Celebrate Black Lives Sign in Patterson Park Along Eastern Avenue Near Lakewood

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking down lately. Classes started last week, and I have been busily prepping classes and fretting about prepping classes. If you live on social media, which I do, you’d think a semester of remote learning for college students was the end of the world, especially for professors. For me, it’s just what we’ve got to do for public health, and let’s all do our best to make the best of it. Look around, read the room: it’s fine. (Except when it’s not–access issues have never felt more urgent, but that’s another blog post.) That doesn’t mean I wasn’t wringing my hands the last couple weeks, but now that the semester is underway, I’m just trying to get in a rhythm and swing of things.

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Buildings Slated for Demolition at Ashland & Castle

This is not exactly breaking news, but it is incredibly hot and humid in Baltimore right now. It has been this way forever, it feels like, but for at least the past six weeks. There’s just no break in it, and I hate it. Being outside is what keeps me from utter despair, and sometimes the weather is just so despairingly hot. Alas.

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Black Lives Matter Painted on Linwood Avenue

Saturday was the perfect day for a long bike ride around Baltimore. The heat dome lifted just enough to make it feel like it might be ok out there, so I slathered on the sunscreen, filled up the big water bottle, and headed south, no real plan in mind. I decided to head east, and made my turn on the Biddle Street bike lane. This one’s not protected, and parts of it put you in a ditch, but hey, it’s something.

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Church Parking Lot at Chester & Gay

I took my bicycle to DC last weekend. I used public transportation to get there and back, and while riding around DC, I ate lunch at a restaurant, sitting outside, pulling my mask down just for bites. It felt like being a tourist at the end of the world. The place was empty, except for the gloriously alive Black Lives Matter Plaza by the White House and the streams of local runners making their pretty much everywhere. I don’t know how they do it in the middle of the day, but there you go.

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Cars Parked in the Bike Lane at Monument & Mello Court

Cars Parked in the Bike Lane at Monument & Mello Court

I finally had something to do and somewhere to go, so I started Wednesday’s bike ride with a purpose. I had ordered a few running tops from my local running store, because I want my local running store to exist if this pandemic ever ends, and they accidentally sent me an extra one. I emailed to ask if I could just return it, and they said yes. Baltimore City opened up curbside shopping at 9am on Wednesday, so I biked down to the shop in Fells Point for the hand off.

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Henderson Crossing on Ashland & N. Madeira

Sunday was hot, hot, hot, but I was in the mood for a bike ride to no particular destination, so I lathered on the sunscreen, filled up my water bottle, and headed down Barclay Street to see what would happen. The first thing that happened was getting soaked in my own sweat, but that’s just part of the deal, being outside in the summertime. At least I was creating my own breeze. I went south and then east, and then south and east again. I decided to see how far that new east/west protected bike lane goes. Yeah, it stops at Washington, which means it’s really for getting people to Hopkins, and that’s it. I hope the city extends it someday, because I wanted to keep going east, and there’s a lot of east left to go from there. The lane’s great if you live in the central part of the city and stop at Hopkins, but for the rest of us, it’s not enough.

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Ryan Homes Towns At Eager Park in Middle East, Baltimore

20160913_132701-1 I had a day with no deadlines on Tuesday, a rare one in the past month. That meant I got to spend my morning finishing up a task I’d been avoiding for a few weeks, and then I hopped on the bike and headed south and east to complete one of those tasks I am middle class enough to do: register for TSA Pre Check so I can be one of those people I have been sneering at for the past couple of years who bypass the serfs on their way to the front of the airport security line.

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View Above New Development Off Liberty Parkway in Dundalk

20160617_150700 It was my birthday last Thursday, and I was a bit apprehensive about it, my first without my dad. Firsts are tricky, or so I’ve heard, so I didn’t make any big plans for the day in case what I wanted to do was sit in bed and cry. That’s not what I wanted to do, waking up in a celebratory mood instead. I decided to keep it going on Friday with another vacation day, this time for a bike ride. I set out without a real plan, except a vague desire to collect my free Birthday Burger at Red Robin down in Canton. I zig zagged my way there, got a burger that I ended up paying for–don’t worry, the free one’s on my card for later this week–and then decided on a whim to bike over to Dundalk. Getting there’s a bit of a pain–Holabird Avenue’s not exactly bike-friendly–but once you’re there it’s a dream of wide bike lanes and quiet streets. I made my way slowly over there and took the lane on Holabird to avoid that close-call feeling as cars imagine they can pass you even when they can’t. I went past the Amazon warehouse where all the magic happens, noted its ample bike parking and wondered if the company doesn’t have the clout to get a bike lane in front, and talked my way through the truck traffic before making my right on Dundalk Avenue.

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Vacant Homes at Lanvale & N. Patterson Park

Blight at Lanvale & N. Patterson ParkIt was another spring-like fall day in Baltimore on Tuesday, and I had a few spare hours in the afternoon for a bike ride. I left the house with vague plans for ice cream, but I took a left instead of a right at the intersection of the grocery store and hardware store, and ended up heading south and east on streets I’m not used to–the very best. Continue reading

View From Watersedge Park in Dundalk at Bullneck Road & Dundalk Avenue

View From Watersedge Park in Dundalk at Bullneck Road & Dundalk AvenueTuesday was one of those perfect early fall days that feels like late summer. I got up early and got my day’s tasks done, hit the gym with my favorite gym buddy, O., joined her for lunch on her sunny back porch, and then it was all me and my bike. I headed south and east and south and east, a quick stop for froyo at a place where I got myself a gift certificate a few months ago–planting a present for future me–and then kept heading south and east, under the freeway, a left and a right and then I was in Dundalk, riding its bike lane which is also a parking lane, but I’ll take what I can get. Continue reading