A Respite from Winter

It was over 40 degrees when I headed out aboard Big Nellie this morning. There was barely a trace of the nasty ice and snow we’d been treated to for the past several days. I drove to work a rare three days in a row because of all the slippery stuff and, as a result, it took me a long time to get loaded and on the bike. One of my secrets to bike commuting success is having all my clothes and gear ready to go in the morning. Fail.

With fresh legs and a warm tail wind the ride in was effortless. One reason I like commuting in the late winter is that I arrive at Dyke Marsh as the sun rises. It rarely disappoints.

Dyke Marsh Sunrise

The National Park Service has been busy recently replacing some of the boards on the Dyke Marsh boardwalk. It looks like a piano with light colored boards interspersed with dark, weathered wood. I think it would be cool if notes played as you rode over them. And, no, I did not have hash brownies for breakfast.

I had little difficulty maintaining decent speed until I came to Jones Point Park. Near the river the Park Service had erected an electric sign warning that the trail was closed ahead. I back tracked to South Lee Street and made my way through Old Town. Lee Street ends at a parking lot that actually goes through to the continuation of the Mount Vernon Trail on the north side of Old Town. I rode through the lot and stopped to take a picture of the demolition of the Sheet Metal Association Building. Regular trail users will remember this as the tiered building clad in ugly green sheet metal. It was a monument for why noone with good taste would ever put sheet metal on the exterior of an office building. All the sheet metal is gone and crews were busy jackhammering the concrete, with chunks falling near the trail.

Sheet Metal Building

After taking the picture I had to lift Big Nellie over a rope that served to deter cyclists from cutting through this parking lot. I made sure to get lots of dirt chain wax on the rope.

The rest of the ride in was uneventful but for an oddity near the airport. A man in full cycling gear was sitting on a rolling yellow suitcase next to the trail at the southern flyover bridge. He didn’t have a bicycle so why was he in cycling clothing? Did he fly into town wearing cycling clothing.

Temperatures rose throughout the day, peaking at 70 degrees just after lunch. No need for a holey sweater or booties for the ride home. And it was daylight for more than a third of the ride!!!  The trail was crowded though. Runners and walkers and dogs on leashes and bikes and kids on their trikes and babies in strollers!!! What an obstacle course.

By the time I reached Old Town it was plenty dark and I was running all my lights as usual. The bridge in Jones Point Park was repaired so I rode through that section. Certain places, usually lower lying, often don’t get the memo about the unseasonably warm temperatures. You’re riding along feeling all comfy then you get hit with a cold slap in the face.

The last 3 1/2 miles on the MVT were the usual ride into blinding headlights. Sometimes I feel like standing along the edge of the Parkway and shining my the light on my helmet into the drivers’ eyes.There were at least six times when I could see absolutely nothing except the blazing headlights of cars. This will only last a few more weeks though. Of course, I am certain to find something else to bitch about. I ride, therefore, I crab.





3 thoughts on “A Respite from Winter

  1. Some of us DO turn out lights out toward cars if those cars have their bright lights on. =). I especially do it when they have bright lights on between Slaters and the airport because there are no bigger animals that will be jumping across the street so they’re just annoying other drivers and trail users.

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