I normally work from home on Wednesdays, but a student needed to meet with me, so there you go. Well, if I had to be out there, I figured I might as well toss the Brompton in the trunk of the car and take a ride around the BWI Loop Trail, a place I never ride because to get there means driving, and why bother doing that when I can just step out my door and roll down the hill? Here’s why: I drove up to the train station parking garage (I can bring Brompty on the train next time!), lifted the bike out of the trunk, unfolded it in about a minute, and then I was off for a ten mile easy pedal on smooth asphalt, no cars to contend with–only other bicyclists, and these ones were friendly. Continue reading
I remember the first ride I took on a bicycle up the hill to Charles Village, pedaling away on a rented three-speed from the Mt. Vernon hotel, on my way to see about a family about an apartment. It was a slog in the hot July weather and new-to-me “hills,” and wow, the neighborhoods seemed to change quickly. Continue reading
So today I decided to ride my bike somewhere out of traffic where I could just pedal for 15 or 20 miles to see how far I could go without stopping. My big charity ride is months away, but it’s 140 miles–I need to start racking up time in t he saddle now. The sun was shining, temps in the mid-40s, and aside from the pesky wind machine, it was an awfully good day for a bike ride. I hopped on and headed toward Lake Montebello for as many trips around the circle I could stand. Continue reading
Today’s ride took me through the mist down to Harbor East for a dip in the pool before heading back up the hill to the library for an oral history presentation about the Civil Rights movement (yes, it has earned all caps) in Baltimore. It wasn’t raining, exactly, but the air was all water, and so were my glasses after just a couple blocks of riding. Through it, I saw this scene at Central and Eastern, old brick building dwarfed by the Legg Mason monument to its own capitalist success and the condos behind it, where Legg Masoners can afford to live, layers of urban development stretching to the horizon, and I wanted heritage programs that taught me not what used to be here, but why it isn’t here anymore and instead we’ve got this. A quick swim and lunch and back up the hill for stories. I love stories, and these were new ones, to me, including one by a woman who gave birth to a perfect baby boy she wanted as much as you wanted your child, but hers was taken away because a white woman giving birth to a black baby was a crime. It took two years to get that baby back. And she’s still here, telling her story on stage-it just wasn’t that long ago. So many people have put their lives right at the knife edge for me to have had a day like this one. Thank you, and fight on.
So I was in Cleveland for a week, and then a few days after I got back to Baltimore, I caught that cold that’s been taking out my students for the past few months–sore, closed throat, cough, itchy ears, fatigue, and just general blah-ness. I decided to take a couple days off the bike to see if I could just get better rather than driving everything into my lungs and making the whole business worse. Well, today I’m not totally better, but I’m good enough to get out there for a ride, and I really, really needed it. Continue reading
I was in Cleveland for the weekend, not riding a bicycle but being driven around the freezing town by one of my very oldest friends, who kindly listened to me imagine what it would be like to ride a bike in that town. They live about six miles from downtown–is there an easy bike route there? How are the hills? Are there any bike lanes going in? I spotted just a few intrepid winter cyclists, including one guy on a tricycle positively encrusted with lights. Most excellent. It was a lovely trip, but oh my I was itching to get back on my bicycle, which I did, for a ride to Federal Hill to run a few errands. Continue reading
Thursday’s ride took me up the hill and around Hampden before dropping back down to Druid Hill Park for some laps around the reservoir where I wanted to get a sense of what ten, twelve, and fourteen miles an hour on flat terrain feels like (thank you, wristwatchcomputerthingy!). I put some music in my ears and got in the lane, round and round I went. I passed that woman and her muppet dog a bunch of times, the three women out for a jog who were doing some speed work on that one lap, geese having sex (happy Valentine’s Day!), and lots of folks just out for a stroll. I snapped this picture looking out over the city on my fourth lap; I love the view here, sometimes because I can see so many neighborhoods, other times, like this day, because it’s mostly sky, an excellent reminder that the rest is pretty small. A couple more laps and it was time to head home, but I could have gone around in circles for another hour or two, just what I needed.
I woke up to rain and a report of rain to come, but seriously, what am I going to do–drive the five miles down the hill to the gym? I don’t think so. Lucky me, the rain stopped early, and it was a gray but dry ride down the hill and to the left to Canton for my last swimming lesson with Rob. He wore me out in the pool, and my legs were heavy as I left the gym to head home. I walked across the parking lot to check out the water, slowing my step-and-roll to try not to panic the geese. They heard me at once and started their move away, toward the oil drums at the end of the block, against a horizon of shipping cranes and giant military ships and new condos and that Korean War Memorial at Waterfront Park. I wonder if the geese notice any of their background, or if all they need’s the grass. For me, looking up from the bike is when I see the layers and layers of what we’re doing here, and then it’s back on the bike to pedal home, past all the stuff. Rain or shine, take your bike.
Today was just the perfect Sunday. I woke up early, did a little reading, and then took the Brompton to S.’s for a ride over to Patterson Park where we met friends for a walk. There were dogs, guys practicing football, loud noises coming from the ice rink, a trip down the slide, swinging, a round of knee-slap (S. invented this excellent game–ask her for a demo next time you see her), and then we found a basketball and discovered that C. is a good shot and S. can get significant air. Continue reading
Saturday’s ride took me down the hill against the Baltimore wind machines for a dip in the pool. I do this ride so often that it just feels like home, like that old ride from the Garden District up to Tulane when I lived in New Orleans–same streets, same houses, same potholes and traffic patterns every day, but every day it is a little bit different in the ride. This day’s ride was frustrated by surprising traffic–where’s everybody going on a Saturday, man? Get off my downtown streets! Continue reading