Cycling in Baltimore

There is nothing nothing nicer than zipping around Baltimore on two wheels.  There is certain essence of the city that gets distilled when you’re rollin on spokes.  Getting around town by bike literally brings you closer to the streets.  You feel the jolt of potholes, avoid broken glass and trash, and breathe in the aromas of Roland Park pines while a minute later feeling the smog riding behind a truck heading down that weird abandoned part of Falls Road (with its excellent new Jones Falls Bike Trail), past the big silo that holds salt for melting ice and a few abandoned streetcars.  In this inaugural post I would like to share a quick story, a vignette, if you will, that I think captures the pleasures of cycling around our city.

I had just grabbed a few things at Eddie’s (of Charles Village of course) not that over priced and rather low quality bastion of uppercrust Baltimore that shares the name in Roland Park.  Crossing Calvert by Union Memorial, I pulled up next to a fellow cyclist, an older black man wearing a knit hat, the kind warn by Muslims or stoners, with a backpack on his back.  “Nice day for a ride, huh?” I suggested, “Oh Yes it is!  I got a cat in my bag and she’s lovin’ every minute of it!”  After pondering the phrase “having pussy in the bag”,I felt that in some ways this was a Baltimore experience: the crossing of boundaries, the strange encounter, the subtle cruelty (did the cat really love riding in a sealed backpack?) and the friendly greeting of strangers.

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