It’s a Trap

I left early. In the dark. It was warmish, over 40. I wore the base layer that my brother-in-law’s family gave me for Christmas instead of the holey sweater. It was perfect, like wearing pajamas.

When I reached the Mount Vernon Trail I could see police car roof lights on the GW Parkway about 1/4 mile ahead. A speeder, a Camry with two high school kids inside ,had been pulled over. They had the my-dad’s-gonna-kill-me look. Traffic was getting backed up by the loss of the right lane. I  thought of calling my daughter to warn her about the speed trap, then decided against it figuring she can’t speed because the Parkway’s all clogged up.

The MVT uses the crosswalk at the intersection with the Hunting Towers Apartments’ access road. The crosswalk was filled for the second time in a month with a huge white SUV trying in vain to make a right on red, during rush hour with a view obstructed by buses waiting at the adjacent bus stop. In other words, there was no reason for the SUV to be blocking the crosswalk. I carefully rode around the front of the SUV trying my best to stay out of the parkway traffic. On Big Nellie, my right arm is just about even with the grill of this behemoth. I almost smacked it with my fist in protest. I thought better of it. This is a good thing because the driver of the behemoth could have made me road kill with a step on the gas. Instead I turned to give the driver a dirty look. I forgot about the light on my helmet. Got him right in the eyes.

On the north side of Old Town I saw Nancy Duley. Nancy has been out of action due to illness for a couple of weeks. “Hi, Nancy.”  She was all smiles as usual.

A slight headwind made the rest of the ride an honest effort. As I approached the 14 Street Bridge underpass, I saw a Brompton coming up from behind at surprising speed.  Thankfully, he turned off to take the ramp up to the bridge before he could pass me. Getting passed by a bike with 16 inch wheels is no way to start the work week.

At about this point I hit 100 miles for the year. Woo hoo.

At the Rosslyn Circle of Certain Doom, I cross the I-66 ramp without getting killed. Woo hoo, too. As I passed him, a panhandler said, “Nice bike.” Recumbents have fans in every demographic.

I ate lunch at Quiznos. They had really bad rock and roll Christmas music on. Midway through the meal, the Christmas music was replaced by normal, bland rock music. The holiday’s are now officially over. Thus sprach Quizno.

Last night we took the Christmas tree down. I carried it out to the curb awkwardly, managing somehow to get my face right up into that sucker. All day today my sinuses were throbbing. Guess I can add fir to my allergy list.

Since i arrived at work a little early, I left early. It was light out. Woo hoo three.

I rode down the MVT with a slight tailwind. I could tell because the planes at National Airport were taking off toward the northwest. And because I was riding in excess of 15 miles per hour. The daylight lasted into Old Town. I took the Wilkes Street tunnel at the north end of Old Town. I haven’t used it in a long time preferring the trail under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. As I came to the far end of the tunnel, I thought “I’d better be careful.” I rang my bell and slowed. From behind the wall at the exit of the tunnel, a man with a toddler on his shoulders stepped in front of me. I said, “I guessed right.” He said with a smile, “I heard your bell.” Peace on earth. Goodwill toward bent.

Heading out of Old Town, back on the MVT, I came upon the entrance to Porto Vecchio, an upscale condominium on the river. The entrance has bicycle traffic lights that I obey because I would like to see them used elsewhere. And because traffic turning off the Parkway can crush me like a bug.

Parked across the MVT in the middle of the entrance to the condo was a minivan and a US Park Service police car.  The police officer was discussing the driver’s transgressions with the soccer mom behind the wheel of the van. I was tempted to interrupt and ask the officer why he felt it necessary to conduct a traffic stop that compromised the safety of trail users like me as well as people trying to turn into the condo complex. Clearly, the soccer mom was a menace to society or he would have asked her to move into the condo parking lot where he could conduct his traffic stop in safety.

Instead of confronting him, I rode around the front of the minivan, over a raised flower bed, and went on my way. I figured that seeing a long wheel base recumbent riding like a mountain bike might clue him to the fact that his traffic stop technique needs a whole lot of work.

The rest of the ride featured many moments of blindness thanks to the headlights of cars on the parkway. We’ve only got about a month to go before this annual annoyance is over.

When I arrived at home, I mentioned to my wife that there seemed to be a lot of speed traps out today. She responded by telling me that on her way home from school my daughter got her first speeding ticket courtesy of Fairfax’s finest. We live 1/2 mile from the Mount Vernon District police station.

Should have called her afterall.


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