Looking Out Over the Pier Near the Broening Park Boat Ramp

Monday was cool and gray, but the wind machines were turned down for the first, and I fear last, time for awhile–perfect day for a bike ride. I spent my morning in virtual meetings, my lunchtime with M., our usual walk to coffee and back, and planned to head out on the bike. M. and I have been doing the same walk to the same cup of coffee and outside chit chat, and walk back for years, and we always check on the cat litter that was dumped on the sidewalk just past the alley at the side of that burger place. Somebody dumped their litter box on the sidewalk, and still, at least two years later, there’s cat litter in the corner where those two pieces of sidewalk don’t quite meet. I’m sure who(m)ever dumped it has long forgotten about it, but M. and I can’t forget about it, especially because every single time I point it out: “Still there!” I like taking the same paths over and over not just to see how things change, but also what stays the same.

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Park Bench and Picnic Table Under Cloudy Skies at Middle Branch Park

A blue park bench is in the foreground, set against green grass and a picnic table and tree in the middle of the picture. The sky is cloudy and the water of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River is steel gray.

Monday was the first day of early voting in Maryland so I wanted to check out the lines at one of the sites. The best way to do that, of course, was on my bike, so I hopped on and headed down the hill toward Camden Yards. When I first heard this was going to be an early voting site I had images of voting from home plate, looking up at my adoring fans in the stands. Alas, you actually vote inside Dempsey’s Brew Pub–decidedly less exciting. I requested an absentee ballot and dropped it off in a ballot box a couple weeks ago. I was, as usual, my own adoring fan.

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Flowering Tree Along the Gwynns Falls Trail in Middle Branch Park

Flowering Tree Along the Gwynns Falls Trail in Middle Branch Park

The sun came out on Tuesday, and it had a profound effect on my mood after a gray and rainy Monday. So much feels gray and rainy that when the skies are like that too, I get a bit overwhelmed with it. But like all feelings, the sadness of Monday melted away to the relative good cheer of Tuesday, made even better by “seeing” some of my students in our online class meetings that morning.

And then I was utterly exhausted. It is going to take me a minute to get in shape for this.

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View Across the Harbor From Just Past the Hanover Bridge in Middle Branch Park

View Across the Harbor From Just Past the Hanover Bridge in Middle Branch Park Last week was a sweaty one, the first of the summer here in Baltimore. It was just so hot, and I found myself a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to ride my bike in it. I talked myself through it: you’ve ridden through 8 summers in Baltimore and New Orleans, every single one of them way too hot to ride through. ¬†You’ll sweat, but that’s it, so just sweat through it. Go as slow as you need to, it’s not a race, you’ll acclimate. Ultimately, though, since I don’t have a car and the bus is so unreliable, bicycling is my best choice for getting around, and I’ve got places to go.

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Assembling Bleachers for the Baltimore Grand Prix at the Inner Harbor

Assembling Bleachers for the Baltimore Grand Prix at the Inner HarborI was long overdue for a long bike ride, so that’s what I got on Tuesday. I had an appointment on Fleet Street, so in my head it was just down the hill. Then I looked at the map–Fleet Street goes all the way out there, to the edge of Canton, and I needed to get on the bike and pedal fast to make it on time. I did, down the hill and up Baltimore Street since I never go that way; just because you’re in a hurry doesn’t mean you can’t take a new route to see what you see. This way east is a longer hill than I’m used to, but it felt good to just pump up there–there’s a downhill on the other side. Continue reading

View of the Hanover Street Bridge From a Pier on the Gwynns Falls Trail

View of the Hanover Street Bridge From a Pier on the Gwynns Falls TrailI woke up late after a most perfect late night out and my first thought was: bicycle! I hopped out of bed and onto the Surly for a ride over to the Waverly farmer’s market and breakfast at the corner diner. I rode back home for a quick stop before meeting M. for a ride out to Middle Branch Park. She is new in town and hasn’t been on that section of the Gwynns Falls Trail, so I was happy to join her for a ride. Continue reading

View From a Shaded Bench in Middle Branch Park

View From a Shaded Bench in Middle Branch Park Today’s ride took me down the hill to the Inner Harbor and around to Federal Hill to join A. for a work date at a Federal Hill coffee shop. We gossiped–her about writing, me about not writing–and then worked in 20 minute intervals, because sometimes that’s how you have to do it, especially when outside is all sun and blue skies and bicycles. After finishing up I had a few hours before I had to be anywhere or doing anything, so I rode around Federal Hill and then headed east to see where it would take me. Continue reading

Trash, Geese, and Goslings on a Pier on the Gwynns Falls Trail Near Broening Park

Trash, Geese, and Goslings on a Pier on the Gwynns Falls Trail Near Broening ParkThe weather report promised rain all week, including all day today, threatening to wash out R.’s birthday bike ride. But then it was just kind of gray in the morning, and then the sun came out, so what the hell, we said, let’s through caution to the wind and ride our bikes, predictions be damned! We are risk takers, what. After loading up on carbs at the local coffee shoppe, we headed down the hill and around the stadiums to the start of the Gwynns Falls Trail behind BARCS for another ride around the harbor. Continue reading

Pier Into the Bay at Middle Branch Park

Middle Branch Park PierOh yes, it’s spring break, and I need it, badly. I have a zillion things to get done this week, but this weekend I am going to take a much needed actual vacation, and it started with a bike ride on a relatively warm day, in and out of the wind. I hopped on the Surly and headed down the hill, a quick stop for bike gloves and and then for a sandwich, and I was on my way to the Gwynns Falls Trail and a ride over to Middle Branch Park. I took my time, pedaling slowly into the wind–every direction was a headwind today, it seemed–and enjoying the sights. Continue reading

Piles of Rubble at the New Casino Site from the Gwynns Falls Trail Bridge Near Oler Street

Piles of Rubble at the New Casino Site from the Gwynns Falls Trail Bridge Near Oler StreetSo I was in Cleveland for a week, and then a few days after I got back to Baltimore, I caught that cold that’s been taking out my students for the past few months–sore, closed throat, cough, itchy ears, fatigue, and just general blah-ness. I decided to take a couple days off the bike to see if I could just get better rather than driving everything into my lungs and making the whole business worse. Well, today I’m not totally better, but I’m good enough to get out there for a ride, and I really, really needed it. Continue reading