I woke up early on the couch in Baltimore. Me and my hosts kinda hit it off, and I know their cat liked me. It's strange to think how we could be friends, but if we were neighbors we might not know each others names. In a city, you often don't know your neighbors in spite of similarities and shared interests. You're lucky to get a name. But these girls got up early to put butter in a pan. We talked some more and shared a plate of pancakes before I loaded up my gear and hit the road.
Baltimore is a beautiful town. As per suggestion, I went up on the big hill overlooking the city and the harbor. Then I descended to the harbor and looked at it all from another angle.
I felt good to get started, but the bottom fell out of feeling good after a few miles. By the time I arrived in Annapolis, I could feel the pain.
My good friend Nick is more of a bicycle dude than anyone else who I know. Our specific bicycle interests overlap thoroughly, and the casual enthusiast will have to take my word that it's a little uncanny to find such a dude. He's been dating Lael for awhile, and all three of us spent a lot of time together in Key West.
Now Nick is living over toward the east here in Annapolis. He got a job at Velo Orange, and that's where I met him directly when I got into town. I got a tour of the place, and I got to see a spiffy new cassette hub design from Taiwan. I got to see a new fork for their Polyvalent bicycle that is raked much prettier than the last one. It wasn't a busy day, and we stood around as a bunch of color swatches were flipped through. They seemed to be leaning toward a boring gray. I didn't bother to mention my preference for a hot pink, or a gold sparkle. I just admitted I was color blind.
My bicycle was leaned on the side of the building, and it doesn't look like a rich man's ride. It's as cheap as can be, and it's on the small side. I was a bit sheepish about it, but I know that it is my ideal machine. It's tough to convince some people that cheap old bicycles can be comfortable and useful, and usually I don't bother to try.
I'm staying here for the weekend, and I'm happy to be among friends. I haven't seen Lael since Key West, and she's too good to miss for that long.
I stayed up late with Nick and another guy from VO. The bicycle talk was thick, but everyone was fluent in the language, and it seems like the subject never dies.