I went for a run on Sunday. I had 8 miles on my calendar, but it was hot and sunny, my legs were heavy, and I kept having to stop and walk to keep my heart rate under control. Three miles in and I was calling my sister for permission to stop running, turn around, and walk home. I bailed on my run. Running is a mental game, and bailing felt like a betrayal of the mental work I’ve put into running over the past year, but my body didn’t care what my training plan wanted. It needed to walk. So I did, but even then I started running again a few times on the way home. I thought I’d start running again and it’d feel good, but instead I just had to make the decision to bail a couple more times as I had to stop and walk.
Monday’s weather was perfect for a bike ride–sunny, cool enough, light breeze–and I had time to take one. I hopped on and headed downtown to see what the previous few nights of unrest might have left on the streets. I saw quickly that one thing that was left was a whole bunch of cops. I zipped down Maryland and saw a group gathered in the courtyard by University of Baltimore, and then walking in a group up Cathedral, taking a right on Chase. And then there were cop cars and vans on almost every street.
Saturday was a most excellent day to be on a bicycle. That’s hardly the point, but it’s just true: when there are multiple protests and rallies going on around the city, plus the rest of things to do on a weekend, a bike is the best way to move quickly and easily, especially as cops and cars start blocking entrances and exits. I thought about this, about how car culture makes protest culture that much harder because we become so easily immobilized, as I inhaled a stack of blueberry pancakes at the diner on the corner before biking over to Sandtown-Winchester for the first gathering of the day to remember Freddie Gray, killed by Baltimore City cops almost two weeks prior.
The clock clicked to 5:00pm and it was time to slather on the sunscreen and get on the bike for another ride down to McKeldin Square for another rally demanding justice in the Trayvon Martin case. That’s not a demand that’s going to be met following this particular rally, of course, but the rally brings like-minded folks together to feel community in anger, mourning, frustration, but also to revel in the pleasure of the crowd itself. My favorite moment from Sunday’s protest, for example, came when I was locking my bike up to the racks in the Inner Harbor (there’s a rack! As N. would say, wowwwwwwwwwwww!). Continue reading →
The sun was out and I had the day off and my old friend S. was in town for a visit and I’ve got extra bikes–perfection. I took the Surly and he took the Specialized, and we headed out on a tour of my favorite asphalt in New Orleans: Simon Bolivar, the new and improved Loyola, Canal, Chartres, those three blocks of Magazine by the WWII museum, and Constance. We do have some good streets in town–you just have to ride around until you find them (or check out the fantastic work by NOLACycle–thanks for the maps!). On our way we made some stops, the first for the Flotilla Emergency Protest in support of Palestine. Continue reading →
I broke one of my regular riding rules today–never start a ride in the rain. But I needed to get to the Quarter for today’s oil protest, and I most certainly wasn’t going to drive a car down there. I was soaked and muddy by the time I got there, but a quick towel-off at a friend’s house, and I was good to go. Continue reading →