Some times you feel like a carp; sometimes you don’t.
Today was my day.
If I am going to ride my bike to work and get there at a decent hour (I can only get there at an indecent hour when Friday Coffee Club is involved), I have to leave around 7. This morning at 7 there was a monsoon in my neck of the burbs. No gills, no glory.
My bike is locked in the Rootchopper Institute for Bicycle Storage (which is abbreviated SHED en Francais) located inconveniently in my back yard. By the time I made it to the SHED, I was SOAKED (which is French for wet as corpse in the Seine). I was wearing my reflective vest for two reasons. It would keep me warmer than going without and it would keep me visible. I also wore my 1991 Bike Virginia cycling cap which I earned my riding up the Shenandoah Valley in a series of driving rainstorms. It is probably the scuzziest piece of clothing I own but it helped keep water out of my eyes so fashion be damned.
Once I was good and wet, I started my commute. Two miles later the rain stopped. Lovely.
Not surprisingly, I had the Mount Vernon Trail pretty much all to myself.
At lunchtime I rode over to Georgetown to cash another check. I cashed two yesterday. They all came from the company that runs our Flexible Spending Account program at work. How they can stay in business cutting three checks in two days when one would do is beyond my little brain. The woman in front of me withdrew $430 in tens and fives. Carpe Throatum.
I worked late for the second day in a row. I don’t want to make a habit of this, but at least I can do my Friday Coffee Club thing this week without feeling guilty. All my evening regulars were long gone. The trail was busy with ultrafit runners in their stylish running gear. When I ran back before most of you were potty trained, I ran in rags. All my spare grad school money went into my Mizuno running shoes. I loved them and bought ten pairs over the course of three years. Of course, the company decided to stop making them. Some asshat in their marketing department probably thought it would be a good idea if their best customers bought their shoes elsewhere. Why can’t businesses leave well enough alone? Didn’t anybody learn from the New Coke fiasco? Carpe Marketing Throatum.
The ride home was a bit windy. I didn’t care. Somehow riding 111 miles and drinking beer has energized my legs. The same thing happened on my bike tours. The more I ride the better my mechanics get and the smoother I ride. I don’t use clipless pedals, just toe clips and straps. They work great if you pedal properly. The problem is that, most of the time, I pedal like an oil well. Down, up. The right way is to spin your feet and keep from mashing your feet into the pedals. I had clipless pedals once. After a couple of Arte Johnson falls, I decided to go back to what I know. Any efficiency gain from going clipless would almost certainly be offset by the weeks off the bike waiting for my broken collarbone to heal.
My friend Paul rode Bike Virginia with me in 1991 on a heavy hybrid, with a broken collarbone. He didn’t have clipless pedals though. He’s just fell down unassisted. He’s also a bike commuter. I wonder if her wore a scuzzy hat today.