Eager Park at Wolfe & Chase

Eager Park at Wolfe & Chase 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.

Turn around and look the other way and it’s this, a boarded-up church and an empty lot. The edges in this city are like this, all over. Boarded-Up Church at Wolfe & Chase

 

 

 

 

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.

Rows of Brick Houses at Rexmere Road and Chestnut Hill Avenue

Rows of Brick Houses at Rexmere Road and Chestnut Hill AvenueSpring is here, finally, and oh, it felt good to be out on the Surly on Wednesday, skirt waving in the wind, sun on my face! That whole rebirth-in-spring business isn’t just for bunny rabbits and Jesus Christ–it’s for bicyclists, too, even those of us who ride year round. I started my ride heading up the hill and to the right for a trip to the dentist before heading to Lake Montebello for a few laps with a slew of pedestrians and one very, very cute puppy: “He’s not as good as he looks–he already ate two pairs of shoes!” Continue reading

Staring Up at Public Housing at 22nd & Charles

Staring Up at Public Housing at 22nd & CharlesWednesday was beautiful but windy, and after a morning bike ride to Waverly and back to meet with R. and O., I spent the day inside, starting a new book and catching up on rest after a busy Tuesday. And then N. came home and asked if I wanted to go on a walk. Why yes, yes I would! I followed her lead up the hill and over and up and over, passing road construction on Charles, dogs walking in Wyman Park, non-Zip Car cars parked in Zip Car Only parking at Johns Hopkins, and the Jones Falls, that part you will never see if you stay in your car, or if you never get off your bike. She took me zig zagging down to Falls Road–those switchbacks are easier on foot than on wheels–and down to what counts as a waterfall in Baltimore City. Continue reading

Bikes and Toys in the Yard at the Corner of Birch & Highview

Bikes and Toys in the Yard at the Corner of Birch & HighviewThursday’s commute was another chilly one, and slow, because sometimes it is all just that exhausting. I flew down the hill, folded my bike and myself into the train, and folded us out for a trudge up the hill, everything feeling a little too heavy. A meeting, a couple of classes, another meeting, some writing, and the weight was lifted by the promise of a free evening–the sort of free that feels extra special because you’ve knocked so many things off the to-do list, and everything else can wait, really. Continue reading

Red Solo Cup Garland on a House on Oregon Ave Near Sulpher Spring Road

IMG_20140211_083233Oh, it is cold out there. Tuesday’s ride started with many layers (and my skirt in my bag–it’s pants weather right now) and the bright idea to remember both my hat and gloves, and then Brompty and I were off to the train station. The ride from Halethorpe is all uphill, so that sharp tingling sensation of cold wind on the face faded as I slowly made my way to campus, avoiding the spots of ice and mounds of salt. I stopped a block or so away from the big intersection at Sulpher Spring Road to snap a picture of the lovely decorations on this house–Christmas lights winding around one front column and a flag affixed to another, a garland of red plastic cups hanging between the two.
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Mansion Behind Gates at Greenway & Charlcote Place

Mansion Behind Gates at Greenway & Charlcote PlaceThere’s nothing like a few days of sub-freezing temperatures to remind a girl how warm 40 degrees really is, and I was happy for the warmth on my free Friday afternoon. I took the Surly up the hill for a sandwich and with no other plans for the evening, I just kept going straight up the hill with the vague goal of going north and west enough to avoid getting caught in the Loyola parking lot. I know, I know, I could check a map and follow some directions, but where’s the fun in that? Continue reading

Layers of Buildings at 32nd & Brentwood

Layers of Buildings at 32nd & BrentwoodFriday was a day of riding errands, first up the hill to get lunch and then over to Hampden and then back home for a quick rest before heading back over to Waverly to meet R. for a little scheming. I lifted my bike into her living room and we headed back toward Greenmount Avenue on foot to take pictures of the sides of buildings. Would any of these make a good location for a short film projection? What we do about the windows? Would that be high enough? How do we get people to look this way as they travel by instead of that way? Continue reading