The Last Bike Commute

Today was the last day of autumn. At 11:49 tonight DC goes into winter. Tomorrow there has less than one second of daylight than today. Wednesday we pull on the rope and say “Screw you, South America” and pull the sun back.

Or something like that.

I am working from home or taking vacation days until 2016 so I am done with bike commuting for the year. Unofficially, I’ve ridden to work 160 times this year. Not half bad considering I took more vacation and teleworked more than ever before. So this was the year that I drove to work the least since I moved to Fairfax County in 1989.

As I left for work, I momentarily panicked. I couldn’t find the battery for my headlight. Then I remembered that my new headlight also can be run off the battery for my old headlight. Yessss!

The morning was comfortably cold. As the sun rose the temperature followed and my base layer became noticeably wet. Traffic on the Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail was predictably light. I cut a little off my commute by taking Royal Street through Old Town. I could do this safely because St. Mary’s School of the Holy SUV was closed so I didn’t have to deal with its drop off line.

The willow trees across from the Washington Monument are losing their now yellow leaves. Yellow and gray.


It was a nice ride so I didn’t complain. The office bike commuter matrix was all full of non-complainers. (Of course, Kelly was out of town so that may be why.)

Today's office #bikecommute matrix. No complaints. #dust = 59!

The ride home was much warmer. I took my time. My bike commute is so nice I really wanted to milk the last one for all it was worth. The trail work on the Mount Vernon Trail is really taking shape. Pavement went down today. It is only a matter of a few more days before the detours are removed and we get to ride on the new, straighter and wider trail.

Pavement #mvt #bikedc #bikeva

I moseyed on down to Old Town where the trail meets the city streets. The stop sign where the trail meets the street had a new addition.

I New sign #mvt #oldtownalexandria Passive aggressive citywas happy to see this because it proves my point that the city is biased against bicyclists. I have never seen a sign that shows a picture of a car with the words “must obey all <STOP sign>”.

As I rode the length of Union Street through Old Town I counted the cars at stop signs. Sure enough, 7 of 8 rolled through the stop signs.

After another five miles, I pulled into my yard. Another year of bike commuting under my belt. One of these days I’m going to ride to work and then not stop. Just keep going until I hit the blue Pacific waters. Could that happen in 2016?



6 thoughts on “The Last Bike Commute

  1. Nice post and willow tree! I really relate to this. There’s something so very human about nostalgia. This is my last ride of the year. Last breakfast. Last whiskey. And so forth. Does the dog get nostalgic about the lamppost? The bird and its nest before migration? I digress!

    Sometimes, many times, the ride to work is so great I too dream of riding on, way past the office, through London’s congested streets, to the leafy lanes and finally the sea.

  2. I often use my commutes as more than commuting. My 12 mile commute to work often becomes 30! Those are the days I’m most productive. I saw a research thing done on cars vs bikes at stop signs (I think from Seattle or Portland) and it was dead even on non-stops. I wonder why the perception is that were such notorious violators?/

    1. I do too. I sometimes go into DC to meet with friends or go to Nats games. This adds 3 to 6 miles to my 30 mile commute. And I too have heard that cyclists are no more likely to violate traffic laws than cars. Enforcement should be targeted at minimizing harm. Cars cause much more harm than bikes during collisions.

      1. I like the so called Idaho stop laws where stop signs are treated, by law, as yield signs by cyclists and red lights as normal stop signs

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