Today’s ride took me down the hill and to the left and over to Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center at 601 North Caroline Street, though it’s not really on Caroline Street, as far as I can tell. I’ve been here many, many times. I remember posting a similar picture when I rode over to meet with my breast surgeon for the first time after my diagnosis with breast cancer, almost two years ago–November 21, 2017 is when the news came in, but I knew it was cancer a bit before that. Radiologists know, and mine told me. If the biopsy comes back benign, I’ll know the pathologist made a mistake.
Today’s ride took me down the hill via the Maryland Avenue cycletrack, a right on Lombard to the bike racks at Greene to pick up the shuttle to work. I take this ride all the time, and I know its asphalt really well. it took me a few years to figure out the phantom drop just before Saratoga, but I mostly know it all by heart now. I still keep my eyes down, though, because you never know. And today it was this sad dead rat, looking sleepy but most definitely dead, in the middle of the right lane around 24th Street. I went around it and kept on my way. I locked up my bike, headed to campus, worked and worked and worked, and then turned around, got on the shuttle, walked to my bike, and headed uphill.
It’s been a minute since I blogged, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding my bicycle. When it’s the way you get around, you always get to ride your bicycle. I’ve had some fun rides, but mostly it’s just me, pedaling to and from work, to and from the gym, to and from meeting friends here and there. It’s such a gift to be at ground level when getting around, instead of stuck inside a car, behind all the other cars. This is especially true on days like yesterday, when downtown Baltimore was in complete gridlock due to a suspicious vehicle leaking gasoline, and then yet another water main break. I took the shuttle into the city from work, hopped off at the second stop, and two blocks later was on my bike and heading home, able to walk and ride around the traffic. Suck it, cars!
I was on a beach vacation in Florida all last week, so no bike riding–just beach sitting and wave bobbing for me. It was a glorious treat, but I was happy to get back to Baltimore, too. I’ve ridden my bike every day this week, because that’s what I do when I’m going places, and it’s too hot to wait for the bus.
Thursday’s bike ride took me down the hill and east for a gym class and brunch with my dear friend and work wife. We call it “brexercise,” and it had been over a week since we did that, and that turned out to be too long. I was in a good mood. The lifted heat wave has been a treat, and having some time away from the office, even more so. I was happy to see my friend, and my body was feeling strong. And I knew I was going to get to see my radiation oncologist for a routine follow up, and I just love her, the radiation oncology nurse, the techs, everybody. I saw them all the time in one of the lowest times in my life, and I was looking forward to seeing them in this, a seriously great time in my life, which I’m getting in no small part due to their work.
The heat wave broke with a beautiful overcast day on Tuesday, and I was lucky enough to have places to be on my bike and the energy to ride. My first stop was at the dentist for a six month cleaning and check up. I am lucky enough to have dental insurance, even though it mostly covers nothing but these check ups, so I get them on the clock–I’m not one to leave money on the table. I missed one cleaning, during chemotherapy, because the Internet suggested I avoid it due to risk of infection. I told my oncologist this at the end of treatment, and he was like, yeah, ok, you didn’t really need to do that. When you live in the online support group world where everyone posts their nightmares, it’s easy to get swept up in it. But whatever–I’m back to the dentist, happily letting the father-daughter team at Dr. Shelton’s office have their way with my mouth. It’s a gift to get this care in a world where we’ve somehow decided eyes, mouths, and spirits aren’t work the same level of care as the rest of us.
That ride took me through Waverly and out Ellerslie to 33rd, anything to avoid a few blocks on 33rd. And then I took the lane and pedaled as fast as I could as cars whizzed by me, because two lanes headed in one direction with a median is a freeway to drivers. I pulled up on the sidewalk at The Alameda, locked up, and went in for what would be almost an hour’s wait. It’s so expensive in so many ways to access health care, and I’m intimately aware of the layers of luck that let me do that.
I left with clean teeth and a trip south and west again to the gym. I took The Alameda (I love the “The” part) to Saint Lo Drive through Clifton Park, a route I haven’t taken in a long time. The park is beautiful, though the asphalt isn’t. The rumblebumble strips to slow cars are great for slowing cars, I hope, but on a bike, it’s not awesome. I popped out at Sinclair, took a right, and a left on Wolfe and took that all the way south.
That single street ride, just two miles of it, is a tour of uneven development and displacement, and the racialized nature of those things. I snapped this picture at Chase Street, at the entrance to Eager Park, part of the new neighborhood, Eager Park. This was called Middle East when I moved to Baltimore not even ten years ago, but it’s been rebranded by the Hopkins development. Neighborhood names in Baltimore are largely real estate marketing tools, so it’s no surprise they’re at it again.
From the angle of this picture it’s a brand new shiny park, the green just coming in and promising much more as the years allow for new growth.
And then I continued my ride through Hopkins, across Orleans, and down through Upper Fells and Fells and west to Harbor East, entirely different worlds, all Baltimore City. It was a good day for a ride.
Monday was supposed to be the day the heat wave broke, but I think 95 degrees is still pretty hot. I’ll ride a bike in it, because it’s still cooler to ride a bike than stand at a bus stop waiting for the bus, but I’d rather not. So it was a quick one–just down the hill to the gym for a workout in air conditioning, and then back up the hill to home. My report–it’s still hot out there, and I’d still rather be on my bicycle than almost anywhere else.