If they don't steal my bike, I'll put it in a goat

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May 12, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

It's not the cheapest way to get to know Baltimore, but it might be one of the best: offer to give away 50 bikes in an essay contest, sit back, and let the city reveal itself to you.

"Before my bike was stolen off my back porch," one essay began.

"Unfortunately, the second-hand mountain bike that I was riding was stolen," another said.

"Unbelievably," yet another Baltimorean wrote, believably, "my bike was stolen."

Not that Baltimore came off only as America's bikenapping capital in the essays, submitted to Bicycling magazine's BikeTown USA contest. It came off as weird, too. But in a good way.

"I would use a biketown bike to replace the one I had to use for my kinetic sculpture this year," Gavin Heck of Hampden wrote. "I can't promise next year or whenever I build my next kinetic sculpture the biketown bike won't end up in it, but ultimately I'd imagine a bike feeling (if bikes have feelings) pretty o.k. being inside a giant poodle, rat, elephant or goat(s) careening down the streets of Baltimore, then splashing into the harbor for a dip."

Heck also wrote that a new bike "would help me commute more quickly to and between my two jobs." The 41-year-old actually has three jobs. He tests software, works security for the American Visionary Art Museum and sews sock monkeys.

That was enough to sell the folks at Bicycling, who presented Heck and the other winners with new Fuji Charleston bikes yesterday at the Inner Harbor.

"Every city has its own personality," said Michael Henson, spokesman for the four-year-old BikeTown program, held in 12 cities this year. "The New York entries are very New York. We had a lawyer who wanted to ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan so he can show the other suits that you can be a lawyer and still have a work-life balance. That's very type-A New York."

What about Baltimore? What did the entries say about Charm City?

Said Henson: "Baltimore's an eclectic place."

From D.C., Baltimore must look pretty good

Say you're paid $180,000 a year to convince the world that Baltimore is fan-bleeping-tabulous. Think maybe you'd move to the city?

Leslie Doggett, who just resigned as the city's tourism director after less than three years on the job, maintained her primary residence in Washington. At least that's what Ed Hale, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitor's Association's board chairman, tells The Sun's Jill Rosen.

I would have asked Doggett about it, but I couldn't find a phone listing in Baltimore. There was one in Washington, but it was nonpublished.

Maybe she just wanted to experience Baltimore as a tourist first-hand.

Forget D.C.; Baltimore IS pretty good

Potential Baltimoreans from as far away as Texas, North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan and Illinois are signed up to go house-hunting in Charm City tomorrow, at the Live Baltimore Home Center's semi-annual home-buying fair and tour.

"And we only advertise in Baltimore and D.C.," says Tracy Gosson, executive director of the center, which offers $3,000 awards to 50 participants who close on a house within 90 days of the event. (Hey, Leslie Doggett. Here's the incentive you needed!)

It takes place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Poly, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane. Info: 410-637-3750.

Big Talker is mum until May 23

Just as he considers chucking his radio gig to run for state Senate, WOLB's Larry Young is named to the Talkers 250. That's Talkers magazine's annual ranking of the nation's most important talk radio hosts, which, I must admit, came out a couple months ago but escaped my notice.

(WBAL's Chip Franklin made the magazine's top 100.)

"He's got a big decision to make," said station manager Howard Mazer. "I would hate to lose him, but he has to do what he has to do."

So just what is Young doing? All he'll say -- by way of City Councilman Ken Harris -- is that he'll have something to say May 23.

"That's one of two announcements," Harris said. The second will be "sometime before the filing date."

District 44 incumbent Sen. Verna Jones says she's not worried either way.

"I'm not focusing on him," she said. "Believe me, he is not getting my attention."

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