Playground Equipment and a Closed School in East Baltimore


Oh, I needed to get a little lost on Tuesday, have one of those rides where I’m not just transporting myself but getting myself settled in to the city, a reminder that I live in a place bigger than my *place*. So that’s what I did, snaking south and east and south and east until west again. I had two stops in mind–ice cream at the place where I had a coupon for free ice cream (did you know the first commercial ice creameries that made the treat available for mass consumption opened right here in Baltimore?) And Federal Hill, where I was on tap to hold a still-new baby so her mom could take a shower and shake out her arms. I never got totally lost, but I can’t tell you exactly where this school is, the one with the exterior in scrubbed shades of blue that suggest it’s going to get torn down but with the new playground equipment that says it’s here to stay. It was near Harford Road or Aisquith or one of those diagonal cuts through the city, which I know because I waited at the light with a construction truck driver who had waited for me to pull out into the street. We did the ol’ smile-and-nod and then I was on my way, past a park with a tree halfway fallen over, past rows and rows of vacant homes and stoopsitters and road construction crews and food trucks outside Johns Hopkins. And then I was on Baltimore Street watching the guys fill the pool and admiring the head start these community gardeners had gotten. I rode my circles until I was back on my old route from Canton to Fed Hill and back north to Charles Village, and I only wished I could have stayed lost just a little bit longer, because that’s how I know where I am.

Looking Back Toward Oliver Street From Brentwood Ave.

Looking Back Toward Oliver Street From BrentwoodThe great thing about living so close to my very favorite bike shop is that it was just a quick twenty minute walk down the hill to collect my tuned-up bicycle to take it for a ride on this unseasonably hot autumn day. I headed back up the hill, taking Falls Road to a right on Chestnut–I should have gotten into a much easier gear before taking that turn. I pumped my way slowly up to Hampden for lunch and a much-needed session of acupuncture. Continue reading

Dancers at Federal & Calvert


I spent this most delightful first fall Sunday working on a big project due on Monday and thinking about the exceedingly lovely weekend I had. Oh, and how much I needed a bike ride. So I finished up a draft of the thing in front of the Ravens game, and then it was time to get on the bike for a ride. I headed down the hill to see if I could luck into an Akimbo performance before going somewhere south and east. A volunteer handed me a map, and I snaked my way around to the park at Federal and Calvert to catch the Effervescent Dance Collective. Their performance was delayed by a sea shanty singing quartet that is probably funny if we’re all friends and we’ve had a few (in which case I have no doubt they are amazing), and I wondered about the location of the dancing. And then they danced, and I couldn’t stop smiling, thinking about how clever they were, how free and happy they helped us feel–like when Lily matched her breath to the beat of being pulled up from the water, a sly look–oh, it was so good. I thanked them after–“You just made me so happy inside, thank you”–and then it was back on the bike. I passed a tent on the sidewalk across from the city fueling station on Fallsway. I wondered about why the tent owner’s reclaiming of public space will undoubtedly be criminalized, the home torn down, while the dancers will make me feel just so happy inside. Are we worried the tent is privatising our public space? But wouldn’t we want public space to be used by those with the need for it–I want that in case I need it at some point. Or have we gone so far with our love of private property that we can’t imagine a use that wouldn’t in some way declare ownership? I thought about those and other things on the rest of my ride, over to The Shops at Canton Crossing (it’s still just a Target), up through Brewer’s Hill and down through Highlandtown, up and over and up and over through so many neighborhoods with so many people loving this cooler still-sunny weather. Ravens win!

Plants Taking Over a Blighted Building at E. Oliver & N. Durham

Plants Taking Over a Blighted Building at E. Oliver & N. DurhamThursday’s ride was one of those rides where you pedal around trying to get out of the post-first-day-of-school funk that always follows the heavy excitement of day one. I rode up the hill, ate a sandwich, and then rode down the hill, not sure of my destination. I decided to see if Pratt Street was closed for that boondoggle known as the Baltimore Grand Prix (thinking about the waste of resources makes me apoplectic–don’t get me started). I hate the thing, but if the road was closed to cars, maybe I could sneak in a bike race. No such luck, so I headed east, eventually ending up in Canton for some frozen yogurt and an hour of watching dogs tug around their owners. Continue reading

Habitat for Humanity Site on Cherry Blossom in the Orchard Ridge Development in the Claremont Freedom Neighborhood

Habitat For Humanity Site on Cherry Blossom Lane in Orchard RidgeI didn’t get to ride my bicycle around much this past week due to a heavy workload. Fortunately, part of that workload was learning how to use software to make movies! It was so much fun, and I spent several days making my first tiny film, which you see here. But what making a movie about riding a bike around East Baltimore really made me want to do was, well, ride a bike around East Baltimore, so that’s what I did today. Continue reading

Tree Growing Out of a Propped Up Wall on Chester & Chase

Last week was so busy busy with so many late nights due to campus events and baseball that I just didn’t have time to ride my bike for anything but transportation. I can’t remember the last time I just rode around aimlessly, and after waking up tired and sickly and leaving the house without enough clothing for the cooler weather, I didn’t think I’d be taking that sort of ride today either. I headed down to the coffee shop to meet V. for a quick grading session before heading the rest of the way downtown to stop at the gym. Continue reading