Lake at Gwynn Oak Park at Gwynn Oak and Gwyndale Avenues

Lake at Gwynn Oak Park at Gwynn Oak and Gwyndale Avenues I’ve been back in Baltimore for a week, and it has been a lovely week riding my bike around town again. Monday’s ride took me up to school and back and had me wishing, again, that there was a bike lane on Wilkens Avenue. Googlemaps shows this as a regularly traveled bike route, and that’s true–it is–but only because it’s the only way to travel from the city to that part of the county, not because the infrastructure or road speeds make that a pleasant way to cycle. Tuesday and Wednesday were utility rides, going about town on errands and catching up on this and that, but Thursday was most excellent–25 miles of getting lost in northwest Baltimore. I headed out toward Druid Hill Park with the vague memory of a bike lane on Park Heights Avenue that I could maybe ride. Well, there were sharrows, but that was good enough, especially in early morning traffic, all of which was flowing the other way.  I pedaled up and up, ducked down into the light rain that fell as promised, said my how you doin’s to the folks waiting for buses and crossing against traffic. So many vacant homes and lots up this way, so, so many, another reminder that you don’t get to 55,000 vacant homes in Baltimore City without spreading them all over the city. I took a left at a sign that promised Gwynn Oak Park in four miles, and I pedaled along, not sure where exactly I was in relation to where I’m usually going. I turned here and there, rode in a surprise bike lane, followed signs that took me nowhere in particular, and eventually found my way into a park that I figured was probably the one I was looking for. And look at it–how flipping pretty is this place? I’ve read a lot about the park, the site of one of Baltimore’s early anti-segregation battles back when it was a whites-only amusement park, but I’d never been to it. What a treat to end up there by accident. I hopped off the bike to walk around and look at all the things and read all the signs and then hopped back on to ride around aimlessly for another hour and a half or so, checking out suburban homes and liquor stores and surprise bike lanes on streets I’ve never been on and school playgrounds and serious hills that made me want to turn back–and one time I did–and then it was time to get found. Turns out I was close to Mount Washington and then I was on Falls Road, heading back up the hill and down and up and down, a quick lunch at the donut shoppe, because that’s what was there and what I had time to eat, and then up to Roland Park for a doctor’s appointment before rolling home. A perfect, perfect day on the bike, again.

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