Career Advice and Bike Commuting

Today’s bike commute began like most others with one big exception. Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent, got the call for the first time this year. Whenever I switch from one bike to another it takes me a while to adapt to feel of the new bike.

Riding Big Nellie is so different from riding The Mule that riding it seems like a different sport entirely. It’s more like pedaling a luge sled than biking. Riding up hill on a recumbent is tedious. Obviously, you can’t stand up to gain leverage. The steering is so sensitive compared to a conventional bike that you can’t use your arms. And for some reason, if you mash the pedals your knees will self destruct. The only remaining option is to spin like a maniac. It helps to have clipless pedals. On a recumbent the pedals are not below your torso, they are in front of your torso. Without clipless pedals you end up exerting a good deal of energy just keeping your feet in contact with the pedals.

In the past it could take several days to get my bent legs. Nowadays, having ridden the bike over 37,800 miles, my legs instantly adapt. The first few miles went by like a flash. This was especially true for the downhill on Park Terrace Drive. I can reach 35 miles per hour without too much effort. It feels much more like luge than cycling.

There was a light coating of ice on the boardwalk over Dyke Marsh on the Mount Vernon Trail. I very carefully slowed to check out the sunrise.


I like the sunbeam.

After my little respite I had 12 more miles to go. The heads up position of riding a recumbent makes bald eagle watching much easier. Unfortunately I didn’t see any today. The crisp morning air made up for the lack of raptors though.

I made it through the Rosslyn Intersection of Doom unscathed. I rolled down the sidewalk to my office building. Just as I was about to turn left into the garage, a big, black BMW turned off the road and directly in front of me. I went to take my feet off the pedals but nothing happened. I forgot I was clipped in. Eek. I didn’t panic, stayed upright and extricated my feet from the pedals just before t-boning the BMW.  It turns out the driver was the head of the agency. My boss’s boss. Career advice: never t-bone the boss’s boss’s car with your bike.

Fortunately he had a good sense of humor about the incident.

I still have a job to ride my bike to.

So today’s lesson: don’t t-bone the boss’s car. It’s bad form.

The ride home involved no t-boning incidents. I learn fast.

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