The Limits of Lobster Gloves

I have two pairs of lobster gloves. I have determined that one pair is useless for its intended purpose of keeping my fingers warm. My older pair has rough edges where the different fabrics are stitched together so I haven’t used them in a while. I broke them out for today’s ride and for temps in the 30-45 degree range they seem to be pretty good.

I rode LIttle Nellie over to the scene of my crash.  No ice anywhere. No blood either. It’s all good. I made my way over to the Mount Vernon Trail to see if that’s in good shape.  My left knee was still a little stiff from the crash but by the time I made it to the MVT, all was back to normal. The same can be said of the trail, all clear, even the wooden bridges, all the way to Old Town and beyond. There was plenty of ice in Dyke Marsh and along the river’s edge. Ice is pretty, except when you crash on it.

I rode to the short wooden bridge on the MVT in Jones Point Park.  It’s still blocked off, but repairs are well underway. It should be re-opened in a day or two. A runner came up behind me and asked me if she could get around it. I turned to talk to her and jeez louise was she pretty. Suddenly, I realized how much I miss running.

We assessed the situation  – with the bridge, that is. I decide to reverse course. The runner went for it walking around the bridge, over a log in the little streamlet, and out the other side. I stayed in case she fell and need assistance from a middle aged lech. No dice.

I found the unpaved access point to the adjacent neighborhood on South Lee Street. It’s unpaved to discourage bicyclists from using it. This is yet another example of how Alexandria’s Bicycle Friendly Community award is premature. The unpaved portion has loose stones and is about 20 yards long.  Paving it could not have been a money issue. They just don’t want bikes using it.

I made my way past the power plant and looped back to Slaters Lane. There I took the bike lane to US 1. That took me to the new Potomac Avenue all the way to Crystal City.  At the middle of Crystal City I took the access path under the railroad right of way back to the MVT and headed south.

At the south end of the airport, I took the Four Mile Run Trail back to the west side of US 1.  I worked my way over to Commonwealth Avenue and, eventually, to a traffic light at Del Ray Boulevard.  A shiny, black two-seater Mercedes was waiting at the red light. The car cost a bundle but its driver had a ten-cent head. I took a position behind and to its left in order to make a left turn onto Del Ray. The Mercedes had pulled up past the stop line and the sensors that tell the light that a car is coming from our direction. We waited a full cycle without getting our turn. The dummy in the Mercedes didn’t realize he needed to back up. An SUV came up behind us and stopped over the sensor freeing us from our electronic trap.

Of course, in a bona fide Bicycle Friendly Community these sensors are set so that a bicycle will activate them.  Not in Alexandria.

Riding down narrow Del Ray Boulevard I was followed by a church van. The engine was making a lot of noise that indicated the driver was getting impatient with me.  Once we cleared the busy section of the street, I was expecting him to roar by me, but he went by at a normal speed. Thanks, sir. A few blocks later, I could hear a car coming up behind me. The driver beeped, not all that loudly, as he began to pass me. I shook my head and looked at him over my shoulder. We stopped at a light, both of us in a left turn lane, he in front of me. He rolled down his window and started to explain what he was doing. (Dude, your actions on the road should be self evident. If you have to explain yourself, you’ve probably screwed up.) I told him “Don’t beep your horn at a cyclist, all your going to do is startle me. I heard you before you beeped.” Then the passenger’s side window came down and I started hearing from the passenger. It wasn’t an acrimonious exchange though.  I was just trying to educate the ignorant.  I doubt they understood.

Back through Old Town where I ran a red light after waiting too long. Once again my bike would not activate the sensor. Next it was onto the US 1 connector trail and up Fort Hunt Road. Now I was south of the beltway making my way up a couple of hills.  Life was good. Fort Hunt Road is one poorly designed road though. Shoulders and parking and turn lanes come and go at random.  I was coming down the second hill on a narrow, shoulderless stretch. Cars were going about the speed limit and passing me when on-coming traffic allowed. Then HOOOONNKKK!  A white pick up with a cap on the back roared past me. I had used up all my tolerance for stupid drivers in Del Ray and yelled “F&%k You” at the pick up. The passenger side window came down and the passenger flipped me off. My attempt to return digital fire was sadly thwarted by my lobster gloves.

My 24 mile Sunday ride ended pathetically. One day, I will invent a lobster glove that allows for bird flipping and I will make millions.

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