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. I first rolled down the hill and took a right to meet A. at the B&O Railroad Museum archives where we spent a couple of hours looking at old annual reports and wishing those excursion rides were still running–and I spent some time wishing I’d been a historian–and then I headed out for the Gwynns Falls Trail to get some riding in that would not require the stop-and-go of city traffic. How lucky to live in a place that has trails like this built in to the city! I rode through the Ravens stadium parking lot–I can’t believe we have that giant place downtown that’s only used maybe 10 times a year, but GO RAVENS!–and the over to the start of the trail leading to Middle Branch Park. In just the year and change that I’ve lived here this particular spot has changed a ton. First the trees were cleared out, I think to get rid of the encampment that had grown up there, though maybe that’s just me being cynical, and now the view from the bridge looks like this–a pile of rubble where I’m guessing a parking lot for the new casino will go in soon. It wasn’t the first rubble-strewn lot I passed. The power station over by the MARC rails is filled with rubble now, though I can’t remember if that’s a new look for the place. The empty lot where you take a right to stay on the “trail” is still there, as are the piles of trash lining parts of the street. And then I was in the park, wondering what those sharp things hitting my face were; turns out ice falling from the sky kinda hurts when it lands on a cold face moving at 12-15 mph. I stopped at the Hanover Street Bridge, took some pictures of the built infrastructure that can’t fully get rid of the water and grasses and plants that have long been here, and turned back, passing the waste treatment plant, geese snacking right next to the highway–we all gotta do what we gotta do in the dead of winter–and that section of the trail that is always inexplicably covered in cords, like the kind that hook one electronical machine to another. Up to Federal Hill, down and around the Inner Harbor, and up the hill to home, a few zig zags around Barclay to finish off almost exactly 15 miles. It just felt good to be back on the bike–I missed you.