Hawthorne Trail mapA few weeks ago, my wife and kids left town for some vacation, leaving me at home to work and spend some time in the saddle. A massive PUD is getting underway (again) that’s gonna eat up some (more) of my favorite unknown places to ride. I headed over the Nottingham Ridge via the 95 viaduct and got good and muddy while riding access roads, dirt and slag piles.

From there, I took a little known “trail” around old White Marsh, rode some stream and crossed 40 into one of the largest contiguous parcels of braided off-road trails in eastern B’more. (Hit it if you can, park on the south side just shy of the 43 light). After climbing, winding and jumping my way back to 43, I picked up the new sidepath that parallels White Marsh Blvd down to Eastern Ave. Nice easy ride with some good diversions around ponds and woods.

I was heading this way to my very old stomping ground of Hawthorne, Concrete rack basea heavy populated peninsula on Middle River. Growing up here, I learned to ride a bike and honed my early jumping skills. Going back I was looking forward to the new trails that Co. Exec. Jim Smith was proud off. When I got there, I was a little disappointed. The trails I once rode were now blackened with asphalt and connected with signed routes via alleyways. A bike network totally done on the cheap. The nostalgia wore off as I approached the eastern end of the trail – a nice kiosk with a map and hunter green powder-coated bike rack. Looking at the rack base, I noticed a name scrolled into concrete: Talk about full circle…