The new year started out with a gift from the weatherman. Temperatures on New Years Day hit 60 degrees F in Washington. I celebrated by taking an easy 30 mile ride in shorts.
|New Years Day Attire|
Fast forward to my first bike commute, today, and things were a little different. When I rolled down the driveway the temperature was 18 degrees F. And I do mean F. I was prepared to do battle with Jack Frost. I wore an absurd amount of clothing which turned out to be nearly enough. Dressing for this kind of weather is guesswork so I was pretty pleased with my choices. It was nice that I got to wear my new balaclava and my new lobster gloves. Both performed admirably.
|First Commute Attire|
My commute is 14 1/2 miles and, except for the first mile, I was comfortable the entire way. That first mile was, how can I put this, BRISK! I warmed up pretty quickly except for the tips of my fingers and the exposed area around my eyes. Once the sun rose a bit, temperatures broke through the 20 degree barrier and I was ready to drink a mint julep. Of course, all I had was the water I had in my two water bottles. The water was warm when I filled them but by three miles it was icy cold. About 12 miles into the ride, I came upon ice on the Mount Vernon Trail just south of the Memorial Bridge. I veered onto the grass which was also frozen and so I came to a crunchy stop.
To this point I had been passed by only three riders. As I approached the Rosslyn connector that carries to trail from the riverside to the southern end of the Key Bridge, I was surprised to see bike after bike come zipping down the hill.
While waiting for a traffic light in Rosslyn, I went to take a drink from my water bottles. Nothing doing. They were both frozen solid. I, however, was not. Or so I thought. When I took a shower in the fitness center at work, I found my toes, fingertips, upper legs, lap area, and parts of my torso were beat red. The hot water stung. If I had to do it over, I’d have added one pair of shorts to my ensemble.
On the ride home, temperatures were near freezing. It felt positively spring-like. I stupidly decided to ride through the icy patch on the trail. My back wheel slid right and then left. I made it but I won’t try that again any time soon.
In Old Town Alexandra I stopped to celebrate a milestone. The odometer on Little Nellie, my Bike Friday New World Tourist, turned 7,000 miles. Well done, Nellie.
|7 Grand for Little Nellie|
And so the first bike commute of 2012 is in the books. Spring will be here before you know it.