Welcome Winter

We have had an exceptionally warm winter so far here in the DC area. That ended today. And wouldn’t you know it, today was the first bike commute of the new year.

Nothing says fun like riding into a headwind when it is 28 degrees outside.

And so I did.

After about three miles I was comfortable. I was also protected by trees and short buildings in Old Town Alexandria. After a while my fingertips started feeling cold. And my toes. Then “Hi, John!” It was Linel.

We talked for a while. Or tried to. It’s hard to hold a conversation while riding, with your ears covered, in a headwind.

About that headwind. It got stronger as the tree protection fell away. Linel and I swapped leads. When we came to the exposed area just north of the airport, I took the lead. Oof!

Linel turned off to go across the 14th Street Bridge. I proceeded into the headwind.

Pedal, pedal.

I took the trail bridge across the Parkway. I was about 15 feet up and the headwind was now a cross wind. Whoa! (It turns out that Linel was exposed to this crosswind for about 1/2 mile. Not much fun.)

Damage report. All decks.

I arrived at work with numb toes. The shower I took made them burn.

The ride home was a ride on a tailwind. I didn’t struggle. I just went with the flow. Bikes passed me. Fast. I didn’t care. A tailwind is a terrible thing to waste.

Near the Memorial Bridge, large gaggles (weird word that) of Canada geese were bumbling about on either side of the trail. The trail was covered in geese poo. Lovely. Honk your own self.

It was cold but with the wind at my back I was surprisingly comfortable. And in a good mood. Until I reached Old Town Alexandria.

At the first cross street, a car made a u-turn across the trail as I was riding past. The driver could have continued 100 feet and used the circular turnaround in front of some office buildings. Instead the driver decided to take a chance on running me over. This happens all the time for some reason.

A quarter mile later I was in the bike lane on North Union Street in Old Town. A car was parked perpendicular to the curb completely blocking the bike lane. It was parked at 406 North Union. This is a frequent occurrence. I was cold so I didn’t stop to take a picture or knock on the door. I did note that the license plate was Virginia J 3. This sounds like a well-connected individual. The house is worth well over $1 million. When I got home, I called the Alexandria Police. They took my information and said they’d check it out. In light of the fact that Union Street is patrolled by a parking enforcement person every night, I suspect that the city looks the other way at resident parking scofflaws with deep pockets.  Call me cynical, but I doubt anything will change. Except I will keep complaining to the police, because it’s a bicycle friendly city. It says so on a sign.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful. Cold but uneventful. Tomorrow will be colder still. I will be wearing hiking boots with chemical foot warmers inside. Tights under wind pants. An additional layer up top. A balaclava will complete my stylish look. I hope I can pedal under all the clothing I’ll have on.

Of course, I could drive or work from home.

Except nothing says fun like riding into a headwind when it is 18 degrees outside.


One thought on “Welcome Winter

  1. When the temperatures reach below freezing I adjust my layers based more on the wind speed than on air temperature. I’ve been caught off guard in the past when I dressed for 10 degrees but didn’t factor in the 20 mph winds. I’ve found I can dress for any temp.

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