I hadn’t ridden my bicycle in a couple of weeks, due to holiday travel and holiday sit-around-the-house reasons, but I finally got in a ride today, and wow, I instantly felt so much more like myself than I have in some days. It was a beautiful day, finally sunny, blue skies peeking out more and more as the day went on. I rolled down the hill, made a quick stop at my gym to earn the 100 bonus points you get for checking in to the gym nine times in a month (a very on-brand choice, if you know me in real life), and then down to Harbor East to meet my work wife for lunch.
Wednesday’s ride took me down the hill really early so I could hop the 7am bus out to campus. It was my turn to send Greetings From the Faculty at new student orientation, and when you don’t have a car, that means you’ve got to leave your house at 6:45 am to get there on time. That early it’s still a little bit cool out, and it was a pleasant roll down Guilford with the early bird cars and buses, until I got downtown. There’s just no way around the unpleasantness that is gridlock in a downtown core, but until we agree to move work all over so we don’t all have to pass through here to get where we’re going, we’re stuck with it.
The heat’s turned back on in Baltimore, which made me all the happier to end my bike ride in Canton for another session in the cryotherapy chamber. The ride down was easy breezy now that I knew where I was going and didn’t have to check my phone for directions. I headed down Guilford, veered left for the protected cycletrack along Fallsway, walked my bike as instructed to the sidewalk just past Fayette before pedaling south and east and south and east until making a couple of wrong turns and ending up at my new favorite summer spot for freezing myself. I was all flush with that feeling of gratitude that I can ride a bicycle–it really is the very best.
I haven’t been riding my bicycle much in the last few weeks. I don’t like to start a ride in the rain and I never ride on snow or ice, and that means weather has kept me bus-bound for awhile. I’ve been on my bike every chance I get, but sadly, the chances have been rare. I miss the ease of riding and the control I have over my time that comes with ice-free roads. My mood is better, my wait times are shorter, and I feel free in a way I just don’t when I have to depend on an undependable transit system. Continue reading
Saturday was a most excellent day to be on a bicycle. That’s hardly the point, but it’s just true: when there are multiple protests and rallies going on around the city, plus the rest of things to do on a weekend, a bike is the best way to move quickly and easily, especially as cops and cars start blocking entrances and exits. I thought about this, about how car culture makes protest culture that much harder because we become so easily immobilized, as I inhaled a stack of blueberry pancakes at the diner on the corner before biking over to Sandtown-Winchester for the first gathering of the day to remember Freddie Gray, killed by Baltimore City cops almost two weeks prior.
Monday’s ride took me down the hill and up the hill to Federal Hill for another trip to a yoga class. Wow, it’s not easy, this yoga thing, and I felt burnt afterward. I tried to remind myself that yes, like any other new thing, it’s hard. Patience, patience! I was a bit frustrated, though, so I did what I do when I’m frustrated and kept riding my bike. I headed over to Locust Point to drown my sorrows in sandwich. The ride home brought its own frustrations, the ones that come with riding a bike in the city. I’ve had city riding on my mind lately after hearing of a terrible bike death in New Orleans last week. Continue reading
And sometimes you take three days off of bicycling because your dear sister is in town, and she’s a runner, so you happily walk and take the bus and hope N. will pick you both up and drive you around town. Today, though, what I really needed was to get back on the bike. I didn’t get a chance to ride around until the evening, when I hopped on the bike and headed down to Mount Vernon for a meeting. In a shocking turn of events, especially for a Monday, the meeting ran short, so I had plenty of time to ride around town. I headed down to the main post office because I’ve never been inside that behemoth of Brutalist architecture, plus also I wanted to put a letter in the mail. Continue reading
Monday’s ride took me down the hill–big surprise–and around the Inner Harbor, where I got to use the best of my outside voice to remind pedestrians and Segway drivers (riders?) to Share the Path. I complain a lot about the lack of easy bicycling around the harbor, but I recently tried walking it. The pedestrians are right–the shared path is the only good way around the construction in front of the World Trade Center, and once on a path, hardly anybody gets off it to follow a different one, even once the obstacles are gone. An easy pedal up to Federal Hill for some work with the co-workers, and then I headed home, same outside-voice around the harbor, a left on President to enjoy the worst bike lane in the city on my way to the best one–the Fallsway cycletrack. Continue reading
Today’s ride took me down the hill for waffles and bacon with my grading and then down and over to Little Italy for a trip to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (can y’all put in a bike rack, please?) to check out their new exhibit on art inspired by Harriet Tubman. Tubman was from Maryland, and it was in Maryland that she was held in slavery, beaten, abused, but like it does with Frederick Douglass, Maryland claims her proudly, as if the state had the right to brag about her 150 years on after what they’ve done, as if honor is the same as reparations. But this exhibit wasn’t about that. Continue reading
I finally had time today for a slightly longer ride, and oh it felt good to be on the Surly, clipped in, and just pedaling. I headed down the hill, took a left, and zipped through Fells Point and over to Canton for a swim, and it all just felt like the right kind of home. I stopped on my way back to snap this picture at Canton Waterfront Park. It’s a familiar view at this point, the naval ships and industrial parks and rising condos and all the ugliness behind those things, but today it was all water and sky and Baltimore just felt beautiful. I made a quick stop for eggs and toast before snaking my way to Gough Street and the ride to Little Italy, back through Jonestown and up the Fallsway to home. Oh yes, that’s better.