Oh, I needed that bike ride on Saturday. I headed out for a lap around the reservoir at Druid Hill Park to see the fall colors, made a stop for food and some community acupuncture in Hampden–I play to type–and then I headed west in a vain attempt to accidentally run into Leakin Park, at the request of N. I rode out Gwynns Falls Parkway for a bit until the unruly traffic pushed me onto the sidewalk and then to the right to get away from screaming drivers (no, I do NOT belong on the sidewalk, actually). I pedaled through a park that I thought might be some far edge of Leakin Park (nope–it was Leon Day Park, I think), disturbing a field full of blackbirds that all flew to the trees in unison where I could not longer see them. They are the best communicators, birds are. And then I climbed up a hill toward a fence to see what was behind it (another reservoir–we’re thirsty in Baltimore), did a lap, and then used my tried and true navigation sense–which mostly consists of turning on streets that sound vaguely familiar or promise a treat at the end, like Parkview Lane or something–and managed to zig and zag and end up back where I started, back on Gwynns Falls Parkway all the way back to Coppin State. I took a quick rest on a bus stop bench to regroup and not look at a map and then I was off again, sticking to my parkway guns until I found the entrance to the Gwynns Falls Trail. I hadn’t been on this stretch before, and it was so, so lovely with leaves everywhere and blue sky and running water and stones and a four point buck coming toward me as we shared the trail, until he kindly left it to me. I snapped this picture of a scene that looked familiar from my first ride from UMBC back to Baltimore when I came out here to look for an apartment in July 2011. I’ve seen this before, I thought, and I was right. I saw it coming from the other direction when I was lost on that other ride. The googleymap told me to take a left onto the Gwynns Falls Trail, but they really just meant for me to jog through the parking lot, not pedal a couple miles down it. I wasn’t lost anymore, and the rest of the ride was a pleasure of familiarity and a long stop at that bridge on Frederick Road–or what used to be a bridge. Heavy construction is a trip. And then it was down the hill and up the hill and down and up again and I was home, pleased to be able to get lost and feeling lucky for this beautiful fall day. You’ve got to take your fall breaks where you can get them.