Demolished Building at E. Preston & N. Washington

Demolished Building at E. Preston & N. WashingtonI spent my Saturday standing on the corner of 33rd and Ellerslie up in Waverly, bike leaning against a street sign, cheering on the gazillion runners taking part in the Baltimore Running Festival. My sister’s running the NYC marathon at the end of the month, and watching her train and knowing her story, well, I know that every single one of the runners passing by me that day had a story, too. I’m pretty much a marshmallow, so that thought had me choking back tears as I clapped and wooted for a good two hours before finally tearing myself away for a much-needed bike ride. Continue reading

Baltimore Cemetery Against Blue Skies at Belair Road & North Ave.

20140907_163321Sunday was just perfect. The temperature dropped from 93 to 78 degrees, and the humidity fell with it. I got my work and chores done early and had nowhere to be, and finally got a bike ride in that wasn’t driven largely by the place I had to be. I had something to return to a store that has an outlet in Canton, so I pedaled off with a vague plan to head southwest, and that’s what I did, joining the traffic on Harford Road before taking right after right after right on my way downtown. I managed to turn on streets I’m not sure I’d been on before, and I watched as the blocks turned from rows of matching brick to vacant flat-faced row houses to that series of car washes on the blocks in Middle East. Continue reading

Looking East Past a Blighted Factory at West Lafayette & Spedden

Looking East Past a Blighted Factory at West Lafayette & SpeddenFinally, a dry day without ice on the roads, plenty of sunshine, nowhere to be, and no cold or flu dogging me! Oh, it was good to be back on the bike. It took about two minutes flying down the hill on Maryland Avenue to get that smile on my face I get when I feel at home and most myself–when I’m on my bike headed nowhere in particular. After a brief stop to pick up this week’s coffee I decided to go left instead of right and was quickly tracing new streets in West Baltimore. Continue reading

Construction on the Clifton Mansion in Clifton Park on St. Lo Drive

Construction on the Clifton Mansion in Clifton Park on St. Lo DriveWednesday’s windy bike ride took me up the hill and over to Clifton Park to check out progress on the Clifton Mansion, currently receiving a $7 million face lift. It was originally built as a farmhouse by a merchant who also captained an artillery during the War of 1812 and then converted into an Italianate mansion by Johns Hopkins, who used it as his summer home–if he’d ridden a bicycle, he totally could have moved his summer home farther out, just saying. Continue reading

Plants Taking Over a Blighted Building at E. Oliver & N. Durham

Plants Taking Over a Blighted Building at E. Oliver & N. DurhamThursday’s ride was one of those rides where you pedal around trying to get out of the post-first-day-of-school funk that always follows the heavy excitement of day one. I rode up the hill, ate a sandwich, and then rode down the hill, not sure of my destination. I decided to see if Pratt Street was closed for that boondoggle known as the Baltimore Grand Prix (thinking about the waste of resources makes me apoplectic–don’t get me started). I hate the thing, but if the road was closed to cars, maybe I could sneak in a bike race. No such luck, so I headed east, eventually ending up in Canton for some frozen yogurt and an hour of watching dogs tug around their owners. Continue reading

Gray Skies and a Blighted Building at Lloyd & Granby

Gray Skies and a Blighted Building at Lloyd & GranbyToday’s ride took me back down to BronyCon where I spent my day talking to people about why they’re Bronies (new friends, great show), whether girls are Bronies or Pegasisters (a more complicated debate than I expected), and who their favorite ponies are (Rainbow Dash comes up a lot). And then I got back on the bike and headed to the Patterson Park pool for my volunteer shift staring at t-shirt tags to find the smalls everyone wanted (or the extra larges–not a lot of in-between sizes at the water ballet today). Continue reading

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.