I got up super early today, choked down some coffee and oatmeal, and went outside to meet A. for a drive out to the beginning of the NCR Trail in Hunt Valley and the mission to ride the whole thing, up to York, PA. That’s 80 miles, and I was kind of terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Long story short, I did, and along the way I saw a river, flowering trees against green backdrops, a zillion other cyclists, far fewer dogs than expected, and I crossed the Mason-Dixon Line and rode into Pennsylvania where I saw the green turn into the industrial wasteland that is every city everywhere, it seems. Continue reading
Today was positively beautiful and just right for a long bike ride, but I spent most of the day inside, helping judge for Maryland History Day before falling asleep for a once-in-a-blue-moon afternoon nap, which clearly I needed. Fortunately, the days just keep on getting longer, so there was still plenty of time to sneak in a ride, which I did, down the hill to Harbor East to pick up a pair of padded bike shorts. Yep, it is time, methinks, to acknowledge that tomorrow’s 80 mile training ride just might be better made in gear rather than the ol’ skirt and a tank top get up I’m used to. And then I was riding around the Inner Harbor toward Federal Hill to A.’s house for a party. Good weather means a whole lot more people using the shared path, and pedestrians seem largely oblivious to the idea that bikes might be there too. I used my super-outside voice to gently encourage groups to make way for ducklings, but to no avail. The same problem plagued my ride back, even as the crowd had largely dispersed. I stopped to snap this picture of one attempt at a solution–a reminder painted on the road to encourage sharing. These were put there by Bike Blaze Guy who takes matters into his own hands when it comes to marking our trails for ease and safety. I have seen him at work–he doesn’t appear to ask for permission, but instead just dresses the part with his safety vests, brings his safety cones, and goes to work. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here’s hoping some pedestrians look alive, or it is going to be an awfully long summer.
Some days you just need to get out of town, and today was one of those days, so I dragged myself out of bed at an entirely reasonable hour, carried Brompty down the stairs, and zipped to the train station for a ride to Our Nation’s Capitol. Lucky me, I bumped into S. on her way to the archives. We don’t know each other well, but we always have a good conversation, and today was no different. The ride was quick with discussions of summer reading lists, how history is activism, why your community engagement might maybe be best if it engages with your actual community, and how much harder is is to do work when you know you are exploited labor, even if you love what you do. Continue reading
Finally, I had an afternoon free enough to ride a bicycle around, so after work and talk and work, I took the Surly out for a ride. We went down the hill with traffic and then a left and a right and a left again to Fells Point and past all the new construction, gravel pits ringed by facade walls saved for history. A quck snack and I was off again, toward Patterson Park for loops with seemingly all the dogs and babies in Baltimore, plus soccer and softball and kickball leagues, all divided by age and race and income, it seemed. I headed east through Highlandtown and the dead end at Haven Street, which leades to all the really good stuff, like this, piles and piles of discarded metal bits and sheets, from what, I’m not sure, but cameras are watching, so don’t even think about it. I went under an underpass, no idea where I would shoot out, and rode around a development ringed by its own gravel pits, surprised to find the kickball demographic there. We had talked in my class that day about how places are temporary resolutions of struggle, and I wondered what will happen as that demographic hits up against the manufacturing corridor, and who will have to move where. I’m guessing the heavy metal that has been piling up since 1909 will be a hard limit, but you never know. And then I was in Greektown, found again. I pedaled back toward home on signed bike routes and a date for pizza with friends, happy to have been lost, if only for a short bit. Getting lost feels like home, and its good to be here.
Wednesday was meant to be a day with a real-ish bicycle ride, but I had to be on campus all day for an evening trip with S. to D.C. for a truly bizarre evening event. Solution: take Brompty in S.’s car for a ride between meetings! Well, best laid plans, right? A meeting turned into another meeting and then I only had two hours to ride and then we got stuck in the elevator on the way downstairs. Continue reading
Today’s ride took me down the hill to meet the other half of the family for a little pre-ride lunch before hitting up the movies. Well, I got the lunch in, but I spent my ride time on the phone, pushing my bicycle along Harrison before sitting myself down on a park bench in that little traffic circle that leads to State Street, Albertson’s, or Boise High. And then the phone call was over for good and I got on the bike and pedaled through downtown and over to BODO, which used to just be 8th Street but is now all fancified with an Urban Outfitters, fancy coffee, and a movie theater. I locked up the bike with the lock I brought from home, uncritically cried my way through the movie (I needed that), and then rode back to home, a quick stop for another phone call from a park bench in The Grove. I snapped this picture from there, crane in the sky over that hole that has been downtown for as long as I can remember. In some ways all places are the same, projects unfinished because somebody ran out of time, money, permission, or something, but there’s always hope (or dread) that cranes will return. It was a short ride today, but I needed it. I’m back to Baltimore tomorrow, and I can’t wait to take the Surly out for a long ride, just the two of us.
I have been in Boise, Idaho this week, my hometown, visiting my family for the past few days. I haven’t been here in almost three years, and I haven’t spent more than about a week in this place since 1993. I didn’t ride a bike around here much as a kid, though this is where I got my first bike–a white one with a purple banana seat, Miss GTO in sparkles on the chain guard. I was so jealous of E.’s yellow Schwinn–I think even then I had a sense that my gender wasn’t quite “sparkle.” Continue reading