Fire Trucks on Display at the Baltimore Convention Center on Pratt Street

Fire Trucks on Display at the Baltimore Convention Center on Pratt StreetAfter a morning finishing one book, starting another, and sending some emails I should have sent months ago it was time to get back on the bike and pedal around in a surprisingly beautiful day. I headed down the hill to the Inner Harbor with an eye toward redeeming a coupon for a trip through the historic ships parked there. Well, that coupon expired in May, so I decided to just wander around to see what I could see. First stop: Harborplace. I’ve never been in there, because why, but today I decided to go check out the McCormick Spice store. Continue reading

View From the Manhattan Bridge

image

E. is running the Brooklyn Half Marathon this weekend, which is pretty damn cool, so Brompty and I hopped on the train to NYC to cheer her on. I love that I can just pop the bike in the overhead bin and then unfold her on the other side and ride us all down to Brooklyn. Today’s ride through Manhattan was a quick reminder of the different attitude you need to ride here to avoid the pedestrians wandering into the street, the delivery trucks, cabs, and cop cars blocking the bike lane, and the other cyclists whoosing past; let’s just say I used my outside voice a lot. The left onto the Manhattan Bridge bike path was a relief, even though it was a bit tricky to avoid that one woman with all the groceries blocking my way. Oh, but the ride up the bridge! I love the slow pedal with the cars and subways, the city getting smaller and turning into water. I snapped this picture at the halfway point. I have seen this view from many vantage points in the last 20 years, but the view from the bike is the first one that’s felt like seeing all that much. I coasted down the other side and followed my directions to Red Hook for ridiculous tacos and grits and then followed Union Avenue through Park Slope and up Eastern Parkway to Crown Heights. I could ride in Brooklyn forever, but tomorrow it will be all Brooklyn Half Marathoning for me. E. can run it, but I’ll take my bike. Oh, such fun!

Safety Cone on a Toppled Mailbox on St. Paul & Chase

Safety Cone Atop a Downed Mailbox on St. Paul & ChaseThursday night’s ride was brief–down the hill, a lovely dinner with a new friend, and a slow walk up the hill, because sometimes I feel like walking, especially when my legs are feeling a little heavy and I’ve got some thinking to do. The night was cool, but that kind of cool that suggests tomorrow might be a little bit warm because spring is on the way. On the walk back I snapped this picture of an overturned mailbox with a safety cone on top it. What’s being kept safe is a bit unclear, but I’m safety girl, so I suppose I appreciate the warning. I saw this alert earlier in the day from my car window, and it reminded me of New Orleans and the way folks would alert their neighbors about potholes by putting a stool, halogen lamp, wicker chair, or some other tall household item in them. By NOLA standards this safety cone business is downright official.

Gate Behind a Gate at MICA on Collington & Madison

image

Today’s ride took me over to East Baltimore for a tour of R.’s studio and master’s art project~inflatables, quilted ones that you can sit in and hold workshops and conversations, inside outside~I can’t wait! Her studio’s in MICA’s new-ish building for community art in East Baltimore near Johns Hopkins’ new developments, a neighborhood that as far as I can tell has been the target of a whole lot of ideas. The ride over took me on some zigs and zags, the kind I take if I’m trying to get lost, or if I’m trying to follow directions from the computaltor. Today it was the second, and as soon as I got there I knew where I was. The building’s that kind where unless you have been expressly invited, you can’t figure out how to get inside. Once inside it feels so, so different from where you were a second ago. It’s a community center ostensibly, but it does a very, very good job keeping the community outside until expressly invited in. As I was leaving I snapped the picture of a gate inside a gate with floodlights and a camera, I think, at the other end. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but the gated gate fit right in with the rest of the building. It’s complicated. And then I rode toward Fells Point for sushi, beer, a table to grade on, and the game. Once you cross to Butcher’s Hill, wow, whole different planet. Oh, Baltimore. I graded, ate, drank, hit the highs and lows of the sports fan, and then it was time to race back up the hill to catch the second half with friends. Empty street, empty streets~it’s game time.

High Security at the Inner Harbor’s 9/11 Memorial

Today’s bike ride took me to Waverly to meet R. for brunch and bike comparison–she’s got the blue Long Haul Trucker with big ol’ upright handlebars, and I have a feeling our bikes have some mutual exploring of bike trails to do together. Afterward we rode our bicycles our separate ways, and I headed down to the Inner Harbor to check out the sunny Sunday crowds. Continue reading

Helmetless Head Riding Around The French Quarter

I woke up tired and feeling a little sickly, and I knew it was bad when I left my house with my bike but no helmet. What! I always wear my helmet. I read a story about health officials coming out against mandatory helmet laws, arguing partly that there isn’t conclusive evidence helmets decrease serious injuries for cyclists as a group. I rode my bike a mile and a half to brunch, all naked-headed. Yeah, that just doesn’t feel right. I didn’t even feel carefree, wind in my hair, all that jazz. A helmet on my head is what feels normal to me. I was so tired I went ahead and drove to E.’s house this evening. I can’t really believe people feel so scared to ride a bike and yet so safe in a car–there’s so much heavy metal hurtling through space at high speeds! But we make the trade off for the convenience of the thing to get us more places faster. I wear my seatbelt, or my helmet, neither of which takes the place of defensive driving/riding. And then there’s the faith that the people behind you are going to respect your space. It is totally worth it to get to ride a bike, and the more us us do, the safer we all are, helmet or not.

Invisible Cyclist at St. Charles & Jefferson

It was already dark when my night school class ended, so I strapped on my safety triangle, turned on my flashing front light, and donned my helmet before pushing off toward home. I was stopped at the light at Jefferson when a cyclist breezed by–no lights, no reflectors, no nothing. I think what cyclists don’t get is that at night, without lights and reflectors, we are invisible. Seriously–absolutely invisible. That’s scary for drivers, and more importantly, for us, because we’re going to lose this battle. A car pulled up next to me at that light, and the driver told me that he could see me clearly with my little slow moving vehicle sign, and that’s good to know. I never see me from the vantage point of a driver coming up from behind, and maybe that’s why so many cyclists don’t bother with any kind of night riding gear–because we don’t imagine that we aren’t being seen. After all, we can see you, so why can’t you see us? Well, they can’t see us. Clip a light on the back somewhere, please.