the doctor’s office for some routine blood work, though for me that routine is a singular act of bravery–I’m not really crazy about needles. Then it was down the hill for a waffle while I worked, to treat myself for being so brave and all. Afterward, I zipped down the hill, made a quick stop at the gym, and then it was over to Central to ride up the “bike lane,” which is cobblestones and parking for that one auto body place. Sigh. Rather than taking my usual left at Lombard, I kept heading up to see what I could see, which ended up being mostly construction and then Dunbar High, which I’d actually never approached heading north. I remember the first time I biked past Dunbar in East Baltimore, feeling like I’d really left my neighborhood, but today it was just a few blocks from the Fallsway bike lane; the more I ride around this town, the smaller it gets and the more close together everything seems. I rejoined my usual route, pedaled up Guilford, and stopped to check out the hubbub on North Avenue. I was early, but they were setting up for quite the festival, with booth after booth after booth setting up their wares, Third World Sound blasting their sound check, and the bookmobile already doing some serious business. Folks were lining up to get their vouchers for book bags and school supplies, and the whole thing just felt good, which is good, because I need some help to get in the back-to-school mood this semester. The health center’s bus at the Calvert Street end was grilling up some healthy food and getting their bean bag toss ready to go, an impressive list of prizes already up. Turns out, though, that they didn’t actually have all the prizes the sign said they had, so they’d have to just give out what they had left over from the last set of events. Poor form, friends, poor form. Something tells me people will still manage a good time, because I don’t know a soul who doesn’t like brand new school supplies. I got back on my bike, finished my ride, and settled in to finish writing some syllabi, the teacher bee’s favorite school supply.