Dancers at Federal & Calvert


I spent this most delightful first fall Sunday working on a big project due on Monday and thinking about the exceedingly lovely weekend I had. Oh, and how much I needed a bike ride. So I finished up a draft of the thing in front of the Ravens game, and then it was time to get on the bike for a ride. I headed down the hill to see if I could luck into an Akimbo performance before going somewhere south and east. A volunteer handed me a map, and I snaked my way around to the park at Federal and Calvert to catch the Effervescent Dance Collective. Their performance was delayed by a sea shanty singing quartet that is probably funny if we’re all friends and we’ve had a few (in which case I have no doubt they are amazing), and I wondered about the location of the dancing. And then they danced, and I couldn’t stop smiling, thinking about how clever they were, how free and happy they helped us feel–like when Lily matched her breath to the beat of being pulled up from the water, a sly look–oh, it was so good. I thanked them after–“You just made me so happy inside, thank you”–and then it was back on the bike. I passed a tent on the sidewalk across from the city fueling station on Fallsway. I wondered about why the tent owner’s reclaiming of public space will undoubtedly be criminalized, the home torn down, while the dancers will make me feel just so happy inside. Are we worried the tent is privatising our public space? But wouldn’t we want public space to be used by those with the need for it–I want that in case I need it at some point. Or have we gone so far with our love of private property that we can’t imagine a use that wouldn’t in some way declare ownership? I thought about those and other things on the rest of my ride, over to The Shops at Canton Crossing (it’s still just a Target), up through Brewer’s Hill and down through Highlandtown, up and over and up and over through so many neighborhoods with so many people loving this cooler still-sunny weather. Ravens win!

Ivy Covered Ivy in Herring Run Park Near Belair Road & Parkside Drive

Ivy Covered Ivy in Herring Run Park Near Belair Road & Parkside DriveWednesday was my second anniversary in the fair city of Baltimore, Maryland, and I was in the mood to celebrate. How? By taking the bike out for a ride to see if we might get ourselves lost. It is amazing how quickly I can figure I can’t get lost anymore, and how quickly I can get lost again if I just take a slightly different turn. This day’s ride started with an easy pedal over to and around and around Lake Montebello, because for a minute I just wanted to ride without fear of cars, a song in my ears. I veered over toward Herring Run Park on the second lap, bouncing over the tree-rooted trail and along the water, surprised again that this is Baltimore and just a couple of miles from my house. I snapped this picture of layers of ivy covering over trees and bushes, everything growing all at once into a mass of lush green. Continue reading

Raised Beds and a Tiny Barn at Exeter Street Gardens in Jonestown

Raised Beds and a Tiny Barn at Exeter Street Gardens in JonestownI had plenty of time on Friday for a bike ride and that was exactly what I wanted. After another lazy morning lolling about I hopped on the bike and rode down to meet R. for girl talk and sandwiches at the cafe before riding over to East Baltimore to see what Patterson Park and Canton Crossing have been up to. It had been awhile since I’d pedaled that way–I have no idea what I’ve been doing instead, but it was really good to see what the neighborhood’s been up to. Continue reading

Brentwood Village Kid’s Zone at Chase & Forrest

Today’s ride took me down the hill to meet V. for a swim at the gym. I’m terrible at swimming, but I’m guessing that like most things, if I keep doing it, I’ll figure it out and get better at it, because my dad said that’s what practice does–it makes better. I meant to go to the grocery store and head home after, but then my bike just kept rolling east, through Fells Point, over past the new condo developments along the harbor near Canto (because gosh, we need more of those), and up through Canton on Fait Avenue. Continue reading

Litter Pooling in the Tiny Lake in Patterson Park

As the guy stopped next to me at the light on 25th & Guilford said, 15 degrees cooler makes it almost fun to ride our bikes again, and it did. I headed out to run an errand and then just kept riding, enjoying the feel of a regular summer day. I zipped down the hill and over through Little Italy and Fells Point, through Patterson Park and over through Canton to Brewer’s Hill for some iced tea with my writing. Continue reading

Row of Houses at Potomac & Fait


It was another scorching and humid day in Baltimore, and I spent most of it working and reading in front of the window ac unit and wondering if this is an unseasonable heat wave or if it’s just going to be this hot for the next five months. To be honest, I didn’t exactly feel like going out on a bike in this weather, but I best get used to it, or it will be a long summer off the bike and whining. (And yes, I know I bicycled daily through multiple New Orleans summers, but that doesn’t make this less hot. And yes, I know I grew up in Idaho, but I haven’t lived there in almost 20 years, and I still get cold in cold weather.) I took the Surly down the hill and against Beryl’s fingertips blowing hard on our way to Patterson Park, where the drinking fountain was out of order. Not cool, man. Then I biked around, panting, until I hit the shops at Brewer’s Hill, I think it is~the sandwich shop has mad air conditioning and unsweetened iced tea! After my break I headed home. Cloud cover was rolling in, and that made the ride back exceedingly more pleasant. I stopped at the stop sign at Potomac & Fait and snapped this picture of the same house after house after house; this block needs some serious tree action to stay reasonable during the summer. That house in the middle has built a deck on top~now we’re talking. I hope they can install one of those misting fans up there. Pedal, pedal, pedal, and then I was home. Sometimes a ride is all about the weather.

Baltimore Recycling Center at E. Biddle & Edison Hwy.

Sunday’s a work day for me, but once I got some stuff done I had time to go on a ride without a destination–my favorite. Today’s ride took me down the hill until I decided to take a left on Biddle to see where it would end. Whenever I ride off the very main-est of the main drags in this town (i.e. a street that doesn’t lead to the freeway) I’m struck again by just how many vacant properties are in this city. Just a couple miles on Biddle, if that, and I passed dozens, many on blocks with one or two really nice and well-kept houses, and I thought about what it could look like, if only, if only what. Continue reading

Pedestrian Underpass at Bank Street & Eastern Avenue


Today’s afternoon ride took me to Harbor East to catch a couple of closing exhibits at the Lewis Museum–Roberto Clemente was an awesome dude lost too soon, and there’s an important and often invisible history of African American/Native American relationships (though I think telling those histories is important for reasons beyond recognizing people’s identities, but that’s a different blog). The exhibits were of that new-fangled pop-up museum style, so hopefully they are travelling to a museum near you next. The day was unseasonably warm, so afterward I headed out for a ride with no plan; it had been far too long since I did that. I pedaled along, following the signs first to Patterson Park, where I watched a whole bunch of people feed a whole bunch of pigeons, and then toward Greektown by way of Highlandtown. I snapped this picture half way across the pedestrian underpass on Eastern Avenue. Now *this* is an underpass–spacious, covered in art, brightly-painted bridges above, carrying a train and framing yet another abandoned factory, but I’m guessing that just can’t be helped. I zipped through and around, did a quick turn on some Bayview side streets, and then headed back, hoping to be somewhere familiar by dusk. I passed through Brewer’s Hill, marvelled at the speed by which neighborhoods change and how a blighted warehouse district can become expensive lofts in virtually every city I have ever been in, stopped by Canton Waterfront Park for a photo of the sky on fire with sunset, and took myself to Fells Point for a cocktail and some fancy tapas to toast myself out of 2011, a day early. It has been a banner year for me, and I’m looking forward to my first bike ride of 2012, January 1. Oh, I do so like riding a bike around Baltimore.