Eager Park at Wolfe & Chase

Eager Park at Wolfe & Chase The heat wave broke with a beautiful overcast day on Tuesday, and I was lucky enough to have places to be on my bike and the energy to ride. My first stop was at the dentist for a six month cleaning and check up. I am lucky enough to have dental insurance, even though it mostly covers nothing but these check ups, so I get them on the clock–I’m not one to leave money on the table. I missed one cleaning, during chemotherapy, because the Internet suggested I avoid it due to risk of infection. I told my oncologist this at the end of treatment, and he was like, yeah, ok, you didn’t really need to do that. When you live in the online support group world where everyone posts their nightmares, it’s easy to get swept up in it. But whatever–I’m back to the dentist, happily letting the father-daughter team at Dr. Shelton’s office have their way with my mouth. It’s a gift to get this care in a world where we’ve somehow decided eyes, mouths, and spirits aren’t work the same level of care as the rest of us.

That ride took me through Waverly and out Ellerslie to 33rd, anything to avoid a few blocks on 33rd. And then I took the lane and pedaled as fast as I could as cars whizzed by me, because two lanes headed in one direction with a median is a freeway to drivers. I pulled up on the sidewalk at The Alameda, locked up, and went in for what would be almost an hour’s wait. It’s so expensive in so many ways to access health care, and I’m intimately aware of the layers of luck that let me do that.

I left with clean teeth and a trip south and west again to the gym. I took The Alameda (I love the “The” part) to Saint Lo Drive through Clifton Park, a route I haven’t taken in a long time. The park is beautiful, though the asphalt isn’t. The rumblebumble strips to slow cars are great for slowing cars, I hope, but on a bike, it’s not awesome. I popped out at Sinclair, took a right, and a left on Wolfe and took that all the way south.

That single street ride, just two miles of it, is a tour of uneven development and displacement, and the racialized nature of those things. I snapped this picture at Chase Street, at the entrance to Eager Park, part of the new neighborhood, Eager Park. This was called Middle East when I moved to Baltimore not even ten years ago, but it’s been rebranded by the Hopkins development. Neighborhood names in Baltimore are largely real estate marketing tools, so it’s no surprise they’re at it again.

From the angle of this picture it’s a brand new shiny park, the green just coming in and promising much more as the years allow for new growth.

Turn around and look the other way and it’s this, a boarded-up church and an empty lot. The edges in this city are like this, all over. Boarded-Up Church at Wolfe & Chase





And then I continued my ride through Hopkins, across Orleans, and down through Upper Fells and Fells and west to Harbor East, entirely different worlds, all Baltimore City. It was a good day for a ride.

High Rise Under Construction at Eastern & Albemarle

High Rise Under Construction at Eastern & Albemarle 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.

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William Bennett Sculpture Behind Shot Tower at President & E. Fayette

William Bennett Sculpture Behind Shot Tower at President & E. FayetteI spent Thursday working on a grant application, asking for money to do a little something something with the artists I’m working with on a project that takes shape as it moves–my favorite kind. After getting a draft out to the co-conspirators I took the rest of the day off, hopping on the bike and heading down the hill to Harbor East to catch a movie. As I waited to cross Fayette from that tiny road between the church and the Brutalist postal office, one of the turning cars in the far lane stopped and waved me and a pedestrian across. I appreciate that kind of sharing, but as other cars backed up and started honking, I let it get to me and got off the road altogether, walking my bike across the cobblestones surrounding Shot Tower. Continue reading

Leaking Water at 36th & Falls Road

Leaking Water at 36th & FallsThe rain stopped today, so I stayed dry on my ride up to Hampden to meet N. for beer, fried things, and some football. We got there early to grab seats, and we waited for the sports bar–a place covered in televisions and filled with purple jerseys–to turn up the sound. A guy asked if they’d turn on the sound, and the server asked, “Which game?” I think this might be a sports bar opened by hipsters who don’t actually watch sports, but once we were all sorted, we were set. Continue reading

Fan at the Top of the Stairs Crossing President at Fayette

Fan at the Top of the Stairs Crossing President at FayetteIt was another surprisingly cool and totally perfect late summer day (I can’t say “fall” yet–too real), so after a lazy morning I hopped on the bike and headed down the hill to Little Italy to take in a second day of fried dough–I mean the Feast of St. Gabriel. I’d been down the day before with N. and R. in a car, if you can believe that. Guess what? Way easier on the bike, though having those two to share the fried dough was a wise move. I locked up to a street sign next to the heavy police presence called for at events like this, apparently. I got my fried dough, ate it too quickly over Bingo, and slugged down their specialty cocktail, my blood finally running at full-sugar. That didn’t stop me from eating some of N.’s candy at the movie, however. Continue reading

Jackson & Lee Monument Inscription at Art Museum Drive and Wyman Park Drive

Jackson & Lee Monument Inscription at Art Museum Drive and Wyman Park DriveR. and O. asked if we might all get on our bikes and ride around town a bit to look at different monuments and talk about what they do, and would I mind coming up with a route? It’s like these two climbed inside my head and found exactly what I wanted to do and then asked me to do it, I swear. Our ride was today, so I woke up early, made a list of a few different routes (Patterson Park or Federal Hill? Druid Hill Park or Fort McHenry? Pennsylvania Avenue or Mount Vernon?), and then rode over to the Jackson-Lee monument to meet up and discuss our options. Continue reading

Share the Path Blaze on the Inner Harbor Path In Front of the Aquarium


Today was positively beautiful and just right for a long bike ride, but I spent most of the day inside, helping judge for Maryland History Day before falling asleep for a once-in-a-blue-moon afternoon nap, which clearly I needed. Fortunately, the days just keep on getting longer, so there was still plenty of time to sneak in a ride, which I did, down the hill to Harbor East to pick up a pair of padded bike shorts. Yep, it is time, methinks, to acknowledge that tomorrow’s 80 mile training ride just might be better made in gear rather than the ol’ skirt and a tank top get up I’m used to. And then I was riding around the Inner Harbor toward Federal Hill to A.’s house for a party. Good weather means a whole lot more people using the shared path, and pedestrians seem largely oblivious to the idea that bikes might be there too. I used my super-outside voice to gently encourage groups to make way for ducklings, but to no avail. The same problem plagued my ride back, even as the crowd had largely dispersed. I stopped to snap this picture of one attempt at a solution–a reminder painted on the road to encourage sharing. These were put there by Bike Blaze Guy who takes matters into his own hands when it comes to marking our trails for ease and safety. I have seen him at work–he doesn’t appear to ask for permission, but instead just dresses the part with his safety vests, brings his safety cones, and goes to work. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here’s hoping some pedestrians look alive, or it is going to be an awfully long summer.

Yellow Flowers Along a Fence on 31st Between Old York Road & Frisby

Yellow Flowers Along a Fence on 31st Between Old York Road & FrisbyI meant to take the bike out earlier today, but I got wrapped up in work and then I heard about the sadness in Boston, and it took awhile for me to drag myself off the couch and pull my eyes off the screens that had nothing to say but kept saying something. And then I did, and I flew down the hill on my bike, because what else are you going to do? A quick swim, some food and compulsive screen watching, and I was riding back up the hill for a quick stop at J.’s in Waverly before heading in for the night. I snapped this picture of early spring’s bright yellow flowers. I’m not sure what they’re called; to me they are the cat’s claw of the mid-Atlantic, and oh so pretty. It’s only my second spring here, and already these are the flowers I’m waiting for. We really do live in some beautiful places, even when it’s not always pretty.

Pierce’s Park on Pier Five at the Inner Harbor

Pierce's Park on Pier Five at the Inner HarborAnd some days you are pretty much just going through the motions, but fortunately, going through the motions for me means I get to ride my bike, which I did, down to Harbor East for a quick swim and then over to the Inner Harbor piers for lunch. I walked my bike to lunch so I could give my legs a different stretch, and I heard what sounded like a xylophone coming from over there. It’s Pierce’s Park, and it was all wavy lines and dulcet tones and children running around and climbing things like they do at every park. It was seriously a class act. Continue reading

Mural on a Building at Guilford & Lanvale

Mural at Guilford & LanvaleIt was cold and rainy yesterday and dark and cloudy this morning, but by the time I got on the Surly the sun was out, the sky was blue, and it felt like springtime. I zoomed down the hill and around the side of downtown Baltimore for a quick swim in the pool before heading the other way and up to Locust Point for some treats. It had been almost a week since I did this typical ride and it felt like home, the same row houses and red lights and intersections where cars tend to just run right on through the crosswalks so you have to be extra careful, even when you’ve got the green. It’s nice to get to know a place, but it’s also nice to just know one, and Baltimore’s a good one. Continue reading