The Bar at the HandleBar Cafe on Caroline Between Fleet & Eastern

20170629_145154 The heat’s turned back on in Baltimore, which made me all the happier to end my bike ride in Canton for another session in the cryotherapy chamber. The ride down was easy breezy now that I knew where I was going and didn’t have to check my phone for directions. I headed down Guilford, veered left for the protected cycletrack along Fallsway, walked my bike as instructed to the sidewalk just past Fayette before pedaling south and east and south and east until making a couple of wrong turns and ending up at my new favorite summer spot for freezing myself. I was all flush with that feeling of gratitude that I can ride a bicycle–it really is the very best.

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Banana Peel in a Tree at 32nd & St. Paul

Banana Peel in a Tree at 32nd & St. PaulToday’s ride took me down the hill in the dark to meet up with R. and D. for dinner. We’re all still kinda new in Baltimore, and it was good to talk to folks who are also trying to figure out how and whether to love this place. You know what makes me love Baltimore? Talking about what I love about Baltimore. And that’s what I did, and I left wanting to cancel everything and ride my bike around everywhere and see how it’s all been since I last saw it. But it was already getting late and some of us have to work tomorrow, so I just rode back up to Charles Village, a quick stop to see the neighbors at the bar, enjoying a football rout. I snapped this picture of a banana peel lodged in a tree on St. Paul Street. I wonder what *that* guy was doing. And then I put the hat back on and pedaled back down the hill to home, learning yet again that even if it feels like you don’t need your gloves if you’re only going a few blocks, you really need your gloves.

Beers on a Bar in Fells Point at Broadway & Aliceanna

Drinks on a Bar in Fells Point at Aliceanna & BroadwaySunday’s ride took me over to Waverly to meet friends for a drive to Leakin Park before taking the bike back down the hill for a quick swim. Wow, swimming is hard and wonderful. And then it was game time. I had a coupon for a chain restaurant in Fells Point, so I biked over there and grabbed the last spot at the bar, ordering up something they called “pizza” and a beer. And then a second beer, because the Miller Lite Girls were there in tight bedazzled v-neck t-shirts handing out free beers. Continue reading

View of the Harbor From the Waterfront Kitchen


Friday was one of those workdays when my heart wasn’t really in it, and then there were meetings and then I couldn’t find my wallet and blah~it was time for the week to be over and for me to be on my bicycle, so that’s where I was, down the hill and to the left to join V. and A. for drinks and this delicious mushroom cheese toast thing at the restaurant on the waterfront. We toasted and laughed and complained and took note, over and over again, of just how pretty it is here. And then it was back on the bike to dodge the Inner Harbor promenade traffic for dinner with S. and friends and then BASEBALL. Oh, baseball, I love you. I had to leave before the game ended-gasp-but I could tell we were still winning because shouts were coming from open doors and stoops and bars all along the route home because last night we were all O’s fans, an easy thing to be right now and highly recommended. In a car I would have listened to the game on the radio, but this worked too, and I got that sense of racing as I sped home to see who won. Up the hill and back home with more baseball starting Sunday. Things could be worse, yes indeed.

The Brompton Under a Table at the Wonderland Ballroom at 1101 Kenyon


Almost every bicycle ride I take is a pleasure, even if I’m just retracing the same old paths on my way to another boring errand. I even enjoy those sweltering rides in New Orleans, the ones at dusk along the Mississippi River, which sounds romantic until you know how many bugs you’ll eat just trying to breathe. But hey, I just really, really like riding a bicycle. Today’s ride in DC rush hour traffic with record heat, grinding up hills, not sure where I was headed…let’s just say I’ve had better times. Bu what felt good was just folding up the Brompton and tucking it under the table at a bar and sucking down glasses of ice water, a beer, and a surprisingly tasty lentil salad, knowing that I won’t always be this lost in this town if I keep riding this little bicycle that is going to help me figure out yet another city. Yeah, this’ll work.

Crumbling Bricks at Cox & Falls


Today’s ride took me up past Hampden to meet folks at a bar to enjoy some playoff football. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Ravens are in, and they’re my team, now that the Saints are out after last night’s heartbreaker. It was chilly chilly, so I rode as fast as I could and took advantage of the sun and the hills to warm myself up. I passed a lot of people in purple, already tipsy with the day. There as a drink, some. Fried food, and a whole lot of yelling, and then it was time to roll back down the hill. I snapped this picture of the remnants of the brick wall of some ghost of a building. If it were a different wall, this might be an Historical Landmark, but here it’s just another remnant of a past Baltimore–so, so many of these. In the light and with that sky, though, today it looked beautiful. I pedaled home and was reminded that the downhill is much, much colder. I best get used to it.

Beer and TVs at a Sports Bar in the Can Company


It’s nearing the end of the calendar year, and I have money in my FSA that I just haven’t had time to spend. That means it’s time for another trip to the spectacles shop, and none too soon, seeing as how the right temple of my current pair of glasses is held together by first aid tape. S. and I picked out my frames last week, so today I bundled up and hopped on the bike to the Can Company for the one hour eyeglass shoppe to put lenses in for me. But then my prescription was out of date, so I waited fo an appointment. And then I waited some more and some more, and finally, four hours later, I am looking sharp, as are things in a distance, and a whole bunch of grading is in the bag, and now it’s time to visit this weird sports bar for a well-earned beer and a sandwich. All these kinds of sports bars are the same, and tonight this predictable sameness is just what I want before I hop back on the bike and shiver home. The day was lost in a single errand, but I mostly did the errand so I could take a bike ride, so I say, success! Rides of five miles or less? Take your bike. But note to self: it is time to cover those ears, for real.

People Dancing at the St. Roch Tavern on St. Claude & St. Roch


After two whole days off the bicycle–a shockingly rare event in my life in the past three years–I was a little nervous getting back on today. What if I don’t like it anymore? Yeah, that’s what my obsessions look like these days. Anyway, I needn’t have worried; it felt so good to just pedal and pedal and pedal. I headed Uptown to see J. and her sangria, and I spent most of the ride thinking about road conditions and the stickers I want to design that will say, “Don’t park in my bike lane; it’s all I have.” I spent a lovely couple of hours and was back on my bike to meet R. and family for dinner. After an ice cream pit stop, I took the bike, and headed to M.’s for poker night. I took Willow, marvelling at how terrible the asphalt was. I mean, this is paved road in only the most technical of senses. After losing my chips and my patience, I got back on the bike and rode as fast as I could back downtown to lay eyeballs on S. I took only smooth roads on this ride, pushing a hard gear so it felt like flying, until I got to the Quarter, when it was time to put eyes on the road surface. A brief stop here and there and then I was locking up the bike for dancing. I snapped this picture after taking a break to watch other people move their feet. I could say a lot about this place, but mostly tonight I thought about the world that’s going on as we move across surfaces. Takea minute, look down. And then all of a sudden it was time to go home, an easy roll back to the apartment. Yeah, I really needed a bike ride.

Fresh Mint at a Bar on Rampart & Dumaine


Today is one of those days that just runs away from you, best laid plans be damned. The bicycle rides have been similarly fruitless, first in the middle of a downpour after what otherwise was a positively lovely lunch with new friends I met too late and then this bike ride to the fancy bar on North Rampart to meet M., but it turns out we got our Mondays mixed up. I’m thinking we both have moving on the brain–she’s still in Georgia and I’m still in New Orleans and those facts can leave us a bit addled. Sigh. But that means I get to sit here and have a couple of drinks by myself while watching the place fill up. First it was the hipster couple–he knows a lot about what makes water carbonated. Then it was the woman with the book, waiting for her mess of friends–that table reminds me there’s a whole world of thirty something straight women I don’t know anything about, but I hope the sunglasses-on-the-head lady has a good blind date later, in spite of her headache. Then there were the tourists from New York by way of South Florida who are relating to our just-here-for-the-summer bartender until they started sharing pictures of their cats with me. I can totally play that game. And then the two guys on a date and the other hipsters and now the bar is full. Hi, everybody! Time to ride my bike home cheerfully in the after-rain, toss a salad and heat up a pizza, and watch some TV. Not a bad ending after all.

A Mousetrap Behind a Sink in a French Quarter Bar

I spent the day at home, reading, watching a documentary film or two, making soup, talking to cats, and just generally being on vacation. Once the clock hit 5:00, though, it was time to get on the bike and head down to the French Quarter to meet D. and friends for food and drinks. I suited up in lights and florescent vest and my helmet out on the corner. I saw a little wriggly movement out of the corner of my eye, and there it was! A little mouse! He hopped up on the curb and looked around all nervously before scampering across the oak tree roots and into the night. Now, if this mouse had been inside my house, I’d be talking about it in an entirely different way, but out there I can keep a safe distance. Continue reading