Nearly-Empty Chips and Dips Display at the Safeway at 25th & Charles

Nearly-Empty Chips and Dips Display at the Safeway at 25th & CharlesSunday’s ride was another in unseasonably warm weather (or maybe the cold has been unseasonable? I have no idea if seasonality still has meaning anymore), this time down to the Inner Harbor to meet N. for lunch before our trip to the Wedding Experience, Day 2. There were dresses and cake samples and lots of stares–which one’s the bride? (neither!)–and then it was time to walk back, her to her car, and me to my bike to meet again at the grocery. Walk+car was about equal to biking, but I’ll call myself the winner, because hey, I’m the one writing this. Anyway, a trip to the grocery store on Super Bowl Sunday is an excellent reminder of how many of us are doing the same thing at the same time, even if we’re not doing it together. Continue reading

Kids Collecting Autographs at Orioles FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center

Getting Autographs at Orioles FanFest at the Baltimore Convention CenterIt was downright warm out on Saturday, and after wasting half of it in bed with books and cats there was a flurry of activity as I got myself together to jump on the bike and head down the hill to see what was happening in our fair city. Oh, it was good to be on the Surly again! I am so much more myself when I get to pedal about town, and this ride was just what I needed. I took Maryland down and up and down and up and down again to the Convention Center, which was bustling with activity for middle class folks of various stripes: baseball fans, people into planning expensive weddings, and dance/cheer team enthusiasts. I had a ticket to precisely zero of these events, but hey, I’m part of The Public, and I’ve got the skin of somebody our society’s decided to trust, so I just walked in and around to see what folks were doing. Continue reading

Smoothie Bicycle at the Baltimore Convention Center

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I finished up a week of big projects on Thursday afternoon, leaving me the rest of the day to ride my bike around. I packed everything I figured I’d need through the evening and headed down the hill to the convention center to check out Natural Products Expo East, the largest showcase of natural products on the east coast (Expo West, in Anaheim, is even bigger). I locked up the bike to the bike rack shaped like a bike and headed to the press room where I squatted until they gave me a press pass. And then the expo. When they say “the largest” they mean really flipping huge. It was a giant smorgasboard of samples of things I didn’t know I wanted–potato chips made out of white beans, noodles made out of water and plant cellulose (“Zero points on Weight Watchers!), organic non-GMO gluten-free lube (ok, I made that up), and the list goes on and on and on. Oh, and there was this bicycle that can make smoothies while you pedal–no thanks, I’d rather go somewhere on my wheels. I was there for three hours and maybe saw a tenth of the place. I left with a bike bag filled with all kinds of natural goodies and headed back up the hill, a stop at MICA. For Ignite Baltimore, and then home, glad for a day of peeking behind a curtain I didn’t know existed.

Antlers For Sale at the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show at the Convention Center

Antlers For Sale at the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show at the Convention CenterThe last time I hung out at the Baltimore Convention Center I was an outsider, and I left with a massive sense of appreciation for this very small subculture that at its best seems built out of love and goodness. I thought I might be a bit less of an outsider at today’s convention; my mom’s an antiques dealer, and I have a visceral memory of sitting on the floor behind the folding tables at the antiques shows out at the Idaho State Fairgrounds. After a long morning reading this and that, I thought I’d test out my theory with a ride down to the harbor to check out opening day of the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show. Continue reading

Crowds Gathered For Otakon 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center on Pratt Street

Today’s ride started with a walk down to the bike shop to pick up the Surly–man, this bike looks good. She’s got a new chain, new derailleur cables, new rear brake pads, new bolts on her rear rack, a new fender strut, and he’s shifting, braking, and whooshing like a dream. I decided to head down the hill to check out Otakon 2012. Continue reading