Buildings Slated for Demolition at Ashland & Castle

This is not exactly breaking news, but it is incredibly hot and humid in Baltimore right now. It has been this way forever, it feels like, but for at least the past six weeks. There’s just no break in it, and I hate it. Being outside is what keeps me from utter despair, and sometimes the weather is just so despairingly hot. Alas.

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The Marley Station Mall Parking Lot from the B&A Trail

I have been riding my touring bike for over a decade, and what my rides look like have changed in that time, because I have changed. It has always been my daily commuter from day one, because I love traveling by bike, and I hate parking cars. Seven years ago I used it to train for and ride my first century ride, and five years ago I used it as it is meant to be used–for a self contained tour of the Adirondacks. I asked my dad how to train for that tour. He told me to go on longer and longer rides, and then go on the two week tour, because the best way to get in shape for bike touring is bike touring. He was right.

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Black Lives Matter Painted on Linwood Avenue

Saturday was the perfect day for a long bike ride around Baltimore. The heat dome lifted just enough to make it feel like it might be ok out there, so I slathered on the sunscreen, filled up the big water bottle, and headed south, no real plan in mind. I decided to head east, and made my turn on the Biddle Street bike lane. This one’s not protected, and parts of it put you in a ditch, but hey, it’s something.

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Blue Water and Skies from Fort McHenry

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s incredibly hot out. It might be a global pandemic and a revolution, but everybody’s still happy to also talk about how it’s hot out. In Baltimore this past weekend should have been Artscape, the biggest free arts festival in the country, but it was cancelled, of course. Artscape is always on the hottest weekend of the year, and this year was no exception. (PS This week in July is statistically the hottest every year, so it’s not just Artscape that makes it so hot, but clearly it’s mostly Artscape.)

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Sign on Homewood Friends Meeting House on Charles Between 31st & 32nd Streets

I had a short run on my calendar this morning, just two miles. I haven’t run just two miles in six weeks, and I have to admit it was a relief to be looking at such a short run at the end of this hot week that’s going to get even hotter. I headed out by 9am, but it was already 80 degrees and 80% humidity. I zigged and zagged to stay in the shade as much as possible, and I was cruising. I’m a slow runner, so hitting my first mile less than 12 minutes in and I felt like an Olympic champion!

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Old Carnegie Building Being Demolished On the Hopkins Campus at San Martin Drive & University Pkwy

One thing that makes Baltimore so different from New Orleans is that here in Baltimore, for much of the summer it cools off enough at night to make a difference, and sometimes, on summer mornings, it’s actually nice outside. That hasn’t felt true for the past couple of weeks, but Monday at 8:30am it was only 73 degrees and the humidity was only 80%. I was so excited to experience a run in tolerable conditions that I headed out for my weekend long run (four miles, week one of round two of half marathon training, for those following along at home) on a Monday.

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Block of Homes on West Mulberry Street at North Gilmor Street

I wasn’t really feeling a bike ride yesterday, but I knew I’d feel better and sleep better if I got outside, even though it was a gazillion degrees and swampy out there. I was right. I headed down the hill and west and then up the hill again to Bolton Hill. I have some friends thinking about moving there, and I wanted to see how long it would take me to get there if they end up doing that. An important part of any moving calculus: how long will it take Kate to get there on her bike? For this one, about 17 minutes.

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Empty Plinth at Art Museum Drive & Wyman Park Drive

It is amazing to me how quickly I can fall into a routine. It helps me with my anxiety, having a sturdy plan that plays out day in, day out. When we went into quarantine back in March I had my days basically completely filled in a week, and they’ve largely stayed that way until last week when my schedule freed up with the end of summer teaching and formalized teacher training. I decided to take a week off of any kind of work, which was great, but I was back at the emails and meeting planning by 7am this fine Monday morning. I’m happy to be back at work.

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Church Parking Lot at Chester & Gay

I took my bicycle to DC last weekend. I used public transportation to get there and back, and while riding around DC, I ate lunch at a restaurant, sitting outside, pulling my mask down just for bites. It felt like being a tourist at the end of the world. The place was empty, except for the gloriously alive Black Lives Matter Plaza by the White House and the streams of local runners making their pretty much everywhere. I don’t know how they do it in the middle of the day, but there you go.

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Looking Down Greenway from Stratford Road

Tuesday was one of those surprisingly packed-with-work days that reminds me that a lot of academics don’t get “summers off,” as much as I wish it were so. The highlight, though, was guest teaching a class for a friend of mine about Baltimore history. I did a broad-sweeping story, all of it geared to understanding how this city, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, is constructed on a miles-deep firmament of white supremacy.

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