After days and days of oppressive heat we had a cool one Wednesday, light humidity, and it was perfect for my bike commute to campus for a quick meeting. The ride to and from easily took three times as long as the meeting itself, which is a good ration of biking to working, if you as me. I took it easy, preparing for the taking it easy part of next week’s bike tour, and I did a great job pedaling slow, looking around, taking it all in. There’s this part of the Gwynns Falls Trail that goes through a tunnel and then up a decent, if short, incline. I’m terrible at this part of the trail. It’s usually filled with mud from rains that settle here, or piles of sand from somewhere, I don’t even know, and it’s dark, so when I’m wearing sunglasses I can’t even really see what I’m about to bike through. I usually get off and walk, and then I just keep walked til I hit that first bridge. I’ve biked so many places in so many situations, with so many cars, through water, across wriggly streetcar tracks, up and down hills pocked with potholes that would swallow a small dog–I even take the lane on Wilkens even on the uphill and with traffic!–but I just can’t manage this part of the trail. Hey, it is what it is. So I walked, and I checked out the perfect blue sky with its puff ball clouds, the masses of deep summer green–it’s beautiful in Baltimore right now. And I listened to the crash of metal just over the fence and past the trees, an aural reminder that there’s always stuff I’m not seeing even when I’m looking closely. I snapped a picture through the chain link, and you can kinda sorta see what I’m talking about in the middle where the green and blue break each other. And then I was back on the bike, pedaling up and down and over and up and down to my office, a meeting, some writing, and back on the bike to head to home. I heard a voice behind me just a mile or so into my ride home–B.! We pedaled together, and I rode a bit faster and zipped through the tunnel, because riding with somebody else will do that for you, and we chatted about which way to go once we hit the city–the street not the sidewalk on Washington, Baltimore to Park. I usually ride up Paca–never even thought of a different route–and this one’s way better. B. and I are both creatures of habit, and I’m glad he’s shown me some new ones this summer. Thank you.