Flower Trees at E. Monument & Fallsway

Picture of a bunch of trees flowering with white puffy blooms against a blue sky etched with clouds.

It’s flower tree season in Baltimore, and because I don’t have allergies, it is my favorite season. I have lived here long enough to have my favorite spots–the pink ones that always seem to bloom first in front of the University of Maryland School of Nursing; the puffy white trees in front of the old phone company building that is now apartments on 31st and Guilford; the tunnel of pink ones that make the ride up Charles or Guilford spring magic. And then there’s this bunch of trees, right where Fallsway and E. Monument Street meet.

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Looking Out Over the Water at Fort McHenry

A cloudy gray sky is the backdrop to calm blue-gray waters. There's a barge floating in the middle of the picture. The foreground is asphalt and a bit of grass.

I am easily sold things. If there’s a membership, I’ll probably join, and I’m currently earning points in so many “rewards” programs I can’t believe there’s anywhere left to sell my personal information. I spend a lot of time scrolling through different social media platforms, and I am absolutely cognizant of how many ads I’m seeing, that I am the profit generator for the platform, and that no matter my critical thinking skills, the press of resisting advertising all day every day is rough, especially for me, a person prone to be upsold.

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Peeking Over the Fence at Rash Field at William & Key Highway

A construction site with lots of gravel, dirt, holes, and diggers. Tall buildings are in the background.

Tuesday was busy–lots of emails in the morning, teaching in the morning and afternoon, and then meetings. It was good to see students again, but if I’m being real, I mostly wanted to be outside. It was sunny, 60 degrees, just perfect, and sitting inside at my computer felt like a waste of that perfect air. Fortunately, I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon and enough time to ride my bike there and back between tasks, so I got to hop on the Surly and head down the hill like the old days.

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Parking Lot and Prisons at Fallsway & E. Centre St.

Parking Lot & Prisons at Fallsway & E. Centre 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.

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Fences and Barbed Wire at Fallsway and Madison

20170712_151039-1 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.

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The Bar at the HandleBar Cafe on Caroline Between Fleet & Eastern

20170629_145154 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.

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Trash Under the Overpass at Eager & Fallsway

Trash Under the Overpass at Eager & FallswayI 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

Photographers Photographing a Little Girl and Police Officers at the Western District Baltimore Police Department

Photographers Photographing a Little Girl and Police Officers at the Western District Baltimore Police DepartmentSaturday 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.

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Surveillance Camera at Fallsway & East Madison

Surveillance Camera at Fallsway & East MadisonMonday’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

View to the West of Patterson Park From the Tiny Lake

View to the West of Patterson Park From the Tiny LakeAnd 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