Domino Sugar Factory on Key Hwy E.

A brick factory with steam coming out of several pipes from the roofs.

Wednesday was cool and cloudy, just as I like it, and I had a dentist appointment over in Federal Hill, so it was the perfect reason to ride downtown and afterwards, around Locust Point. I had a vague idea that maybe I could see the Ever Forward stuck in the mud from Fort McHenry, but alas, I’ve got to get out to Pasadena, MD to catch a glimpse. Next week, next week!

I might not have seen the #NeverForward, but it was a lovely day to be on my bike, listening to music on my lil bluetooth speaker the mother-in-law got me for Christmas, and spinning along on my newly-tuned up quiet-as-a-mouse bicycle. I did a turn around the water at Fort McHenry, felt satisfied at all the big ships I could see, muted my speaker as I spun by a guy deep in thought who I didn’t want to disturb, and then rode out of the park, up and down Fort Avenue, headed vaguely home.

I took the long way through Locust Point and around the Under Armour headquarters to ride past the Domino Sugar refinery. They were making sugar that day, and the air had that sweet burning smell. So much sugar, every grain part of such a long and complicated history, but today it was just the background to a ride. Where I put my attention is where my attention goes, thank you for the reminder.

And then it was around the water, ringing my bell as I passed so many people out for a spring stroll. The Inner Harbor is allegedly getting a face lift soon, or a total remodel, and it needs that, for sure. That said, people are down here enjoying the space in spite of the sad shuttered shops down here. And there are still places open–Hooters, the candy place, a space selling Baltimore-made and related stuff. There is life down here, and that was a good reminder. If you just look at Twitter you can forget that the internet just tells one set of stories that gets passed around. If you can, go outside and see for yourself.

I continued my ride around and up and over to home, grateful again for the weather and the bike and the reminders this city gives me, over and over again, to keep that attention bouncing. There’s so much to see.

Flower Trees at E. Monument & Fallsway

Picture of a bunch of trees flowering with white puffy blooms against a blue sky etched with clouds.

It’s flower tree season in Baltimore, and because I don’t have allergies, it is my favorite season. I have lived here long enough to have my favorite spots–the pink ones that always seem to bloom first in front of the University of Maryland School of Nursing; the puffy white trees in front of the old phone company building that is now apartments on 31st and Guilford; the tunnel of pink ones that make the ride up Charles or Guilford spring magic. And then there’s this bunch of trees, right where Fallsway and E. Monument Street meet.

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Empty Lot and Row Houses at W. Fairmount Avenue and S. Payson Street

Picture of an empty lot in the foreground with row houses in the background. The sky is bright blue and dotted with clouds. On the left is a street light with flags reading "Grace Medical Center" on one side and "CARE BRAVELY" on the other side.

It’s spring break, and Monday’s weather felt like it. I spent my morning reading in bed before hopping online to email students reminders to turn in work and answer some other work-related emails before heading to Mount Vernon for a panel discussion about Baltimore for UMBC’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. Ok, so far it’s not sounding like a break, but I knew an out-to-lunch-alone and a solo bike ride were on the other side of things, so even the work felt like a celebration.

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Looking South Toward Hopkins from Broadway East

Picture of a street that dead ends into  deteriorating row homes with a blue sky above it and Johns Hopkins Hospital in the background.

Friday as the last day of work before spring break, and boy howdy did I have spring breakitis that day! The weather was bananas–in the 70s, sun shining, just enough humidity to kick on the dehumidifier in the basement for the first time in months–and I was itching to get outside for a ride. And that’s exactly what I did, once the last of the must-do tasks were completed, meetings over, time for the break to start a bit early.

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Sunlight Over Eutaw & Centre Streets

Picture looking down the street at an intersection. The sun is coming up about midway from the horizon. The sky is streaked with clouds and new light, and there are leafless trees against it.

We went to Michigan for the weekend to see family and meet our new baby niece, and by the time we flew back on Sunday, the time had changed, the weather warmed up, and spring was here. This might still be false spring, yes, but I already feel safe leaving my gloves and lights at home for my work commute. And for now, it’s darker when I leave home in the mornings, which means a whole new kind of light as I pedal downtown to catch my bus out to work.

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Homing Pigeon Cages in Upton

Picture of a blue house for birds behind an old fence. There's a safety cone on top. In the foreground are brick steps leading to a brick landing.

The weather is all wrong these days. Ordinarily we get a warm day or two in February, like sweet cherries to tide us over until spring actually comes–which can be as late as May. But this February has been up and down in extremes I don’t remember. Wednesday’s extreme was 70 degrees and humid, 20 degrees above normal, and now on Thursday, it’s 30 degrees and ice is in the forecast. It is a rollercoaster.

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Blue Skies with Light Clouds Above North Montford & Preston Streets

Two weeks ago Tuesday I was heading out of my house to see a friend read poetry at the brewery just a few steps from my house. I was running late but feeling good, and I hopped quickly down the front steps of my house. I must have missed a step or something, because all of a sudden I was collapsed in a heap on my front sidewalk, unable to get up. I sprained my ankle, badly, but I didn’t know that in the moment. What I knew was that I was hurt, and I was scared, and I wasn’t sure what to do.

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Cloudy Skies Over the Reservoir at Druid Hill Park

Fence in the foreground, green trees behind it, and then mostly just a big old cloudy sky.

I didn’t feel like going for a bike ride on Sunday, but I knew I’d feel better in my body and mind if I did, so I did. I also couldn’t let a rare day below a zillion degrees go to waste. The heat is literally deadly for so many, and it’s figuratively deadly for me. At the end of a long bike ride on a normal July day in Baltimore leaves me feeling like somebody just sucked out my soul. A million percent worth it, but a day in the 70s? Thank you!

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Looking Out Over the Water from Canton Waterfront Park

Thursday afternoon found me out on my bike, no plans other than to be at the beer place by the light rail station at 4:30pm to meet my work wife for nachos. I headed down the hill to the Fallsway bike lane, then left to hook up with the Monument Street bike lane, and then up and down and over and down and through and into the Potomac Street bike lane. Remember when everyone was so mad about that bike lane? How embarrassing. Now it’s just there, filled with trash cans and cars, and, on this Thursday, me and my bike.

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Peeking Over the Fence at Rash Field at William & Key Highway

A construction site with lots of gravel, dirt, holes, and diggers. Tall buildings are in the background.

Tuesday was busy–lots of emails in the morning, teaching in the morning and afternoon, and then meetings. It was good to see students again, but if I’m being real, I mostly wanted to be outside. It was sunny, 60 degrees, just perfect, and sitting inside at my computer felt like a waste of that perfect air. Fortunately, I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon and enough time to ride my bike there and back between tasks, so I got to hop on the Surly and head down the hill like the old days.

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