Tent and Safety Barrel Under the JFX at Gay & Fallsway

Tent and Safety Barrel Under the JFX at Gay & FallswaySpring has sprung, and that means the return of the Farmer’s Market under the JFX in downtown Baltimore. That’s on Sunday, though, so on Saturday I walked up to the year-round Waverly Farmer’s Market with N., both of us aspirationally dressed–it wasn’t nearly as warm as we though it should be, apparently. That didn’t stop me from wearing the same outfit for an afternoon ride down to Pigtown to celebrate A. and K.’s impending baby–I can’t wait to get her her first balance bike! So yeah, it was a chilly and super-windy ride, worth it, though, to feel air on naked legs as my skirt blew back in the breeze. That feeling of freedom is my absolute favorite part of riding a bike, and endless days of it are on the horizon. The ride back was slow as I pedaled into the wind and got to use my outside voice to helpfully encourage motorists to not merge into me on Pratt Street and pedestrians to not dart out on our shared path around the Inner Harbor. I was stopped at the light on Gay Street and looked over to where the market would be on Sunday morning. I walked the bike over to get a glimpse, see if the setup had started yet–the reopening is such a festive harbinger of the Great Awakening. And what I saw were tents, like this one, and lines of laundry, a row of empty water bottles, a plate or two. People live under here, but I suppose weekend evictions are now in full effect. The incongruity of this kind of homelessness and the hundreds of empty homes I passed on the 7 miles or so of riding I did is always so sharp, but it is disturbing how quickly it fades, how quickly it is normalized, the hiding of huge parts of our community under bridges and in cages, until we need that spot for our weekend market in springtime. And then I was back on my bike and pedaling against the wind, happily joined by E., who was taking his girls our for a spin in the new wind/rain hood-protected bullit bike. He just signed up for the 30 Days of Biking challenge, but he’s pretty sure that’s not going to be very hard. Biking is just how he gets around now–it’s amazing how fast it just becomes normal.

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