Charm City Gastro-Whatevering

Cities are full of nuance and texture.  Urban life unfolds on a variety of stages, many hidden, obscure or inaccessible.  Unless you have a bike, of course.  Tourism is mainly conducted by two main modes of transport: car and foot.  Drive to a neighborhood, park, walk around.  But how do you drive to the neighborhood? Usually the fastest way possible, often navigating by GPS.  Shuttling between guidebook neighborhoods in a speeding car is a great way to miss everything in between.  Aqua astroturf backyards.  Screen door paintings, murals, corner shops, hidden markets, and most importantly, good eats.  Riding lets you go fast enough to get out of bad areas fast, but slow enough that you can observe the scene surrounding you, stopping right in front of places you want to check out.  No paying for parking, no tickets, no forgetting where you parked.

Andre had to drop a case of Mead off at Woodberry Kitchen, and I needed to get out on my bike.  So we combined missions, threw the bikes on the back of his wagon, and drove east.  We found parking near the Kitchen, and went in search of some grub.

Our first stop was Artifact Coffee, where I dorked out on a house made apple tart and some Hario drip coffee and Andre kept it OG with an Earl Grey Latte.  I knew Andre needed a Vinyl fix, so we scoped out Atomic Books, which has a great little punk rock record store tucked in the back.  After snagging an LP of dubious artistic merit, we rode down Falls Road, a post industrial nightmare of a road, serving as a handy low traffic connection between Hampden and Charles Village.  Andre had never really done any serious city riding, and he lucked on his first foray.  Light traffic and polite drivers were the theme throughout the day.

In Federal Hill, we hit some cobbles, took in the harbor view, and dipped into Cross Street Market for some more food.  Andre flipped at the variety, struggling to pick between the vendors.

Eventually he ended up with ye ole squid on a stick, drenched in plum sauce and Siracha, and I threw down on some Bruce Lee Wings.  We split a Buffalo steak and cheese, which was covered in every possible condiment, including a secret garlic sauce.

Thusly crushed by calories, we rode the back alleys of South Baltimore and pedalled up to Lexington Market in midtown.  Andre bought us a pair of Jamacian Beef Patties, and bellies thus sated, it was time to head back to the car.  After a brief bit of whatevering thru the Johns Hopkins campus, we found ourselves back in Hampden.  We closed out the day with some overpriced sodas and headed home.

Here’s a link to a map of the route, should you decide to get your foodie fix via bike.

On Saturday April 13th, we’re hosting a Trek Demo Day at the Gambrill Tea room in Gambrill State Park.  It’ll be happening from 10-3.  Test rad mtn bikes in a huge size run.  We’ll have more details on Facebook really soon.  Call or email for details.

Two bits of shop news:  The Wednesday evening hill climb rides w/ Brian are happening now.   Join us at the shop at 5 for a quick ride up some big hills!  Sunday evening shop rides will start the Sunday following Easter.  These are real whatevering rides, with dirt roads, hills, a casual pace, and encroaching darkness.  Email for details or call.  Wheels down at 5.30 from the shop.


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