Cars, Trees, and People at President & Fayette

Cars, Trees, and People at President & FayetteThursday’s bike ride took me down the hill and up the other side to visit A. and her sweet baby girl for the afternoon. It was such a nice ride on a cool, windless day–and that second part makes a big difference. I was mostly just happy to stretch my legs on a ride that wasn’t taking me to work. And then we had a ridiculously nice day, the kind you can only have when one of your companions reliably giggles and coos every time you fake-sneeze or stick your tongue out at her. For all the ugly in the world, it was good to remember that there’s this other kind of divine goodness, the still-fresh baby; she’s also part of this world. Continue reading

Surveillance Camera at Fallsway & East Madison

Surveillance Camera at Fallsway & East MadisonMonday’s ride took me down the hill and up the hill to Federal Hill for another trip to a yoga class. Wow, it’s not easy, this yoga thing, and I felt burnt afterward. I tried to remind myself that yes, like any other new thing, it’s hard. Patience, patience! I was a bit frustrated, though, so I did what I do when I’m frustrated and kept riding my bike. I headed over to Locust Point to drown my sorrows in sandwich. The ride home brought its own frustrations, the ones that come with riding a bike in the city. I’ve had city riding on my mind lately after hearing of a terrible bike death in New Orleans last week. Continue reading

View to the West of Patterson Park From the Tiny Lake

View to the West of Patterson Park From the Tiny LakeAnd sometimes you take three days off of bicycling because your dear sister is in town, and she’s a runner, so you happily walk and take the bus and hope N. will pick you both up and drive you around town. Today, though, what I really needed was to get back on the bike. I didn’t get a chance to ride around until the evening, when I hopped on the bike and headed down to Mount Vernon for a meeting. In a shocking turn of events, especially for a Monday, the meeting ran short, so I had plenty of time to ride around town. I headed down to the main post office because I’ve never been inside that behemoth of Brutalist architecture, plus also I wanted to put a letter in the mail. Continue reading

Looking Up at the Side of Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center at Fallsway & Madison

Looking Up at the Side of Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center at Fallsway & MadisonMonday’s ride took me down the hill–big surprise–and around the Inner Harbor, where I got to use the best of my outside voice to remind pedestrians and Segway drivers (riders?) to Share the Path. I complain a lot about the lack of easy bicycling around the harbor, but I recently tried walking it. The pedestrians are right–the shared path is the only good way around the construction in front of the World Trade Center, and once on a path, hardly anybody gets off it to follow a different one, even once the obstacles are gone. An easy pedal up to Federal Hill for some work with the co-workers, and then I headed home, same outside-voice around the harbor, a left on President to enjoy the worst bike lane in the city on my way to the best one–the Fallsway cycletrack. Continue reading

Rally At the Baltimore City Detention Center on Eager Street to Protest Proposed New Youth Prison

So I’m bounding down the stairs to grab my bike and head over to Fells Point to meet V. for a writing session when I step off the last step and my ankle turns, leaving me crumpled in a pile on the floor. My first thought was that my older brother would love this, and my second thought was damn, I need to ride my bike, and there’s a march and rally later today, so a sprained ankle simply will not do. Continue reading

Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center Super Max Prison at Madison & Fallsway

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After another long day at the new job I got on the bike and headed downtown for my first trip to the Whole Foods to get frozen berries and flax seeds for my breakfast, but mostly I just needed a bike ride to shake off the whole sitting-at-a-table-and-listening thing. I rode home up the hill in a super easy gear, all loaded down with the stuff you get when you go shopping hungry. The ride home quickly turns from tourist harbor to the outskirts of downtown to emptiness. I stopped to take a picture of the building at Fallsway and Madison. It is ringed with barbed wire and has rusted-out windows on one side and the tiny slits in the walls on the other, because it’s a prison. I figured it was a jail, it being practically in downtown Baltimore. Turns out it’s a supermax prison, where people are confined to cages 23 hours a day, 24 on the weekends. They are allowed no physical contact, ever; visits are through plexiglass, and time outside of cages is spent alone, one day inside, another day outside, one hour a day, five days a week. We do that to people, to human beings. I am ashamed of us. And I’m going to spend the foreseeable future riding by here on my bicycle all loaded up with blueberries, brewer’s yeast, and vitamins, pedal, pedal, pedal. I’m going to have to think about this one. So should you, because there’s a supermax prison somewhere near you. Baltimore just isn’t hiding its one.

Fuck Prisons Graffiti on Jeff Davis and I10

Fuck Prisons GraffittiThis town, like any town worth its salt, is covered in graffiti. Some of it is deemed interesting enough to get covered on blogs and in the local paper, like the “Think That You Might Be Wrong” signs posted all over town. Those signs are considered by many to be thought provoking and interesting, when they aren’t being accused of being condescending eyesores. Continue reading