A Sure Sign of Spring

After a week off the bike, I was dying to get outside on a warm-ish spring day. So I headed to DC to check out the cherry blossoms. I figured with the nice weather I’d probably run into some of my new bike buddies. Six miles from home, Ted and Jean came rolling by. Jean didn’t spot me and kept riding but Ted turned around and we talked for several minutes, as Jean faded into the distance.

After our chat, I rolled northward through hoards of tourists in Old Town Alexandria. On bike touristy days, the Mount Vernon Trail is usually a nightmare of clueless out-of-towners riding painfully slowly, stopping in the middle of the trail or doing button hooks. Today was not so bad. I made it to DC on Little Nellie in about an hour.

At Gravelley Point I spotted the first sign of spring: a bike tourist on her way up the coast. The Mount Vernon Trail is part of US Bicycle Route 1, the Eastcoast Greenway and Adventure Cycling’s Atlantic Coast and Potomac Highlands routes. Bike tourists are always interesting to talk with and Courtney was no exception. She’s on her way from Charleston SC to Maine where she will begin a J-O-B. (How we hate that word!)  Good lick Courtney. Great talking with you.

Courtney the Bike Tourist - Take Me With You!!!!!
Courtney the Bike Tourist – Take Me With You!!!!!

While talking with Courtney I looked across the Potomac River and I could see that the cherry blossoms were not yet in bloom. I rode to DC anyway to check out the scene. The city was SWARMING with tourists!!!!  In addition to people wandering around the Tidal Basin in a vain search for a white bloom, there were mobs of people wanding the National Mall where the annual kite festival was going on. The crowds were no doubt made bigger by the fact that March Madness is residing at the Verizon Center just a few blocks north of the mall. It amazes me that people actually drive their cars to the mall on a day like today. I followed a car with Louisiana plates for the better part of a mile along the mall. Dude, dump the car. It’s useless!

After dodging my 1,233rd tourist, I got in line with a Segway tour and made an escape on 14th Street. Once over the bridge, I was treated to a tailwind on the Mount Vernon Trail. I saw a woman on a bike with her handlebar basket over flowing with flowers. It’s Easter weekend or she’s got a hot date. Or maybe she’s biking to a wake. Who knows.

Not far from where I saw them earlier, I came upon Ted and Jean again. We stopped and chatted across the Parkway from the Belle Haven bald eagle nest. As we did, Ted spotted a red tailed hawk in a nearby tree. The bird took to the wing and gave us a nice show. Jean showed off her new bike, a red Specialized beauty. Bike envy!!!

Shortly after seeing Ted and Jean I left the Mount Vernon Trail and headed up the Park Terrace hill. A man wearing bunny ears was posing for a photo with his kids in their front yard. He asked me if I was going to make it to the top of the hill and I said I was (I wasn’t even out of breath). I don’t think he realized how silly he looked with the ears on his head.

I stopped at Sherwood Hall Gourmet to pick up a Gary’s Lunchbox, my favorite sammich. After lunch, I changed the rear tube on Little Nellie. My rear tube has had a slow leak for over a month. I pulled the tube out, inflated it, and tried to find the leak. No dice. I spent 15 minutes listening and running my hand over the tube. I gave up and put a new tube in. I suspect the old one has a leaky valve.

Another sign of spring is yardwork. I spent 2 hours after lunch pulling purple weeds out of my gardens beds and my lawn.  Even with annoying yard work, spring is way better than winter.

Some more pix of the day’s events here.

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