Finally, I had an afternoon free enough to ride a bicycle around, so after work and talk and work, I took the Surly out for a ride. We went down the hill with traffic and then a left and a right and a left again to Fells Point and past all the new construction, gravel pits ringed by facade walls saved for history. A quck snack and I was off again, toward Patterson Park for loops with seemingly all the dogs and babies in Baltimore, plus soccer and softball and kickball leagues, all divided by age and race and income, it seemed. I headed east through Highlandtown and the dead end at Haven Street, which leades to all the really good stuff, like this, piles and piles of discarded metal bits and sheets, from what, I’m not sure, but cameras are watching, so don’t even think about it. I went under an underpass, no idea where I would shoot out, and rode around a development ringed by its own gravel pits, surprised to find the kickball demographic there. We had talked in my class that day about how places are temporary resolutions of struggle, and I wondered what will happen as that demographic hits up against the manufacturing corridor, and who will have to move where. I’m guessing the heavy metal that has been piling up since 1909 will be a hard limit, but you never know. And then I was in Greektown, found again. I pedaled back toward home on signed bike routes and a date for pizza with friends, happy to have been lost, if only for a short bit. Getting lost feels like home, and its good to be here.
Today’s afternoon ride took me to Harbor East to catch a couple of closing exhibits at the Lewis Museum–Roberto Clemente was an awesome dude lost too soon, and there’s an important and often invisible history of African American/Native American relationships (though I think telling those histories is important for reasons beyond recognizing people’s identities, but that’s a different blog). The exhibits were of that new-fangled pop-up museum style, so hopefully they are travelling to a museum near you next. The day was unseasonably warm, so afterward I headed out for a ride with no plan; it had been far too long since I did that. I pedaled along, following the signs first to Patterson Park, where I watched a whole bunch of people feed a whole bunch of pigeons, and then toward Greektown by way of Highlandtown. I snapped this picture half way across the pedestrian underpass on Eastern Avenue. Now *this* is an underpass–spacious, covered in art, brightly-painted bridges above, carrying a train and framing yet another abandoned factory, but I’m guessing that just can’t be helped. I zipped through and around, did a quick turn on some Bayview side streets, and then headed back, hoping to be somewhere familiar by dusk. I passed through Brewer’s Hill, marvelled at the speed by which neighborhoods change and how a blighted warehouse district can become expensive lofts in virtually every city I have ever been in, stopped by Canton Waterfront Park for a photo of the sky on fire with sunset, and took myself to Fells Point for a cocktail and some fancy tapas to toast myself out of 2011, a day early. It has been a banner year for me, and I’m looking forward to my first bike ride of 2012, January 1. Oh, I do so like riding a bike around Baltimore.