My round trip normal bike commute is about 29 miles give or take an odometer and depending on my route. This isn’t the longest bike commute in the DMV (that’s local hipster speak for the DC area) but it’s plenty long if you are 60 years old. Trust me. Not that I’d ever own up to being 60 (unless it gets me a pity discount, then I’m nearly 61).
Today’s bike commute was only 4 1/2 miles. No, I didn’t move and, no, my office didn’t send me to work at the strip mall near my house. Today I took my daughter’s car to the mechanic for its 5,000 mile/2-year oil change. Basically, the car has been a curb ornament since we bought it. She was studying abroad for a year and Delta charges a fortune for small Subarus.
I drove her car to my mechanic in North Arlington, about 2 miles from work. Little Nellie was in the trunk. (Don’t you think “boot” is a better word than “trunk”?) After dropping the car off I took to the mean streets so that I could follow an unprotected bike lane all the way to my office. About 1/2 mile into this trek, I ran into (figuratively of course) Elizabeth who works for Arlington County in some sort of transit promo capacity. She is a bike commuter with a sewing habit. She writes about both in her blog She’s infinitely more creative than me.
(Digression No. 1: Despite the fact that her blog title uses the name Lizzie, Elizabeth prefers not to be called Liz or Lizzie. She goes by Elizabeth. Which is only mildly confusing since there is a Friday Coffee Clubber named Elisabeth who goes by Lis. My fusiform gyrus hurts.)
(Digression No. 2: I should clarify that I took my daughter’s car to my mechanic not Elizabeth’s husband. She calls him “The Mechanic.” I don’t know if this is because he can fix things or because he looks like Charles Bronson. )
Elizabeth she works a couple of blocks uphill from my office so I did her regular commute with her. We talked a bit, as much as you can while dodging big metal things. Along the way, I was cut off four times my cars veering to or turning to the right across the bike lane. None of the four signaled. (Later, while driving home a driver with Massachusetts vanity plates – a sure sign of a Masshole – veered into my lane. I happened to be in the space he was veering into so I was forced into the oncoming travel lane. I’ll keep my bike commute, thank you very much.) This was very unSwedish of them.
On my return trip to the mechanic, I chose to ride through the Intersection of Doom and take the Custis Trail rather than deal with the more direct route on Arlington’s streets. I did return to the streets for about a mile. A block from the mechanic’s I had to bail onto the sidewalk because a shuttle bus and a Honda SUV had made contact. The shuttle bus won. No one was hurt.
Tomorrow, I go back to the 29-mile grind. I won’t be seeing Elizabeth but with any sort of luck I’ll see one of my regulars: Chris M. or Lawyer Mike or Bob-Don’t-Call-Me-Rachel or Running Mom or the Trash Walker or The Hoppy Runner or the Three Step Runner or maybe even Nancy One-Shed Duley.