Red-Gold Tree Near the UMMC Commercial Ambulance Bay

A street with a car and ambulance parked to the right, a walled-off sidewalk to the left. There's a big orange tree at the end of the block on the left. In the background is UMMC Commercial Ambulance parking.

This week was mostly the same ride down and up the hill to my favorite bike racks–the ones just left of the University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma/ER entry doors. I have been parking here for years, and I have my preferred U–one of the two closest to the building, the right side so I can swing my bike around to face out and still have access to my bag on my rear rack. I pull up, grab my spot, lock my bike, take off anything that can be taken off, toss those things in my bag, unzip the back flap of my bag, make it into a backpack, hoist it on, and head east on Lombard to my bus stop at Greene Street.

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Sunlight Over Eutaw & Centre Streets

Picture looking down the street at an intersection. The sun is coming up about midway from the horizon. The sky is streaked with clouds and new light, and there are leafless trees against it.

We went to Michigan for the weekend to see family and meet our new baby niece, and by the time we flew back on Sunday, the time had changed, the weather warmed up, and spring was here. This might still be false spring, yes, but I already feel safe leaving my gloves and lights at home for my work commute. And for now, it’s darker when I leave home in the mornings, which means a whole new kind of light as I pedal downtown to catch my bus out to work.

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Crushed Safety Cone at MLK and Lombard

A picture of a sidewalk with a crushed safety cone in the foreground, cars parked along the curb, a parking meter pay station, and in the distance, buildings in downtown Baltimore.

Monday’s plan was to ride my bike to my surgical oncology follow up at 8:30am and then, after what would likely be a 15 minute appointment, take a ride around east Baltimore for an hour or two, a stop for coffee and reading, then back home for a day of meetings on the internet. But when I looked out the window at 7:22am, snow, and it was stuck to the roads.

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Horse Shit in the Bike Lane at Centre & Charles

Horse Shit in the Bike Lane at Centre & Charles It is April in February, which means many days of breaking my father’s rule to never start a bike ride in the rain. That’s generally good advice, but that would mean a whole lot of time waiting for buses, and when the weather keeps spitting rather than downpouring, I’m generally up for the risk. I’ve been riding in lots of rain, just with my raincoat on and that little cycling cap that I used to think people wore to look cool when riding a bike, but which I now understand is pitched just right to keep the rain off my glasses. So yeah, I’ve been looking like a cyclist lately, and one willing to get soggy in order to maintain some modicum of control over where I’m going, and when I’m going to get there.

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Bike Lane on Roland Avenue North of Coldspring

Bike Lane on Roland Avenue North of Coldspring 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.

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Looking Down Eutaw at Mulberry Street

20151130_090732Monday found me back on my bike after a long, restful Thanksgiving break. For four days I didn’t get on my bike or in a car, relying on my feets to move me from my couch to the movies to lunch out and about. It is rare for me to take that many days off the bike, and getting back on was like getting back to myself. I sped down the hill and up the hill, a right and a left and a right and a left, and I was on my way to work again. Continue reading

Trash Loader Peeking Out Over Trees Along the Gwynns Falls Trail Between Washington & Wilkens

Trash Loader Peeking Out Over Trees Along the Gwyns Falls Trail Between Washington & WilkensAfter 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. Continue reading

View From a Pedestrian Bridge on the Gwynns Falls Trail Just South of Wilkens Avenue

View From a Pedestrian Bridge on the Gwynns Falls Trail Just South of Wilkens AvenueI got up early on Wednesday to ride my bike to campus so I could get there early enough for a thing that, if I’d read my email, I’d have known wasn’t actually happening. Oh well. It was a nice ride in the still-cool morning air–what counts as “cool” is different in the heat of summer, I’ll admit. I zipped down the same streets I take for my regular commute until I took a left on Washington and rode through Pigtown to Carroll Park to hop on the Gwynns Falls Trail. There’s a golf course here, one of several public ones in the city, reminding me that yes, there are people who play golf. Continue reading

Flowers in My Pannier at Local Color Flowers at Brentwood & 32nd

Flowers in My Pannier at Local Color Flowers at Brentwood & 32ndI’m not really sure what clicked in me that made riding a bicycle as a primary form of transportation so normal. I mean, from the outside it looks pretty scary, what with all the cars and pedestrians and chances to fall in sinkholes, and I’m hardly a daredevil, but somehow it was just instantly the best way to travel for me, and it’s totally the logical choice. When I moved to Baltimore the plan was to keep biking to work every day, like I had in New Orleans. That, though, was a quick two mile ride on flat terrain–10 miles each way to Baltimore County, hills included, riding with the big cars on Wilkens Avenue…well, that wasn’t so easy to stomach. Continue reading

Police Helicopter in the Sky at St. Paul and Mount Royal

Helicopter in the Sky at St. Paul and Mount RoyalWednesday’s ride was all commute, happily since Monday’s rain-out meant a super crowded bus ride home. It was so crowded, in that way that reminds you how relative that whole “no touching” dictum is. I mean, if the kinds of physical contact happening on that Monday bus ride were to happen at the workplace, somebody’d be out of a job. Wednesday’s ride home was a different kind of slow slog, this one taking place right after I heard that Eric Garner’s killer was not indicted. That means the grand jury didn’t think there was enough evidence for any reasonable person to even possibly find the killer guilty of any kind of crime. It sucked the air right out of me, but I had the privilege for that to be a passing feeling, and I returned to breath, shallow for a bit, but there. Continue reading