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. I ended up on Hanover Street–bike lane!–and then onto the Hanover Street Bridge, a prospect that almost immediately became terrifying. The speed limit’s 35 there, but you’d never know it from the traffic. I walked across the bridge, the hot sun getting hotter, and then pushed the bike through tall grass to the bike path I’m used to. At this point the part where I’m not acclimated to humid high-90 degree days started to get to me, so I found a shady bench to sit for a bit, and this was my view, all greens framing the water and sky, a bridge and some Industry off in the distance. I sat there for a good half hour and saw exactly one person–it was like I had the whole city to myself (except for that sneaky groundhog I saw), and today I liked that feeling. It’s a feeling I’ve only gotten on a bike and the places it’ll let me find, and for that I am grateful. Today it found me the most perfect spot for office hours. And then it was back on the bike, through the park, along the light rail tracks, around the substation, past the waste treatment plant and the bus station, a brief stop to see that single orange flower peeking up through the weeds, and then continued on my way through downtown and up the hill to home. I didn’t bring much water or sunscreen, figuring I was in for a short ride, but today was a good reminder that whenever I leave the house on a bike, there’s a more than decent chance I’ll end up outside for hours. Next time I come prepared.

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