It’s July, and there’s a heat wave, so honestly what I’m seeing on my bike rides this week is my own sweat in my eyeballs. It’s brutal, especially going uphill. I’d still rather ride my bike than bake at the bus stop, waiting for another bus that’s going to get trapped in the traffic nightmare that is a sinkhole at Howard and Pratt and street closures for Artscape. Seriously, a bicycle is always the best way to get around.
Monday’s ride was a short one, just up to Hampden to drop my sunglasses off for new lenses–they’ve been a prescription behind for over a year and are all scratched up. I can afford to get new lenses in my prescription sunglasses. I wonder how long I’ll have to make this comfortably middle class salary before I’ll just know that to be true and will just go ahead and get the glasses. Anyway, I then headed up through Hampden to pick up some miso paste at the fancy organic foods store (another thing I can afford but have gotten used to affording more quickly). I snapped this picture along 37th Street, I think it was, of a house being held up by stilts. Continue reading
Monday was my first bike ride since my dad was killed by a driver, and I was pretty nervous about it. Would I be extra skittish around cars? Would a giant hole of sadness open up inside me as I did the thing we both loved to do on the bicycle that he bought me and he knew was my home? Would the bent stem on my front wheel’s tube make it so hard to pump up that I’d just start crying frustration tears and not make it out the door? I gathered my things, pumped up my tires–the stem miraculously working fine for the first time since July (thanks, pops)–and headed out, layers and hats and gloves for protection. And it was fine.
Thursday’s ride took me through the thick air of our humid heat wave to Hampden to meet L. for lunch. We know each other on the internet, and we’ve got a lot in common, it seems, so we decided to finally go offline and actually prove that we are bodies in real life. Turns out we are, and we both like to eat at Golden West, which we did before splitting ways, him to his writing hovel and me to a bar to do some grading and sip on some pumpkin pie flavored sangria–grading makes a girl do outrageous things. Continue reading
I’ve only been on my bicycle a few times since my big trip through the Adirondacks. That’s partly because I was exhausted and my non-biking sister was in town, and then because I was out of town at a family wedding, getting chauffeured around like the girlfriend of the sister of the bride. And now I’m back in Baltimore, settling in for a long late summer and fall of no travel, and that means I’m back on my bike, because that’s how I get around this place. Continue reading
Thursday’s ride was a lazy one, up to Druid Hill Park for a few laps around the reservoir. Sometimes I just need a break from the constant car battle to just pedal and pedal, around and around, without all that thinking about how not to get hit by cars. I did a few laps and then headed up the trail toward the zoo and the rest of the trail. This park sits right between Hampden and Mondawmin, and those two neighborhoods are so, so different. Hampden is predominantly white, and has been since its mill days when the hiring rules were native-born whites only. Mondawmin, on the other hand, is predominantly African American, home to Douglass High School, which turned out graduates like Thurgood Marshall back when it was the segregated high school for Black students on the west side. Now it’s got its share of struggles, thanks in part to the way when white folks are asked to share, they just take all the balls and go home. Continue reading
Sunday’s ride took me up to Hampden for a late breakfast–I think they call it “brunch.” The ladyfriend came too, riding her sexy pale blue 1972 Miyata 10 speed bicycle. Oh, life is better when the people you love want to take their bikes, too! We locked up to some road signs in the neighborhood, put our names on the list, and settled in to wait. I watched as the easy flow of mostly-white folks wandered up and down our Avenue, a million miles away, it felt, from the Baltimore we’ve all been talking about. We saw a bunch of people we knew, shared our hellos and our stories, and ate well and did some window shopping before getting back on our bikes. Unreal privilege right here, I tell you. Unreal.