Barbecues and Bike Parties

"Hello, I just came here last night from Stuttgart, Germany and will be living in Baltimore for 6 months."
~Maxi, German Bachelor's Candidate at Johns Hopkins University

As the weather gets nicer I have made more of a commitment to go outside after teaching and before committing to my homework plans. Last week I spent the afternoon grilling and cooking with one of the cyclist friends from the Dear Baltimore Light City project. He currently works as a zookeeper, photographs as his hobby, and considers himself an avid Bmore cyclist. I felt so alive grilling portabella mushrooms and marinated beef patties on his Weber charcoal grill and watching his neighbor’s two kids Jasmine and Lakeisha drawing on the Ilchester Street sidewalk with chalk. I gulped down a Boh as the humidity caused my tank top to cling to my back, and I thought to myself that life really couldn’t get better than these simple pleasures in Baltimore.

A few days later I stumbled across a sporadically held dance-off in Graffiti Alley hosted by Bmore Than Dance. The predominantly black crowd set up speakers and turntables in the middle of the alley as a predetermined set of dancers face-off against each other in dance battles. Even though it’s small (no more than 100 people in the crowd), the energy and vibrancy of the alleyway and the attendees made me feel like I was in a much larger venue. I liked how raw the whole event felt. I looked over to my left and a couple was on a ladder tagging one of the empty patches of wall, in front of me were two young females engaged in a dance battle to a remix of Beyonce’s Formation song, and to the right of me was a group of young males smoking blunts. Honestly, it just felt so good to be in the crowd.

The last big event that I participated in was the monthly Baltimore Bike Party. I bicycled with my roommates and a new friend studying here for 6 months from Germany. We biked south towards the harbor and rested at Patterson Park before turning back up north and dancing in the empty Honda lot near 25th and N Howard St. Being able to drink out in public, dance to loud speakers, and hang out with like-minded cyclists from all over Baltimore had me feeling oh so good. I mean, what more Baltimore pride could there be than a few hundred cyclists biking together throughout various Baltimore streets and then gathering to just party on a random street corner?