Tonight’s ride took me up to Hampden to join J. for a night of preseason football. I could write about any of the many things I saw: the obscene numbers of televisions in this place; the inexplicability of a non-high def TV at a bar with this many TVs; what understaffing looks like; the 7-11’s 2010 “Top Breakfast Sandwich Sales” trophy; the girls tossing a ball between them on the porch, counting how many times they could pass it without it dropping; the crowd at the new ice cream shoppe; or a zillion other things. But tonight’s ride was all about that feel when flying down the hill: I was a little chilly. It was such on odd sensation, one I haven’t had in months and months, but there it was today, another reminder that time passes; best make the most of it.
Wednesday was my second anniversary in the fair city of Baltimore, Maryland, and I was in the mood to celebrate. How? By taking the bike out for a ride to see if we might get ourselves lost. It is amazing how quickly I can figure I can’t get lost anymore, and how quickly I can get lost again if I just take a slightly different turn. This day’s ride started with an easy pedal over to and around and around Lake Montebello, because for a minute I just wanted to ride without fear of cars, a song in my ears. I veered over toward Herring Run Park on the second lap, bouncing over the tree-rooted trail and along the water, surprised again that this is Baltimore and just a couple of miles from my house. I snapped this picture of layers of ivy covering over trees and bushes, everything growing all at once into a mass of lush green. Continue reading
Tuesday started out a shady and soggy mess, but all was cleared up in the afternoon, just in time for a quick bike ride around the neighborhood. I rode up to one of many entries in the Charles Village Sandwich Shoppe Wars (Quiznos was rightly the first casualty), lunched, and then continued on up the hill and over toward Roland Park to meet S. for coffee. I am up in this neighborhood all the time, but for some reasons, this was the first time I’d noticed the monument set back behind the trees circling that tiny sliver that gets to be called a park. It’s a monument to the Confederate women of Maryland, “The Brave at Home” who “In Difficulty and Danger/Regardless of Self/They Fed the Hungry/Clothed the Needy/Nursed the Wounded/and/Comforted the Dying.” Continue reading
And sometimes you take three days off of bicycling because your dear sister is in town, and she’s a runner, so you happily walk and take the bus and hope N. will pick you both up and drive you around town. Today, though, what I really needed was to get back on the bike. I didn’t get a chance to ride around until the evening, when I hopped on the bike and headed down to Mount Vernon for a meeting. In a shocking turn of events, especially for a Monday, the meeting ran short, so I had plenty of time to ride around town. I headed down to the main post office because I’ve never been inside that behemoth of Brutalist architecture, plus also I wanted to put a letter in the mail. Continue reading
And then sometimes you just want to put some music in your ears and ride around in circles feeling happy to be alive, so that’s what I did on Thursday, heading to Druid Hill Park for a ride around the reservoir. I slowed way down once I got to the park, partly because I’m the slowest hill-rider in town, but also to watch the kid on the diving board in the pool. He was standing on the springboard facing away from the water, bouncing every once in awhile as other kids and an instructor looked on. There’s no way out but to jump off that board, but oh, that’s a scary jump. Continue reading
It was another gray day in Baltimore, and as soon as I got on the bike I felt raindrops. They weren’t the kind of raindrops that stayed–those would come later–and it felt good to just be flying down the hill in less than full summer heat. I rode down, took my left and my right, dodged some mail trucks, took another left and a right, and I was retracing familiar steps. I thought about why these familiar steps are never in the west–I blame MLK (the street, not the man)–and then I parked my bike and ate the kind of breakfast that you know you’re supposed to think is amazing, but really you shouldn’t have to ask that many times for a biscuit that’s more like a very, very plain crumbly muffin with jam that just doesn’t hold up. On my way I stopped to snap this picture of construction in Fells Point. It’s almost time to pour the cement, I think, the ground traced with steel bars. There are cranes in the sky down here. Every time I see cranes in the sky, I remember that’s what they said about New Orleans–there would be cranes in the sky, but that didn’t happen. Something else is happening there now. I walked down to the pier, sat and watched the water taxi come and go, and then it was back on the bike to the Inner Harbor and around to Locust Point for a couple of errands before a speedy trip home. Those last few miles were my favorite of the day, up and down, up and down, hitting my stride, waving my hellos.
Monday’s ride took me down the hill–big surprise–and around the Inner Harbor, where I got to use the best of my outside voice to remind pedestrians and Segway drivers (riders?) to Share the Path. I complain a lot about the lack of easy bicycling around the harbor, but I recently tried walking it. The pedestrians are right–the shared path is the only good way around the construction in front of the World Trade Center, and once on a path, hardly anybody gets off it to follow a different one, even once the obstacles are gone. An easy pedal up to Federal Hill for some work with the co-workers, and then I headed home, same outside-voice around the harbor, a left on President to enjoy the worst bike lane in the city on my way to the best one–the Fallsway cycletrack. Continue reading