Advertising on S. Fremont & Vine

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Thursday’s ride took me all over town, up to the Arcadia neighborhood in the other side of Lake Montebello to talk about what the city might look like of we prioritized the quality of the soil and worked out way up from there and then down to Southwest Baltimore for a ride around that neighborhood and a reminder of the power of MLK Avenue to slice a city in two, and then up to Charles Village for coffee with a filmmaker and a chat about what, if anything, has changed since theorist. My answer: I don’t know. It was the perfect day for a ride, all sunshine and blue skies, and I was grateful to have so many places to be and a bike to ride to get between them. West Baltimore was so unlike the other places I rode to and through on this day– so many vacant properties, so few throughways to the city on the other side of the street, so many different scars from urban renewal and subsequent attempts to renew again. I snapped this picture of advertising on the side of one of the many crumbling buildings over here. Steve Jobs changed everything, I think that movie argues. Lots of things changed everything, I thought, depending on who and where you are and what you’re looking at. What do people see when they see this place, and what change it’s visible to whom? I capped off the day with a drink before riding back home, best Thursday in awhile.

Crane in the Sky at Fleet and S. Central

Crane in the Sky at Fleet and S. CentralMonday was crisp and beautiful, and oh it felt good to get out on a bike ride! I had errands to run, so I took the Surly and pedaled down this hill to Harbor East for some groceries before heading to Canton for a much-needed haircut (though I got the $17 hair “cut” I paid for–oh well). I hadn’t been in this part of town in awhile, because the weather’s been terrible for biking, and when it’s good, I kind of just want to go to a circle ride freely around it–Druid Hill Park, Lake Montebello, etc. Everything’s the same, mostly, and it felt good to feel at home. Continue reading

Afro Newsie on a Bike on the Doors at the Lewis Museum at Pratt & President

Today’s ride took me down the hill to the Star-Spangled Flag House and Museum of Star-Spangledness for a little research for this thing I’m writing. It was an easy coast down the hill, but I have a request to make of cars: please don’t pull out into the crosswalk at such speeds? You’re close to pulling out into my lane, but you’re most definitely in the pedestrian’s lane, and that’s dangerous. You’re also blocking the curb cut I need to go up if I”m to stay on the officially marked trail; this is why my utopia is all vehicular cycling. But I digress. Continue reading

Overgrown Lot and Empty Train Cars on Kloman Near Wenburn

I spent today getting back in the swing of things at work–researching, writing, planning, and scheming, and asking people with money to give it to me for my plans and schemes, probably my least favorite activity, though I’m fairly certain that my student group can spend your group’s money better than you can. And then it was time to get on the bike. Continue reading

Blight Behind the Masquerade Costume Superstore at Columbus & Washington in Philadelphia

My dear old friend S. is in Philadelphia for a conference this weekend and I had the day free, so I got up early and drove up I95 to the City of Brotherly Love. Now, I hate driving, but not nearly as much as I hate parking, especially in a tourist district in an unfamiliar town. It makes me anxious, and I don’t think I’ll ever be rich enough to feel good about paying twenty bucks so I can leave a car alone for a couple of hours. Answer: toss the Brompton in the trunk, park in a residential neighborhood, and bike downtown. Continue reading

Maryland Science Center at Light Street and Key Highway

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It was gray and rainy out, but I was in no mood to drive a car over to Federal Hill, so I broke the “don’t start a ride in the rain” rule and pedaled down the hill, around the harbor, and up the hill on the other side. I spent part of my morning reading about Federal Hill, and once you know a little bit of history about the place you’re in, well, if you’re me, it doesn’t look the same. Take the Maryland Science Center, for example. Before today it was to me just a big behemoth of brick that marks the end or start of the bike path, depending on where I’m headed. According to David Harvey, though, it’s a windowless citadel guarding the “rebirthed” Inner Harbor, a cash cow for developers, from the “angry” poor whites and African Americans who used to live just up from here. The surrounding neighborhoods are now mostly comprised of young white professionals, but the Science Center is still there, blocking their view and complicating access, and i’d never know it’s history without the fine folks who remind us that our built environment and who’s in it is no accident. I rode up to Fort Avenue and down to the new McHenry Row. So many empty properties, but we’re still making new developments like this one, which was an empty lot today. Time will tell, I suppose, whether all this new housing will fill, but it seems like so much boondoggle to me. One thing’s for sure, though~these waterproof panniers are awesome on days like this one, because it was an awfully misty ride home.