As the weather warms, I am grateful to have my two-wheeled psycotherapist to turn to each day that we spend social distancing. On Sunday, I broke free and did my first 40-mile ride in a couple of months. All it takes is a day off the bike and a switch to my CrossCheck and I’m all rambunctious. I think wearing shorts helps too.
The best part about Sunday’s jaunt was the fact that I could ride on roads that normally would be filled with cars piloted by maniacs. One segment of the ride involved taking Washington Boulevard from the Pentagon to the Memorial Bridge, counterclockwise around the Lincoln Memorial, down Constitution Avenue past the Capitol then back along Independence Avenue to the Memorial Bridge. If I had done this during any normal time period, I’d be posting this from a morgue.
I had so much fun on that ride that I rode another 40 miler on Monday. This one took me south to beautiful Lorton, Virginia. Once home to DC’s prison, Lorton now is filled with townhouses and strip malls. I am uncertain if the new Lorton is an improvement over the old one. The ride was filled with hills but my legs somehow didn’t care. Along the way I spotted this interesting bit of timely lawn adornment.
On Tuesday, I made myself useful by mowing the lawn. I followed that up with a 20-mile ride which involved some shopping along the way in Old Town, Alexandria. I ordered a book for “contactless pickup” from a new independent book seller called Old Town Books. (Ironically, it is across a alley from the site of one of my favorite book sellers (Ollson’s) which is now a saloon.
On the way home I passed under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on South Royal Street in Alexandria. I wish I had my phone out to take a picture of the weight lifter walking his barbell. I kid you not. The thing had two massive weight plates on either side. He was pushing the bar with his foot. It rolled along like he was walking his dog.
Today was a weather masterpiece. Just perfect riding. Off I went to DC this time via Rosslyn, Virginia. Instead of taking the Mount Vernon Trail I opted for Route 110, a four-lane divided highway that is normally filled with speeding traffic. The very wide paved shoulder gave out just before the turn off to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Piece of cake.
A block after passing my old office building in Rosslyn, I was stunned to see the months-long reworking of Lynn Street at the Intersection of Doom. The renovations include restricted parking in the block preceding the intersection. At the intersection itself there is a new bike lane (alas unprotected) and a much wider side walk.
I took the picture above from a protected bump out. It used to be a through lane mostly filled with taxis and ubers. The travel lanes are normally stuffed with cars and buses.
Just ahead in the picture is Key Bridge, the Potomac River crossing into Georgetown. I rode in the street and exited onto Whitehurst Freeway. Weee!. Unbothered by the eight cars that passed me, I continued into downtown on K Street. This would be suicide on any normal day but today it was fun. I even rode the tunnel under Washington Circle.
Eventually I turned off K and headed home. I took 11th Street to the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes. Backtracking to 15th Street, I came upon a DC city work truck cutting across the bike lanes. It turned, stopped atop the park-it barriers that protect the bike lanes, then rumbled across. The driver had to know it was illegal. Light traffic means bad driving: illegal turns, speeding, weaving across lanes. Riding in light traffic is fun but you have to have your head on a swivel.
While riding home I passed the economy lot at National Airport. The lot holds something over 2,600 cars. Today I think there were ten or fifteen using it. It was eerie looking.
A mile or so from home, I stopped at the drug store to get my asthma medicine refill. I bought some odds and ends (the store had two other customers so no worries about distancing) along with the medicine. When I got home, I noticed that the store clerk had left some shaving cream I bought out of my bag. I was pretty gassed after another 40-mile day but I rode back to the pharmacy to get the missing item. I arrived home knackered after a 42 1/2 mile psycotherapy session.
I am getting a rebate on my car insurance thanks to the shut down. I wonder if my health insurer will cut me a break for reduced therapy claims. No. That’s crazy talk.