Industrial Pool on S. Haven Street Between Boston & O’Donnell

Industrial Pool on S. Haven Street Between Boston & O'DonnellTuesday was my birthday, and I spent it as I’ve spent most of the last 8 birthdays or so–riding my bike around. In New Orleans, I would try to follow the same route from year to year, a chance to check on what, if anything, had changed in the year since I’d last notched one. One thing they all had in common was the sweat, so much sweat. Summer in New Orleans is oppressive, like trying to breathe in swamp water. Continue reading

Community Gardens in “Eager Park” in Middle East at Durham & Chase

Community Gardens in "Eager Park" in Middle East at Durham & ChaseIt was a shockingly beautiful day, and I spent much of it on my bike, skirt waving and bare arms under a sunny sky. For the first time in a very, very long time I was on my bike with nowhere in particular to go. My first stop was in Station North for a long overdue lunch with R. We parted ways in the early afternoon, and I headed down the hill, taking the first left I could from Guilford past Mount Royal, on Biddle Street, to snake my way south and east, south and east to see the sights of east Baltimore on a perfect day. 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

Playground Equipment and a Closed School in East Baltimore

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Oh, I needed to get a little lost on Tuesday, have one of those rides where I’m not just transporting myself but getting myself settled in to the city, a reminder that I live in a place bigger than my *place*. So that’s what I did, snaking south and east and south and east until west again. I had two stops in mind–ice cream at the place where I had a coupon for free ice cream (did you know the first commercial ice creameries that made the treat available for mass consumption opened right here in Baltimore?) And Federal Hill, where I was on tap to hold a still-new baby so her mom could take a shower and shake out her arms. I never got totally lost, but I can’t tell you exactly where this school is, the one with the exterior in scrubbed shades of blue that suggest it’s going to get torn down but with the new playground equipment that says it’s here to stay. It was near Harford Road or Aisquith or one of those diagonal cuts through the city, which I know because I waited at the light with a construction truck driver who had waited for me to pull out into the street. We did the ol’ smile-and-nod and then I was on my way, past a park with a tree halfway fallen over, past rows and rows of vacant homes and stoopsitters and road construction crews and food trucks outside Johns Hopkins. And then I was on Baltimore Street watching the guys fill the pool and admiring the head start these community gardeners had gotten. I rode my circles until I was back on my old route from Canton to Fed Hill and back north to Charles Village, and I only wished I could have stayed lost just a little bit longer, because that’s how I know where I am.

Greenery at Patterson Park in East Baltimore

Greenery at Patterson Park in East BaltimoreFriday morning was so, so much rain, pouring out of the sky, waking up the cats, and actually necessitating the closing of two whole windows in order to keep the bed and the record player dry–we’ve got our priorities in line over here. I had the luxury of hibernating inside, so I did that until the rain stopped, the clouds cleared out, and it was all blue sky and clean air, our city given a good shower to rinse off our pretend summer from the previous week. Yep, time for a bike ride. I started up the hill for a lunch date with myself and then back down, the vague idea that I could maybe get an ice cream cone in Canton and still make it back to Harbor East for Godzilla–these are the hard choices of the first day of summer vacation. And then I remembered I am a member at the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture–why not stop on my way and see what’s new? Continue reading

US Coast and Geodetic Survey Benchmark Medallion on School 33 Art Center at Light & Birckhead

US Coast and Geodetic Survey Benchmark Medallion on School 33 Art Center at Light & BirckheadMonday was a day of appointments all over the city, which actually means a day of riding all over the city, if you are lucky enough to commute by bike. I started early, joining the morning traffic as I snaked my way south and east and south and east for an appointment at the eastern edge of Fleet Street. I skipped the usual route and got to ride through neighborhoods I normally don’t hit, including a bonus morning skip through the Old Town Mall, suddenly slated for redevelopment, thank goodness. I’m a suspicious li’l worry wart, though, so I should probably hold that thank goodness until we see what the city decides to subsidize there. Continue reading

Green Door on Luzerne at E. Baltimore

Green Door on Luzerne at E. BaltimoreAnd finally I was back on the bike after a weekend of moving N. from up the block down and up the stairs to my house, a couple days of freezing rain, and a long holiday weekend in New York with the sister. N. spent her day reorganizing the never-been-organized kitchen, and she gave me a list of things to get from the stores over at Canton Crossing with strict instructions to get myself lost on the way there. I didn’t get lost, but I did manage to figure out where Greenmount Avenue goes if you just follow it down–that desolate place called Old Town Mall. Continue reading

Folks Heading to the New Target at Canton Crossing at the East End of Boston Street

Folks Heading to the New Target at Canton Crossing at the East End of Boston StreetIt was a beautiful and empty (for me) Thursday, so I took advantage and enjoyed a ride all over town. I started with a pedal down the hill to meet K. for lunch, sitting outside on Charles Street, swapping stories about how dumb we were as undergraduates and why Baltimore is a siren song. She headed back to work and I headed over to my regular route down the hill, a stop at the museum to inquire as to the membership card that hasn’t come in the mail yet (it should be here any day now, they say) and then snaked my way east, just enjoying the free feeling of the wind up my skirt and easy roll of newly-inflated tires. Continue reading

The Courtyard of Johnston Elementary School at Chase & Ensor

The Courtyard of Johnston Elementary School at Chase & EnsorToday’s ride took me down the hill and to a rare right to pick up tickets for a party later this week, but the place was closed, so I decided that since I was down here already, I might as well ride my bike around a bit more. I headed east on Chase and decided to ride it out as far as it would go, even though at this point I know there’s no way around Edison Highway–I need one of those flying bicycles to get over it. Continue reading

Photographer Waiting at a Hole in the Fence at Light & Lee

Photographer at a Hole in the Fence at Light & LeeFriday’s ride took me quick-like-a-bunny-rabbit to as east on Fleet Street as I could go for a doctor’s appointment that took too long and then over to the Inner Harbor to see what the Grand Prix was doing so as to add evidence to my complaintapillaring about the thing and then around to Federal Hill for a massage–rough life, I know. Following the googleymap directions to the doc’s I rode past the building I saw on Thursday, and it looked different this time, when it was on the main drag heading south from when it was stumbled upon as I was coming out of being lost. Continue reading