Painted Train at Hollins & Lipps

It has suddenly turned cold in Baltimore, so I bundled up a little extra as I took my bike out to ride to campus for an afternoon “party” with the Dean and some new colleagues. The fancy fleece jacket kept me warm, but the headwind was strong enough to keep me pedaling, even on the big downhills. Sigh. Fortunately, I was in a chipper mood, so pedal, pedal, pedal I did, and it felt good. I wonder if I’ll ever get over the pleasure of the rhythmic round-and-round of the bicycle–let’s hope not. The commute now feels like it comes in four parts: down the hill, taking a right/going west, the uphilly part, and Arbutus. I snapped this picture as I took the soft left onto Lipps from Hollins. I’m guessing that used to be a brick wall, and now it’s just the remnants of one, but the leftover bits do look like a train, which is what I think is painted on here. There are so many scenes like this all over town, helped along by the seemingly endless remainders that make up Baltimore City and its canvases. But this is a pretty face to paint on the block after block after block of crumbled, abandoned, blighted, burned, and decaying homes and businesses that make up that 9.2 miles ride. But really, sometimes, what are you going to do? Gotta put some beauty in here.

Graffiti at Washington & Gayoso

I wasn’t planning on going out tonight, but when M. asked if anyone was watching basketball games outside with beer, I jumped on board (and partly so I could go ride my bike in this beautiful spring weather). I took the Surly and headed over to the bar in Bayou St. John, and the pedaling felt so easy and smooth, just like I like it. Continue reading

Empty Lot at Magazine and Andrew Higgins

It was a beautifully sunny day in New Orleans, which meant it was hot, hot, hot, and I was almost instantly drenched in my own glisten after about a block. Yep, some good old fashioned summer bicycling! After an appointment and lunch and then another appointment I headed downtown to the gym, partly for the weights and partly for the air conditioning and cold showers. Continue reading

“Sorry We’re Corrupt” Sticker at Magazine and St. Andrew

Contrary to popular belief, I do own a car, and for some strange reason, I was in the mood to drive yesterday. I did, and sheesh, it’s different to drive. I got everywhere so fast and dry! I even went to the suburbs, to the mall. I passed a couple of friends as I sped down Rampart. I beeped the horn, waved, and and wondered if they’d wonder what I was doing in a car. But enough about What I Saw Driving A Car Around Yesterday. Today I was back on the bike, to work and back and then to dinner with B. and back. We took a short walk around afterward, and I noticed this sticker on a fire hydrant on Magazine and St. Andrew (I think). I kind of love it. I could wonder who it’s referring to–the NOPD? BP? IMF?  WTO? HBO?–but mostly what I thought about as I passed it tonight on my walk back to the bike was how things look really, really different depending on your mode of transportation. And, as B. said tonight, sometimes you’ve just got to walk.

Graffiti on a Fence at Milan and Camp

I had a most lovely day today, picking blueberries and swimming in the Bouie river under a crazy bright sun. No, I didn’t ride my bike there. But next time I visit, I am most definitely bringing the Surly for a ride on the Longleaf Trace, blueberry smoothie to follow. When I got back to town I immediately jumped on the bike and headed to a presentation at the local bookstore of a great new book about a 19th century bike randonneur. Continue reading

Train and Graffiti at Chartres and Lesseps

I woke up this morning hoping the rain would stay at bay for just one afternoon so I could get a real ride in. I wrote my daily words by 10am, stopped by the bike shoppe for cleats for my new bike sandals, and headed to class. The thunder started, but no rain. Until, of course, I was heading home. I managed to avoid a downpour until I headed back out to meet friends for lunch. Continue reading

One More To Go Graffiti on Burgundy Near Conti

You’ll have to pardon the next zillion blog entries. All will begin with a report on how truly fantastically beautiful the weather is for bike riding down here. Today, for example, it was just so lovely out–70s, blue sky, light breeze, and then a cool evening. I took the Surly down to the Marigny to meet B. for coffee and grading and then rode over to the gym for some weight training and snoozing in the steam room, because it’s spring break. Continue reading