Inside a Wall at Ostend & Light

Inside a Wall at Ostend & LightFriday was one of those perfect bike riding days, first up to Roland Park for a therapy appointment and then back down the hill to treat myself to a grilled cheese sandwich and fries before riding up to Federal Hill to meet O. and her mom at her art studio where they were working on a project that is taking a precision and patience that I could never show. I stopped early on Light Street to lock up at a real rack and take a leisurely stroll up the hill. Federal Hill is all bars and restaurants and specialty dog stores and frozen yogurt and vape shoppes, what what is left after gentrification–or urban change, as I’m starting to call it in my head so I don’t jump to conclusions just based on a word–pushes on through. Continue reading

Late Afternoon Light at Lake Montebello

Late Afternoon Light at Lake Montebello It was a balmy 50+ degree day, and as much as I wanted to stay in my pajamas all day long, I knew I’d regret this sprinkle of springtime in the midst of a seriously chilly February. I got in quite a few rides last week, but they were all needles-in-the-eyeballs cold, and they were all a way to get from here to wherever I was going. Continue reading

Intersection at 25th & Guilford

Intersection at 25th & Guilford2014 was a great year for bicycling. I rode in new places, got a new commute, and did a whole lot of exploring. I blogged less this year than the last few, but that’s because I’ve been writing more in other places, writing gigs I’ve picked up only because I’ve blogged regularly for the past five or six years. Turns out writing gets easier by writing more and regularly. Same goes for biking–it became my primary form of transportation back in 2008, and I am just so terrifically grateful that the bike and I found each other, and that now it is just common sense that if we’re going there, we’re going by bike. What a gift, to see the world from two wheels like that. Continue reading

Salt Truck Unloading at 32nd & Greenmount

Salt Truck Unloading at 32nd & GreenmountI’ve been off the bike since last Wednesday, off in San Juan, Puerto Rico for work. I swear–for work. I left bikes at home and spent my time traveling the city on the bus–just 75 cents per ride!–and on foot, walking around the old city with N., eating too much mofongo and staring at the layers of a different city. There were a lot of views, of huge lizards, feminist theorists (it was NWSA, after all), blue skies, cruise ships, police officers, stray cats, forts that have been used as military installations from the 1500s to the 1950s, happy hours at all hours (this is a tourist destination, after all), and candy colored everything. There were a few bike racks, but I only saw a couple people on bikes. Continue reading

Waiting for the MARC Train at the Halethorpe Station

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Tuesday opened to frozen roads and school delays due to an overnight snow shower, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have to head into work for meetings and lunches and meetings and such. And there’s no car anymore. I bundled up in two of everything–socks, pants, baselayers, gloves–and headed down the hill on the Brompton. It wasn’t the cold that got me as much as the ice in the bike lane, so I took the lane next to it, bought a stack of tickets, folded up the bike, answered work emails for 15 minutes, unfolded the bike, and climbed the hill to campus. There was no road rage, no parking, and I was reminded again of how that driving habit had gotten to be a habit, and now this will be a new habit. I made my meetings, did some work, and then reversed course, snapping this picture while I waited for the train. The sky just never looks this blue in a car. Thanks for dying, sweet old Hyundai Accent. You’re making the bike feel brand new.

Tree Growing Out of a Building on Tyson Near Mulberry

Tree Growing Out of a Building on Tyson Near MulberryThe unthinkable has happened: I’ve misplaced my bike helmet. Now, I know there’s controversy about whether or not bike helmets really help, and I also know that in some of the most common accidents, a bike helmet will do little to keep me safe, but I also know that I feel naked without one. I am somewhat skeptical of the helmet’s ability to keep my egg uncracked in the case of a serious crash, but I also know that I always wear one, I don’t think they make things worse, and if, god forbid, I should ever be seriously hurt or killed when riding a bike, the last think I want E. to have to do is shake her head when asked the inevitable question, “Was she wearing a helmet?” Continue reading

Bicycle Float in Chewbacchus Parade on Frenchman Just Off St. Claude

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Saturday was a perfect bike riding day in New Orleans: sunny, warm, plenty of parades to ride between. I rode from Treme to Uptown on my old route to meet up with C. and P. for our usual parade gawking, only this year they brought their Carnival bait~seven month old A. R. and C. joined with their kid, and wow, things can change in just a couple of years once the sweet babies start rolling in. Then again, it was the same floats, same dancing troupes~looking good, Gold Dusters!~same bands~Xavier Prep Yellow Jackets in the house!~and the same sense of family, and oh it was good to see everybody. Then it was time to roll downtown. I took OC Haley to see the changes there as the stretch tries to become a Main Street. It’s still trying, some blocks more than others, and I hope the new Cafe Reconcile’s as good as it is in my head. After a pit stop, a dog walk over to the Marigny for the parade of tiny floats (insert squeal), and a delicious home cooked meal eaten too fast, we were back on our bikes and headed to Frenchman Street to catch the Krewe of Chewbacchus and its giant nerd parade. I snapped this picture of a bicycle float that just made me so happy. It was the bikes, the detailed helmet on our fighter, the lights, the rest of the crowd, and the pleasure there is in a world where people will do such things to put on a show. We left our bikes, wandered around looking for everybody, saw all the people, and then headed home. It was a perfect day for riding a bike around New Orleans, but I need better walking shoes. As S. would say, my dogs are barking. Carnival’s a marathon, not a sprint, a lesson I have already forgotten. I’m happily heading home Monday, though, so I’m thinking the lesson doesn’t really apply in my particular circumstances.