B-b-b-b-bike C-c-c-commuting, Ow!

It somehow seems unfair that global climate change would bring about vast changes in weather patterns that result in me having to bike commute in blustery 20 degree weather before Thanksgiving. After all, climate change is all about MEEE!

Out of bed and on the floor. Back exercises as usual. I had my full range of motion. I mixed in some yoga stretches. (I recently saw some pictures of yogis doing basic balancing poses. I can’t balance a check book. Not gonna happen.)  When I was done my back felt normal.

I was ready for the worst the weather gods could throw my way. Here’s what I wore:

Torso: Base layer + t-shirt + holey wool sweater + Marmot Precip jacket

Legs: Decade old mountain bike shorts + wool blend socks to just below the knee + Marmot Precip pants

Feet: Wool blend socks + Lake Mountain bike shoes + Performance fleece lined over boots

Head: Neck gaiter + watch cap

Hands: new performance lobster gloves

Bike commuting in the cold is easy as pie if you have the right clothing. I’ve accumulated all sorts of stuff over the last 10 or 15 years. Admittedly I am a fashion disaster but I’d rather be comfy than chic.

After about a mile I was toasty. My finger tips were cold on and off throughout the ride but I could wiggle them to warm them up. The rest of me was fine.

My over boots have a solid rubber bottom that keeps my feet dry when I walk into my backyard to get my bike when the grass is wet. I don’t want to cut them so that my cleats will show through so I rode The Mule which has platform pedals and rat traps.

I was cruising along fine. The Mount Vernon Trail was all but unoccupied. Near National Airport I came down a slight decline and there is was: ICE. Eek! I froze, figuratively, stood on my pedals, and glided over the 20-yard-long patch. I didn’t slide a bit. Yay, me.

Around Gravelly Point I was hit with a strong headwind all the way to Rosslyn. I started grinding away. This was not a good idea. I made it to work, locked up my bike, and headed to the fitness center. I sat down on a bench, stood up, and my back went out.


Fuck me.

All day I was stretching my legs and swaying like I was at an Elbow concert trying to free my back up. All day the spasm came and went, turning my back into a Z from time to time.

I could call the wife or the boy for a ride home but that would mean surrender. Not gonna do it.

My co-worker Kelly gave me a sense of how cold it was outside. When people dress like this, it’s cold.



And, of course, I rode home. It was actually pretty comfortable. The idea of dismounting wasn’t very appealing. I saw a half dozen ninjas along my journey home. A couple were dressed entirely in black. What the hell are these idiots thinking. One man came out of a porta potty at Gravelly Point dressed from the hat on his head to his shoes in black. I yelled as I passed “I can’t see you.” I yelled this at everyone else. I passed a cyclist heading in my direction. No lights. The only reflectors were on his pedals. I wanted to stop and give him the blinky lights that Pete Beers had given me at Friday Coffee Club. This, however, would have meant dismounting. And dismounting wasn’t going to happen.

For about five miles my fingers were cold but somehow they warmed up and stayed warm. A few bumps along the way sent shocks through my back but for 95 percent of the ride I was spinning slowly in comfort. Go figure.

After I arrived at home I did what everyone with back spasms does. I dropped things. My glove. My camera. My glasses case. Ugh.

I ended my day popping muscle relaxants and applying ice to my back. Ahhh. Oh, and I packed for my bike commute tomorrow. I’m either and optimist or a fool.


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