Oh, it wasn’t easy to leave the perfect mid-70s sunshine of New Orleans for the sleeting skies of Baltimore, but I live here now, so there you go. Yesterday was a bit chilly, but we got a surprise (to me) warm up under heavy clouds today. Things started to look more and more like rain, so I put on my bike shoes and headed to the park for a few turns around the reservoir. It was so, so warm, so I took off my coat, shoved it in my pannier, and pedaled my way to the park. Continue reading
I know, I know, I’m a broken record, but wow, what a beautiful day for a bike ride in New Orleans. Today’s my last day in the city before heading north to the frozen tundra that is Spring classes, and I spent most of it on N.’s bike. I first rode into the Marigny to meet R. and A. for brunch at the third outpost of that restaurant I think of as where I met D. and M. and S. for the first time~I knew from that first morning that they would all be bosom friends that morning, and I was right; today, same sort of friends, same sort of restaurant, and iit was just a perfect start to a day that then took my to Mid-City to see M.~an unannounced bike-by from the olden days. I pedaled back toward the Quarter along Orleans. I remember when they repaved that street, such a dream, and today it was a respite from the truly awful New Orleans infrastructure. My god, iron your streets! I snapped this picture of an empty building that looks like it used to be a theater. I think the sign is smaller now, but I will have to check the ol’ archive. So much has changed around here~new public housing, new asphalt, newness, but not at this spot and the others where there’s so much blight. It reminds me of Baltimore. A walk through the Quarter for a dog parade and more friends and then I was riding Uptown on the old route to see R. and then S. The fork is still embedded in the street at Baronne and Jackson, the cow’s still there, Muses looks lived-in, and we are still being exhorted to be the change we wish to see in the world. it was a lovely ride, lovely stops, and a perfect vacation. I’m not going to lie, though: I’m looking forward to going home in the morning, if only to get a break from my vacation schedule. Thank you, New Orleans, as always.
Saturday was a perfect bike riding day in New Orleans: sunny, warm, plenty of parades to ride between. I rode from Treme to Uptown on my old route to meet up with C. and P. for our usual parade gawking, only this year they brought their Carnival bait~seven month old A. R. and C. joined with their kid, and wow, things can change in just a couple of years once the sweet babies start rolling in. Then again, it was the same floats, same dancing troupes~looking good, Gold Dusters!~same bands~Xavier Prep Yellow Jackets in the house!~and the same sense of family, and oh it was good to see everybody. Then it was time to roll downtown. I took OC Haley to see the changes there as the stretch tries to become a Main Street. It’s still trying, some blocks more than others, and I hope the new Cafe Reconcile’s as good as it is in my head. After a pit stop, a dog walk over to the Marigny for the parade of tiny floats (insert squeal), and a delicious home cooked meal eaten too fast, we were back on our bikes and headed to Frenchman Street to catch the Krewe of Chewbacchus and its giant nerd parade. I snapped this picture of a bicycle float that just made me so happy. It was the bikes, the detailed helmet on our fighter, the lights, the rest of the crowd, and the pleasure there is in a world where people will do such things to put on a show. We left our bikes, wandered around looking for everybody, saw all the people, and then headed home. It was a perfect day for riding a bike around New Orleans, but I need better walking shoes. As S. would say, my dogs are barking. Carnival’s a marathon, not a sprint, a lesson I have already forgotten. I’m happily heading home Monday, though, so I’m thinking the lesson doesn’t really apply in my particular circumstances.
Well, I left those cool Maryland climes for a weekend in New Orleans. N. lent me her bike, and after tonight’s parade I rode up, trying to remember where to take a right, and then I was at the post off, almost there, LaSalle which is Simon Bolivar which is Loyola. Peanut Park is still there~is this how we’re getting parks from now on?~ and so’s the Chicken Mart and so’s the basketball court sponsored by the Hornets~going to have to change that now. It’s the same, but then there’s a bike lane on Loyola and a streetcar stop. There’s a *streetcar* there now? It’s a Super Bowl thing, I think, but it was nice to see that sort of change. The cool thing about leaving a place is you get to come back and visit.
This past weekend was just ridiculously warm, totally out of character for a January in Baltimore. I mean, S. rode her bike at night in nothing but a sweatshirt, and she’s a baby when it’s cold out. Today was much, much colder, though, so I layered up, put my hat and gloves on, and prepared for the weepy eyes from the freezing breeze in my face as I roll down the hill. Continue reading
Yesterday’s bike ride was long, made longer by an nighttime ride to and from Federal Hill for a fundraising party where it was all dancing, so today I woke up sore and tired, legs like lead. But it was Sunday morning, and it was Sunday Morning Hiking Club, so I had to stretch and get on out there. Today we walked through Druid Hill Park. I’ve biked all over that park dozens of times, but I’d actually never *walked* in it–makes it a totally different place. We started at this small section of the park behind the new apartments in Woodberry. The clearing is covered with leftovers from Baltimore’s city marble quarry (or something). And there was this bench–it has a little spot underneath to stow a book, including a little plastic cover to keep the pages safe in the rain. Apparently there are a number of benches like this in Baltimore parks, but it was new to me. Sometimes it’s better to walk. A few hours later and I was home, working, and then, I don’t know if you’ve heard but…the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl!
I didn’t get to ride my bicycle around much this past week due to a heavy workload. Fortunately, part of that workload was learning how to use software to make movies! It was so much fun, and I spent several days making my first tiny film, which you see here. But what making a movie about riding a bike around East Baltimore really made me want to do was, well, ride a bike around East Baltimore, so that’s what I did today. Continue reading
I had a dinner date with R. in Locust Point tonight after a long day of work and other work and swimming and work. It was still warm out, but all the weather reports said temps were about to drop and rain mixed with ice was moving in. But oh, I wanted to ride a bicycle, so that’s what I did. I pedaled with rush hour traffic on the way there, up and around and down Fort Ave., a right on Steuert, and then to find a bike rack. Continue reading
I didn’t ride a bike today, but I did take a walk with my Sunday Morning Hiking Club. We did a repeat walk around Leakin Park, and here are some of the things I saw: a rusted out backstop with the winter remains of ivy climbing up one side, stands of skinny, naked trees, the undersides of giant thrown trees caked with mud, two cupped mushroom caps on stalks poking out of leaves, piles of deer shit, the leavings of experiments and observation, piles of corn, a deer stand, a yellow-green golf ball, the front wheel and pedals of a Big Wheel, a baseball worn down to the threads, a plastic grocery bag, an empty and unmarked brown glass bottle, an old tire, green scaly mushrooms growing out of downed trees, a tiny salamander in his tiny tree bark house, a sledgehammer head, and unidentified scat. There were other things, I’m sure, but I wasn’t taking notes. All in all we maybe tramped around 1/20th of the park. Good thing there are many, many Sundays in Baltimore in my future, eh?
Today’s ride took me over to East Baltimore for a tour of R.’s studio and master’s art project~inflatables, quilted ones that you can sit in and hold workshops and conversations, inside outside~I can’t wait! Her studio’s in MICA’s new-ish building for community art in East Baltimore near Johns Hopkins’ new developments, a neighborhood that as far as I can tell has been the target of a whole lot of ideas. The ride over took me on some zigs and zags, the kind I take if I’m trying to get lost, or if I’m trying to follow directions from the computaltor. Today it was the second, and as soon as I got there I knew where I was. The building’s that kind where unless you have been expressly invited, you can’t figure out how to get inside. Once inside it feels so, so different from where you were a second ago. It’s a community center ostensibly, but it does a very, very good job keeping the community outside until expressly invited in. As I was leaving I snapped the picture of a gate inside a gate with floodlights and a camera, I think, at the other end. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but the gated gate fit right in with the rest of the building. It’s complicated. And then I rode toward Fells Point for sushi, beer, a table to grade on, and the game. Once you cross to Butcher’s Hill, wow, whole different planet. Oh, Baltimore. I graded, ate, drank, hit the highs and lows of the sports fan, and then it was time to race back up the hill to catch the second half with friends. Empty street, empty streets~it’s game time.