I had a bunch of meetings on Friday, so after spending the morning doing a wee bit of writing, I hopped on the bike and headed down to the west side to catch the shuttle to work. Because the police state that is Baltimore-under-curfew is confined to only certain neighborhoods, my ride downtown through Charles Village, Station North, and Mount Vernon was fairly cop-free, until I took the right and left toward Lexington Market. Continue reading
Saturday’s ride was a short one, down the hill to find Baltimore’s Gay Pride Parade. They moved it this year, so it was all spread out and felt pretty empty, and it definitely felt more sober as the party wasn’t right in front of the bar. In fact, drinkers had to stand in line, get a wristband, and drink inside the beer cage. That took care of the vomiting in the gutters and alcoholic littering, sure, but it also meant, for me, that it felt a whole lot less organic and a whole lot more like a police-orchestrated public space. Continue reading
I spent my Friday packing Brompty in her new suitcase and then flying slowly south to New Orleans for the first weekend of Carnival, my annual pilgrimage to this place that used to be home. It was Brompty’s first flight, and I had all the jitters of a new mom dropping her baby at day care as they took my sweet bicycle away with the rest of the checked bags. She came out fine at the other end, and oh, I was glad I brought her along for a Saturday riding all over town. I headed toward Uptown from the Treme, a ride I used to make as often as I now make the ride up the hill from the Inner Harbor. This time I was off to meet P. and C. and the rest of the gang for the day’s Uptown parades. Continue reading
Friday’s evening ride took me down the hill and to the right to Pearlstone Park, a place I’d been a bunch of times but didn’t know it had a name, to meet up with 1,000 other bicyclists for another edition of Bike Party. I hadn’t been planning to go, but when R. asked if I wanted to go, I couldn’t think of a reason not to–always an excellent situation for saying YES. This Bike Party was going to be a little different–the police wanted to be more involved. I guess there are some concerns about 1,000+ cyclists taking a good 30 minutes to get through intersections, holding up traffic and, well, I can’t think of any other reason the police would want to be involved, right? Continue reading
Saturday started with a lovely visit from M. and J. and a steady amble down the hill to Mount Vernon to check out the preparations for Baltimore’s Pride parade before walking back north for brunch and to swap out the walking for the bike. Continue reading
Oh, today was just perfect. E. and I woke up early, choked down bananas and coffee, and headed over to the crowded start of the Brooklyn Half Marathon. E. has been training for this for a long time, and it’s her first race at this distance. There were 25,000 other runners all lined up in projected pace order stretching blocks and blocks down Eastern Avenue as music and aimless chatter spilled out of loudspeakers as we both jumped up and down waiting for the start. Continue reading
Today’s ride started at the bike shop for a new helmet, and oh my, what a pleasure it is to have a local bike shop. I tried on some lids and had a completely lovely chat about helmet philosophies and training diets (she prefers the ice cream program over my pizza plan) before setting off for a roll down the hill. I meant to go to the Kinetic Sculpture Race, a most wondrous festival of giant floats on bicycles, racing, but in spite of the obvious pleasure of that sort of event for a person like me, I just wasn’t in the mood for crowds. Instead, I biked down through Little Italy and up Bank Street toward Patterson Park. I snapped this picture of an empty and overgrown lot for sale just before Caroline. The part where this spot can exist mere blocks from the hyperdeveloped areas of Harbor East and Fells Point blows my mind, as a newcomer to the city, anyway. I didn’t live here when they decided to build so much public housing downtown, when all the rich people were taking the new highways to the booming suburbs. I live in Baltimore now, when there’s a reversal, and downtown is being developed as live-work-tourism space. I wonder what the city will do with areas like this, Perkins Homes, as the real estate becomes more valuable. For now, this spot is offered by Fells Point Realty, perhaps a sign that that neighborhood’s creeping north. The way things look now, I will be here to watch those developments. The rest of my ride was all a marvel at wispy clouds, ridiculous blue skies, brilliant greens, and a traffic jam of bikes on the Fallswat heading home. Yep, spring is here. Lucky, lucky us.
I know, I know, I’m a broken record, but wow, what a beautiful day for a bike ride in New Orleans. Today’s my last day in the city before heading north to the frozen tundra that is Spring classes, and I spent most of it on N.’s bike. I first rode into the Marigny to meet R. and A. for brunch at the third outpost of that restaurant I think of as where I met D. and M. and S. for the first time~I knew from that first morning that they would all be bosom friends that morning, and I was right; today, same sort of friends, same sort of restaurant, and iit was just a perfect start to a day that then took my to Mid-City to see M.~an unannounced bike-by from the olden days. I pedaled back toward the Quarter along Orleans. I remember when they repaved that street, such a dream, and today it was a respite from the truly awful New Orleans infrastructure. My god, iron your streets! I snapped this picture of an empty building that looks like it used to be a theater. I think the sign is smaller now, but I will have to check the ol’ archive. So much has changed around here~new public housing, new asphalt, newness, but not at this spot and the others where there’s so much blight. It reminds me of Baltimore. A walk through the Quarter for a dog parade and more friends and then I was riding Uptown on the old route to see R. and then S. The fork is still embedded in the street at Baronne and Jackson, the cow’s still there, Muses looks lived-in, and we are still being exhorted to be the change we wish to see in the world. it was a lovely ride, lovely stops, and a perfect vacation. I’m not going to lie, though: I’m looking forward to going home in the morning, if only to get a break from my vacation schedule. Thank you, New Orleans, as always.
Well, I left those cool Maryland climes for a weekend in New Orleans. N. lent me her bike, and after tonight’s parade I rode up, trying to remember where to take a right, and then I was at the post off, almost there, LaSalle which is Simon Bolivar which is Loyola. Peanut Park is still there~is this how we’re getting parks from now on?~ and so’s the Chicken Mart and so’s the basketball court sponsored by the Hornets~going to have to change that now. It’s the same, but then there’s a bike lane on Loyola and a streetcar stop. There’s a *streetcar* there now? It’s a Super Bowl thing, I think, but it was nice to see that sort of change. The cool thing about leaving a place is you get to come back and visit.
S. got her bike new wheels and cables and brakes after it got stripped earlier this year, which means S. has a bike now. That means we can ride bikes together places–this is most excellent news! Tonight she came over in her cow suit with a skeleton suit for me, and we got to zip down the hill and to the left for the Lantern Parade in Patterson Park. Continue reading