Vacant Home and Abandoned Railroad Tracks Near Cole & Stricker

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Thursday was a perfect biking day in Baltimore. I headed out mid-morning, taking a new route south and east to Highlandtown to meet A. for lunch. Not only did he pay, but he wanted me to go on and on about what I love about bikes. That was absolutely no problem, and by the time we were done, all I wanted to do was ride my bike all over town. And that’s just what I did, heading west as far as I could go before hitting the Westside Mall and then zigzagging the neighborhoods until I was tho hot and out of water, time to head back to a coffee shop for iced tea and cooler air before heading to Federal Hill. I snapped pictures along the way, of a WWII monument that felt out of place, railroad tracks that have seen better days, this house, skin off, guts hanging out. I said dozens of hellos, shook more than one angry fist at a driver passing too close for my comfort, and thanked myself for my foresight to bring a dish towel along for the ride to mop up the sweat. Sweet, sweet summertime in Baltimore, I thought, many adventures to come. And as I looked through my pictures later I reminded myself how much framing went into them, and how little I know about what I see. That’s not a frustration, it’s a gift.

The Midas Car Shop at Reisterstown and Liberty Heights

the Midas at Reisterstown and Liberty HeightsI’ve been riding my bike all over town this past week–zig zagging through East Baltimore for late lunches, zipping down to graduation ceremonies at Royal Farms Arena–yes, it’s called that, and yes, I got to lock up on the fence right in front while everyone else was stuck waiting in traffic to find a way to pay $20 for a parking spot–and riding to SoWeBo Fest in West Baltimore for the first funnel cake of the season. Vacation has been oh so lovely, and I’m sad to see it come to an end, though it certainly won’t mean an end to biking around.
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The Surly Hanging in the Bike Corral at Baltimore’s Penn Station

The Surly Hanging in the Bike Corral at Baltimore's Penn StationDay 2 of summer break caught me doing a couple of quick chores around the house before hopping on the bike down to Penn Station to catch the 9:05 to DC for a day at the museums. The part where you don’t have to live in DC or own a car but can, for $14 round trip, ride in and take advantage of all the cool stuff they’ve got there is one of my favorite things about living in Baltimore. I don’t take advantage of it much, but sure glad it’s there–it’s like Baltimore Bike Party in that way. Please don’t make me put on a costume and ride with a thousand other people, but please make room for everyone else to do it, I’ll just buy the t-shirt (which I wore on yesterday’s ride, ftr).  Continue reading

Frank Bocek Park at Madison & Ellwood

Frank Bocek Park at Madison & EllwoodThe spring semester is over and summer school doesn’t start until next week, so in spite of the grading and class prep that lingers, I’m treating this week like my vacation. I kicked it off with a a whole bunch of reading in bed interspersed with grading and rec letter writing–there’s always some work to do–before checking the weather report with my lunch to see if it was going to rain. Continue reading

Field of Yellow Flowers at Druid Hill Park

Field of Yellow Flowers at Druid Hill ParkI’ve been riding my bike all over the place over the past week or so. The weather’s been perfect for it, and we’ve even had some days where I’ve gotten to get a good sweat on. It’s awesome. I haven’t felt much like writing about it, though. The uprising took all my words right out of me. I found myself writing and writing, as fast as I could, as if narrative could somehow make the very complicated things that are happening here–have been happening–make sense. Continue reading

View Over the Bridge on Wyman Park Drive

View Over the Bridge on Wyman Park DriveSunday’s ride took me up to Hampden for a late breakfast–I think they call it “brunch.” The ladyfriend came too, riding her sexy pale blue 1972 Miyata 10 speed bicycle. Oh, life is better when the people you love want to take their bikes, too! We locked up to some road signs in the neighborhood, put our names on the list, and settled in to wait. I watched as the easy flow of mostly-white folks wandered up and down our Avenue, a million miles away, it felt, from the Baltimore we’ve all been talking about. We saw a bunch of people we knew, shared our hellos and our stories, and ate well and did some window shopping before getting back on our bikes. Unreal privilege right here, I tell you. Unreal.

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Cloudy Skies at Collington & E. Fayette

Cloudy Skies at Collington & E. FayetteSaturday was another lovely spring day framed by the ugliness of being in a city under martial law. I spent the day catching up on this and that, and then I was back on the bike, heading south and east and south and east again, through Clifton Park, East Baltimore, and down to Patterson Park for an art opening at the Creative Alliance. It felt like a regular spring Saturday in spite of it all–people sitting out on their porches and stoops, kids playing ball disturbingly close to car traffic, folks running car washes out front of their homes. Continue reading