Bike Tangle at 32nd & St. Paul

Bike Tangle at 32nd & St. PaulTuesday’s ride was a tough one, straight up the hill and then down another and up one more on my way to an appointment in Mount Washington, winner of my Least Bike Accessible Neighborhood in Baltimore award. Then again, I got there, so I guess the least accessible is fairly accessible after all, but don’t forget your water. The ride home’s much easier, once that damn Lake Avenue is climbed. Thank you, gears, and thank you, self, for not being too stubborn to ride slowly enough the get passed by pedestrians. On the way back, the hill levels out right around Boys Latin School, with its sprawling campus and impressive tree canopy and bridge over the street so these high schoolers can make their way around the campus that looks more like a small college than a high school. “Living the Laker Legacy,” their signs say. Continue reading

Small Bench at the End of Kirkey Court in South St. Louis

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35 degrees is a whole lot warmer than 25 degrees, so I took advantage of the Christmas Day heatwave for a bike ride around South St. Louis County while the family all took the afternoon naps you have to take when there’s a Christmas morning with an almost-6 year old and an almost-4 year old in the house. I took a left and then every right I could until the No Outlets pushed me left and across the main drag to explore the other side’s subdivisions. It was quiet with few cars and just the occasional kid throwing a holiday football or a grown up taking out the trash (Americans generate something like 68% more trash in Christmas week than a regular week). I said my how-you-doin’s, but this isn’t the same kind of south, so I mostly got the cold shoulder, except for the one lady working ahead of the game and taking down her garland: “Did you get that bike for Christmas?” Good guess, lady, but nope, just out for my Christmas bike ride! Pedal, pedal, pedal, every street looked the same, every cul de sac the same three or five house curve. I snapped this picture in the Kirkey one and wondered if anyone ever sits on this tiny bench, and what would they think if they came out of their house and some stranger was sitting there. I wonder if this is just for show. I popped out at one of this regions many finer strip malls, sat in front of the closed Starbucks in a chair that wasn’t even locked down (we’re not in Baltimore anymore!), and made a phone call while waving away the many folks who hoped to get a cup of coffee out of the house only to be thwarted by holiday closings. Wanting to escape family seems to be a universal response to seeing family, no matter how much we love them. And then I rode home, snaking around one development after another, learning the hard uphill-ride lesson that the developments won’t let you cross over–if you don’t live in Assumption Hills or whatever, you are just going to have the hard pedal up the long hill to get out and take a left again. It took awhile, but I found the house that was full of my set of sleeping grown ups and faking-it kiddos and settled in for more screen-staring, together. Best Christmas ever!

Tin Cowboy and Bikes at Allways on St. Claude

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I spent it tooling around on the bike running teensy errands and finding pleasant places to grade a few papers. It got cold by the end of the evening, and I suddenly realized I was not dressed appropriately to comfortably ride home. Whatever–we’re on holiday! Continue reading

Christmas Palm at Chestnut and Delachaise

Christmas Palm It is Christmas time in New Orleans, and everywhere else.  I haven’t really felt much in the holiday mood lately.  This is only my second Christmas here, and I’m just not used to the near-80 degree temps in December, though I enjoy them.  Continue reading