A Curve in the Jones Falls Trail From Druid Hill Park to Woodberry

A Curve in the Jones Falls Trail From Druid Hill Park to WoodberryI woke up well rested this morning, a rather rare occurrence lately. I’m having this problem where I’m in such a lovely mood that I am trying to stay awake long enough to not miss it. Thing is, I need sleep, and I got a good lot of it last night, which meant I was pretty much immediately ready to hop out of bed and take a nice bike ride around town. I headed over to Druid Hill Park where the neighborhood was doing laps–walking, jogging, high-stepping, and bicycling. It was a bit crowded, so I took the left off the reservoir path and onto the Jones Falls Trail, under tree canopies and around the arboretum, dodging zoo traffic and disc golfers, and then I was headed down the hill to Woodberry. I snapped this picture at one of the switchbacks on this prettiest part of the trail. It was all green and blue skies and a rare whisper of a cloud, and it felt so good, so at home, to be rolling down to another neighborhood for brunch. I ended up eschewing the newer, fancier choice for an old favorite, but that meant a ride along Clipper Mill Road in all its lushness for a short climb back to Hampden. And then I took the bike back toward Waverly for a stop in a garden to peek in on a beehive before spinning home. It was a perfect sunny Saturday morning, made inestimably better by traveling by bike.

View From the Gas Station at 21st & Charles

View From the Gas Station at 21st & CharlesIt was a short ride tonight, just down the hill to meet R. and friends for dinner, the last one before she and her boyfriend head off to Cambridge. I will miss them, and oh my, I get tired of leaving/people leaving! All good things in her future, though, so I’m excited to see what happens next. I rode home up Charles Avenue, a quick stop to say hi to R. and A. as they enjoyed dinner outside–I think they call that “al fresco” or somesuch. R. said it was going to rain, and about 12 seconds later the skies opened up and dumped a monsoon on the streets. I tried to outrace the raindrops, but I gave up as I crossed North Avenue, ducking under the gas station canopy that reminds me of my old favorite gas station where I spent many a night during just this kind of moment in New Orleans. I waited out the three minute downpour and then O. rode up on her bike, and it all just felt serendipitous. Where are you going? Can I join? Of course. We rode to the bar, I bought us a couple of beers, we toasted another successful community fundraiser, and then it was time to ride home, the air just a bit cooler after the storm, but still thick with Baltimore’s promised humidity, another reminder of New Orleans. That place was home, but now this place is, made that way by riding my bike and being willing to get off and say hi.

View From a Shaded Bench in Middle Branch Park

View From a Shaded Bench in Middle Branch Park Today’s ride took me down the hill to the Inner Harbor and around to Federal Hill to join A. for a work date at a Federal Hill coffee shop. We gossiped–her about writing, me about not writing–and then worked in 20 minute intervals, because sometimes that’s how you have to do it, especially when outside is all sun and blue skies and bicycles. After finishing up I had a few hours before I had to be anywhere or doing anything, so I rode around Federal Hill and then headed east to see where it would take me. Continue reading

View From the Fort McHenry Bike Path in Locust Point

View From the Fort McHenry Bike Path in Locust PointOh, I needed today. I woke up late and lazed about in bed with cats, gathering that vacation day vibe. I had a lovely long lunch with R. and O., eating dosa and talking about the layers of history and memory everywhere, the messages sent by trees about where matters and who doesn’t, and arranging our next meetings–why not have a meeting tubing on a river, O. asked? Sometimes you find the right people, and oh, it feels lucky. Afterward it was finally time to take the bike out for a ride. I zipped down the hill, fast as could be, and then up and around and up and down and up again to Fort McHenry. Continue reading

Shot Tower Metro Station at Baltimore and South President

Shot Tower Metro Station at Baltimore and South President Tonight’s ride took me down the hill, around the Inner Harbor, and up again to enjoy some wine and gossip with A. and K. For the first time in awhile I had my bike shoes on, and it was such a treat to sling my leg over the top tube and clip in and be really attached to the thing. We flew down the street, a song in my head and a hard gear so I could pedal on the downhill. I was going about as fast as I go, and I had a few of those flashes where I remember I’m teetering on two wheels, in the street, with cars. How do I stay balanced? I figured trying to actually figure it out would cause me to fall over, so I shook it out of my head and trusted the whole thing to be just like riding a bicycle. Continue reading

View Through the Bridge Over the JFX on Calvert North of Mount Royal

View Through the Bridge Over the JFX on Calvert North of Mount RoyalTonight’s ride took me just down the hill to meet a couple of students for dinner and a chat about this and that. I rode with the rush hour traffic, which meant I easily beat the cars and easily found a parking spot. After dinner I walked a bit, talking to E. on the phone about, and stopped on the bridge over the JFX on Calvert. I rarely take this road, preferring the bike facilities a block east on Guilford, but today I walked across, which meant I could stop and snap this picture through the almost-transparent wall behind the metal railings on every third or so segment of the bridge. Sometimes you have to get off the bike and look down, but it was good to get back on and steady-pedal home.

Safety Cone Overlooking Northwest Baltimore From Druid Hill Park

Safety Cone Overlooking Northwest Baltimore From Druid Hill ParkN. and I were getting ready to head to Druid Hill Park for a second day of Pride festivities. She was driving, but I’d have to head home first. “Why don’t you toss Brompty in the trunk?” Great idea. I folded up the bike, grabbed my helmet, and we were off. Continue reading

Parade Crowds on Charles, Just North of Eager

Crowds in Mount Vernon for Pride on Charles Just North of EagerSaturday started with a lovely visit from M. and J. and a steady amble down the hill to Mount Vernon to check out the preparations for Baltimore’s Pride parade before walking back north for brunch and to swap out the walking for the bike. Continue reading

Stormy Skies Above Webster & E. Fort Ave.

Stormy Skies Above Webster & E. Fort AvenueThursday’s skies and weather report certainly suggested a bicycle ride would be a bad idea, but oh boy, I needed to ride my bike. And there were hints of blue in the sky, so maybe it would be fine. And it was. It felt so good to just fly down the hill and up the hill and around the harbor and up the other hill to Federal Hill. A. and I caught up on all the gossip and then watched each other write and not write and write and then I looked outside again, and maybe the weather report was right. I packed up quickly and snapped a picture of the sky over the neighborhood. It did not look promising, especially with rain already starting to fall. I made it around to the Science Center before the skies just opened up. The deluge! It was incredible, and the wind was blowing the rain horizontally into me. My shoes promptly filled with water, and there was so much water in my eyes I had to get off my bike and walk–I couldn’t see a thing. I finally squinted out enough water to get back on the bike and slowly pedaled up the hill toward home, feet slipping off the pedals, brakes squealing, and puddles splashing. This song would not leave my head, and for some reason I couldn’t stop smiling. Once you’re all wet, you’re all wet, no worries, it’s summertime.

Train Stalled at the Crossing at Warner & W. Ostend

Train Crossing at Warner & W. OstendAs soon as I slung my leg over my bike and clipped into my right pedal I felt like myself again, and I couldn’t help but dodge back and forth in the lane, doing that little dance of welcome home. Oh, it was good to get on the bike and race down the hill and up again, for the sweet treat of coffee and talk with two of my favorite nerds, E. and R. Afterwards R. and I lingered to talk about bikes and girls and things, and then I was off toward downtown and the Gwynns Falls Trail. Continue reading