Trucks and Signs and Things From the Falls Road Overpass at the Mount Washington Light Rail Station

image

Friday’s bike ride took me on errands up the hill to Roland Park and the up and down and up again to Mount Washington, a neighborhood I never had to visit back when I owned a car, but now that I’m on a bike most of the time and riding there is a serious uphill battle, well, now everything I need is there. Thanks for the challenge, universe! The thing is, I’ve got gears and time, so Friday’s ride just meant a slow pedal up, a speedy flight down (because what goes up must come down, don’t you know), and then back up Falls Road. That part of the ride is so pretty, and my incredibly slow pace left me plenty of time to look right at the already-overgrown green of Robert E. Lee park (can we change that name, please? Lord.). The way back’s look-rights are a little different, though. This view looked like this, the graveyard for gas station signs and heavy metal. And I was reminded of how little we can see in one single snapshot view. All the green and pretty isn’t the whole picture, but then again, neither is this detritus of industry. Gotta keep the eyes open the whole time, willing to look around. And then I huffed and puffed up Lake Avenue and flew down Roland Avenue all the way to Hampden for ice cream with peanut butter sauce before heading home. Hey, hey, summertime, you looker, you.

US Coast and Geodetic Survey Benchmark Medallion on School 33 Art Center at Light & Birckhead

US Coast and Geodetic Survey Benchmark Medallion on School 33 Art Center at Light & BirckheadMonday was a day of appointments all over the city, which actually means a day of riding all over the city, if you are lucky enough to commute by bike. I started early, joining the morning traffic as I snaked my way south and east and south and east for an appointment at the eastern edge of Fleet Street. I skipped the usual route and got to ride through neighborhoods I normally don’t hit, including a bonus morning skip through the Old Town Mall, suddenly slated for redevelopment, thank goodness. I’m a suspicious li’l worry wart, though, so I should probably hold that thank goodness until we see what the city decides to subsidize there. Continue reading

Baby Turtle on the Gwynns Falls Trail Behind BARCS

image

Last week was a lot of rainy bike rides and bus rides and happy near-misses of Baltimore landslides, but the sun was out this weekend, and N. wanted to try riding her bike on the street. With cars. Oh, really? You want to learn how to safely get around town by bike, you have come to the right place, my friend! We suited up–put on helmets and lip balm and grabbed some water bottles–and I gave her my best advice: be predictable, ride in a straight line, practice not swerving left when you look behind you over your shoulder, and remember that you belong in the street too. So much of riding with traffic is psychological: cars are actually exceedingly unlikely to hit you if you follow the rules of the road. They might get annoyed, but so what? Cars annoy the shit out of me, but I don’t purposely try to fuck with them. And then we were off, N. following behind me, holding her brakes on the downhills, swerving a bit to the left as she looked behind her and then slightly over-correcting, and we were downtown, a quick sandwich before taking our ride to the Gwynns Falls Trail where we could leave our car cares behind. I was scanning in front of me–another important bike safety strategy–when I swerved to avoid this baby turtle. We got off our bikes to check out our little friend, and N. asked me how I could have noticed it. Just like driving, bicycling gets easier and easier the more you do it, and all that nervous handlebar gripping eventually loosens, leaving you space to see the turtle and the owl I saw later shooting out of a tree in Middle Branch Park after we’d enjoyed a break on a pier, staring at the water, wishing someone would catch a fish or a crab, and watching ducks take off and land. We stopped for frozen yogurt on the way home, and oh, it was just the perfect lazy Sunday–a bike ride to water with a girl who wants to join you, and whom you want to come along. Best life now, I tell you.