Monday’s ride took me over to East Baltimore to meet with the folks at the Creative Alliance to talk about the upcoming LGBT film festival. It was already hot, because that’s what a late summer day fast forwarded to May feels like, but oh, it felt good to be riding through it, especially after a weekend spent entirely in a car. Yeah, I needed to shake that off with a ride. By the time I pulled into the rack at Eastern and S. East I was plenty reminded of the need to bring water at all times when biking in Baltimore. Hills in heat are a different animal from NOLA’s even streets. I remember my cruel introduction to this fact on a long ride up Fulton Avenue on a rented 3-speed a few Julys ago on my first trip to Baltimore. Were it not for the guys who sell cold drinks out of coolers on the neutral ground (is that what they call it here? or is it a median strip? or something else), I wouldn’t have made it back home from UMBC. So yes, I was thirsty and sweaty, and we’re barely at the beginning of this thing. Fortunately for me there were some artists bunched up against the wall of the Creative Alliance, enjoying the final puffs on their cigarettes, happy to escort me upstairs to their studios for a glass of water and chats about the importance of regular writing to find your voice, how to read for “gay” in pre-Stonewall films, and cats. An hour later, LGBT film fest stories in hand, I headed over to Federal Hill for another appointment. It’s a long way around the harbor to the other side, though, so as I passed Canton Waterfront Park I thought what the heck, maybe the free harbor commuter boat would take us there? And they did! We were on a boat! The Surly and I had the outside deck to ourselves, and the breeze off the water was just perfect. Yes. Bikes AND boats, and at the Locust Point featured the mishmash of Baltimore’s sports heroes (Michael Phelps, Ray Lewis, and Cal Ripkin, Jr.) emblazoned on oil drums, crossfitters crossfitting at the Under Armour park, and a memorial to immigrants and immigration. Oh, the layers and layers of stuff at every intersection in public space! And then there was lunch, a massage, grading, more grading, and a ride home, the usual way, dodging cars and pedestrians and fantasizing about more lazy summer afternoons and more time on the water.