The Snowman and the Mule

My back bothered me all day yesterday.Nevertheless, I decided to give bike commuting a try this morning. Dressing wasn’t a whole lot of fun but I got out the door bundled up for the 22 degree start. Once I got on the Mule I was fine.

I was a little concerned about ice on the Mount Vernon Trail so I walked the first icy patch on the Dyke Marsh bridge. I could have ridden it as it turns out. Just before re-mounting I spotted a little snow man perched on one of the posts on the boardwalk.


Whenever I have to deal with extreme cold or rain or wind, I approach the ride with a sense of dread. Far more often than not the ride ends up being just as much fun as on a nice day. Today was no different. Once I was back underway, I fell into my usual morning bike commute trance.

I modified my route to avoid some icy spots. It wasn’t until I reached the 14th Street Bridge 12 miles from home that I encountered one that looked troublesome. I rode it without trouble, but just seeing the ice made me tense up. Just south of the Memorial Bridge I came upon about 50 yards of serious ice. I tried riding past it on the grass but my wheels sunk in. Dismounting was pretty painful.

There was quite a bit of ice on the TR Bridge boardwalk. I rode the entire thing trying not to tense up as I did.

I used a head pad on my back during the day. This seemed to loosen things up.

After work I went to the new Heavy Seas Ale House to have a drink with fellow bike blogger Tinlizzie. The beer was good and the conversation even better. She pointed out Bike Arlington’s Tim Kelley and I introduced myself. Later, I met Suzie, who works with TInLizzie. Suzie wants to start bike commuting from Alexandria to Rosslyn. Allow me to be of service!

We talked a lot about what bike she should buy. What route to take. What things to avoid (aggressive gearing). What she would need (lock, method of carrying stuff). I neglected to mention the Circle of Death. (Everything in its proper place.)

After two pints of beer on an empty stomach, I began the long journey home. As soon as I left the garage I was hit by a powerful wind. Dang. And I was in the middle of a traffic jam. Dang again. And the wind was swirling. Dang dang dang.

Once I cleared the high rises and made it to the Mount Vernon Trail the wind straightened out and gave me a nice, steady tailwind. Most of the ice from the morning was gone. I was a little wobbly for the first 7 or 8 miles but I steadied for the second half of the commute. And my back felt fine the entire way home. Go figure

My only regret about riding home was that I had my back to a meteor in the night sky.

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