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

Rocks and Waves and Blue Skies at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg

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I meant to go for a bike ride today, but by the time I had time to myself, I was more in the mood for a slow amble. I walked right toward the ocean–is there another direction out here?–and took a right on the main drag for a stop at the post office to drop some postcards in the mail to M., S., and N., who rang me from her amble at just that moment. We swapped stories from our ambles, agreed it was The Greatest Day in the History of the World, and then parted phone ways to continue our respective walks. Mine took me to the fence blocking off the beach where the lumber mill used to be. There are still piles of lumber and reminders that work used to be done here, but now it is all NO TRESPASSING and that alone made the homes lining it a different world from the mansions just up the road; even paradise finds itself structurally adjusted. And then I found the entrance to the state park, and oh my, look at it. I walked, I sat, I listened, I waded, I waited, and then it was time to head back. I took my time walking along Highway 1, past the boarded-up bed and breakfasts and the gas stations and restaurants and the other attempts to figure out what to do to make this a place to make a living after the mill closed. I stopped for a fancy coffee, stopped in the store that sells only socks–I wonder how that’s going to turn out–tried on some ridiculously expensive shoes, and picked up an album for N.–don’t tell–and then it was dinner with friends and a walk back to E. and S.’s for wine, brownies, and baseball, just like the old days, another vacation win, much to think about, just like I like it.

Property For Sale on Bank Street Near Caroline

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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.

View Down the Shore Bikeway at Erskine in Brooklyn

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Yesterday’s ride was a short one-down the hill to Penn Station on the Brompton for our ritzy train ride up to NYC. Best laid plans to ride across ALL THE BRIDGES were spoiled by a snowy deluge-this cat does not ride on ice- but today it was warm, sunny, and breezy, just perfect for a ride. I wrote down directions from Crown Heights to Jamaica Bay so I could see water, and off I went. My map took me out Eastern Parkway on its busy bike/ped path where you can see the segregated neighborhoods switch over by who is sitting on the benches to a right onto Rockaway’s buffered bike lane filled with glass and double parked cars, and then through the scrap metal district leading to that Brooklyn that looks like Queens to me, all single-family homes with awkward awnings and the lattice work that looks like it’s done with bed poles-you know what I mean if you’ve seen it. I dodged some hairy traffic back on Rockaway, but then I was on the bike/ped path that hugs the shore of Jamaica Bay, and oh, it was smooth sailing. It is still obvious that Hurricane Sandy was here, and much of the ride was sandwiched between the KEEP OUT signs of rebuilding and the cars speeding by on the Belt Expressway. I pedaled out until the path disappeared, got lost in Queens due to my tendency to follow a bike lane no matter what, and then I was 12 miles out, taking a break, performing a quick shifter repair, saying my good mornings to this particular set of dogs, and wondering when they’ll rebuild all the tiny piers outside the homes at 165th Ave. and 99th Street. The ride home was into the wind but worth it as I retraced my steps, and this spot, at least, was downhill. Pedaling along under the NYC sun, yep, I am pretty lucky. Lesson learned again: it is always worth it to take your bike along if you can.

Her Fantastic Cats Performing at Bearings Bicycle Project at Greenmount & 26th

Her Fantastic Cats Performing at Bearings Bicycle Project on Greenmount & 26thI woke up early on Saturday and decided right away to do absolutely no work-related tasks that day. No emails, no grading, no reading or writing, nothing. I needed a good day off, and I took it. I lazed about for a bit and then layered up for a ride down the hill and around the harbor to meet J. and her parents at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Oh, it felt so good to be flying down the hill on empty streets, the morning fog still hanging on everything taller than a row house. It was quiet and still, and I wondered to myself, how do people who don’t ride bikes or walk around know where they are, like really know? Outside of a car you have no choice but to pay attention. But anyway. Continue reading

Blue Tarp on the Fence at the Grand Prix Route at South & Pratt

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Today’s ride took me on the silent streets of downtown Baltimore, emptied because everyone’s avoiding downtown, or because nobody can get east of Light, but for whatever reason, perfect for this bicyclist. I wanted to grab a quick view of the cars racing in the streets, but alas, this blue tarp meant no peeksies for me. The bike/ped path was closed off to all but ticket holders, few and far between, this mid-morning anyway. The whole thing is a boondoggle, and thank goodness it’s almost over.  We need our streets, sidewalks, and bike paths back from this particular tourist parasite. I pedaled back toward Harbor East, did a quick spin through the gym, and then back up the hill on still-empty streets, the one nice side effect of the Grand Prix on this side of the racetrack.

Waiting for the Water Taxi at Canton Waterfront Park

Today’s ride took me down the hill to Harbor East for a stop at the gym. I went swimming wearing my new goggles that came with vision correction. They aren’t my prescription, but wow, they made a huge difference, and I could see underwater for the first time in my memory. It was fantastic and magical and I just loved it. Now I if I can just teach myself how to swim properly… Continue reading