Frozen, Stood Up, and Backed Out

I’ve been bugging my friend Flor to get together with me before she takes off for warmer climes for the holidays. She suggested that she could come to Friday Coffee Club. Not a bad idea. I didn’t quite know how it would work though. She told me previously that she starts work at 7:30. Friday Coffee Club doesn’t get started until 7:45 or so. I figured I’d better get there really early.

This meant getting up REALLY early, as in 5:30. I stepped outside to get the newspaper and it was breezy and cold. Was it cold enough for my winter commuting garb? Yes, indeed!  I decided to break out my holey sweater and mittens.

At 6:15, fortified with a bowl of Cheerios and feeling a pow-pow-powerful good-good feeling,  I hit the road on Little Nellie. In the dark. And into a headwind. Ugh.

If I was going to get to Friday Coffee Club before 7:30 I was going to have to ride hard. Into the big ring went my chain. And I started hammering away. The harder I pedaled the more headwind I seemed to encounter. So frustrating! Pedal harder still. Ugh.

I should have known that things weren’t going to work out when I was passed by an on-coming cyclists wearing a gorilla mask and a frilly pink ballerina skirt. I kid you not. Poor guy probably had frozen bike commuter brain syndrome (FBCBS to my medical professional friends).

Over the river via the 14th Street bridge and into the city I rode, cranking that big ring for all it was worth, and it wasn’t worth much. Ugh.

At Constitution and 15th with the walk signal illuminated in my favor, I started to ride across the street in the crosswalk . A dump truck driver turning right on red from Constitution onto 15th had other ideas. He apparently wanted cyclist guts on his bumper. I screamed at him and he stopped before hitting me. Ugh..

I pedaled lickety split(-ish) up the 15th Street cycletrack and past the White House. I arrived at Friday Coffee Club where I found Reba, Beth, and Brook sitting outside. “You are insane!” said I. Then I bought some coffee and joined them.

We talked and tried to ignore the cold. From time to time I craned my neck to see if Flor was sitting inside the coffee shop. Then I decided to send her a text. This was her response:

“I am at home in my pjs.”




Truth be told, in seven years I have known her I have never heard her utter the word “hate” or the f-word except when it was followed by “cold weather.” She really, truly cannot stand it. In a previous life she was proably a reptile.

As time passed more people showed up. They were awesome. The conversation was awesome. We didn’t even notice the cold. Okay, Reba did, but she somehow kept her teeth from clattering which we all appreciated. Later in the day, we even learned that she had signed up for the Cider Ride in December.

Time flies when your freezing to death. At 8:40 I stood to leave It was actually colder and windier than when I arrived. Holy bejebus!.

I headed down G Street to Rosslyn.  A black limo tried to take me out.  I watched an SUV, run a stop sign in front of me. The driver never saw the sign. Fortunately no cross traffic got in its way. Crossing Virginia Avenue two cyclists were coming straight at me on my side of the street. Something or someone was trying to tell me “This is not your day.”

I avoided the cyclists and made my way to the TR bridge over the Potomac River to get back into Virginia. The cross wind was fierce making it “MOTHER OF GAWD” cold. I could be home in my pjs! I should be home in my pjs!

I rode up the hill in Rosslyn. An Arlington police officer stood his chilly ground to discourage bad behavior. I watched a cyclists cross against the light. The cop did nothing. Then as I was turning left to cross the I-66 off ramp, an SUV blew the red light to make a right turn, just missing me. The traffic cop said nothing. He was an equal opportunity incompetent.

I slalomed through the pedestrians along the sidewalk, turned into my office’s garage, parked my bike and then my back started to go out. You gotta be effing kidding me.

I made it up to my office and began the day’s paid work. I found some vitamin I in my desk and had a couple. In an hour my back began to feel better. In another hour feeling returned to my toes.  By four I was ready to do battle with the weather gods once more.

The car I had dropped off for service yesterday was ready for pick up. So all I had to do was ride Little Nellie up a half mile steep hill in freezing cold weather with a sore back. Not ideal but the alternatives were non existent.

I was dreading this ride like you would not believe. So of course, it was painfree and actually kind of fun. The wind had died down. Climbing the hill generated some much needed body heat. 1 ½ miles later I pulled into the mechanic’s parking lot. This was way better than a 15 mile ride home.

So the first truly cold day is in the books. I didn’t freeze to death or get hit by any large metal objects. Success!  I am looking forward to doing battle with Tuesday. Forecast high: 34 degrees. Winds WNW 21 mph.


I’m doomed.

2 thoughts on “Frozen, Stood Up, and Backed Out

  1. John – glad we got to chat over java in the cold. Flor should be so ashamed for leading you on a FridayCoffeeClub early shift quest for naught. 😉

    p.s Check out bikecommutography when you have a chance.

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