No Name Tour: It’s Not Rocket Science

After a week and a half, I welcomed a knock on the door this morning. Christmas in July. The Mule is home.


I took it out of the box and started putting it together. Some of the hardware, the screws for the water bottle cages and the front rack, as well as a proprietary part for mounting the front fender, was missing. I reassembled the bike and took it to my local bike store to have them finish it off.

I was planning on taking it to the shop anyway. In addition to the final touches for the reassembly, they are putting on a new front derailler (the old one has had shifting issues for over a year), new fenders, new bar tape, and a new water bottle cage (one of the old ones broke in Nevada). They will also tweak my brakes and true my rear wheel. By this time next week, I should be back in the saddle.


Last night I rode into DC to attend my second happy hour this week with Jessica who is back in town for a few months. We used to work together. She’s been travelling in South America for the last year. Many of her wanderings have been unplanned. Maybe I should do a bike tour like that.

While I was at the happy hour, some people in DC held a protest/vigil in a small park on Pennsylvania Avenue just a few blocks from the White House. After the happy hour, I headed over to the park to see the site of a crash that killed two men who were sitting on a park bench. It took me a while to figure out how the car managed to hit them. Suffice it to say that the driver either had murderous intent or he was impaired beyond human comprehension. High speed fatal crashes are happening in DC with sickening frequency.

Next I headed to the national Mall to check out a very cool event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. For the last few nights the image of a Saturn 5 rocket has been projected on the Washington Monument. It’s actually a video (you can see the vapor venting from the rocket). I waited until 9:30 for the image to appear. I was one of perhaps 10 or 20,000 people on the Mall. I found being in a crowd like that very unsettling. Tonight and tomorrow night the image will lift off. Too bad I’ll miss it. Then again, I saw the real thing on TV live back in 1969.

I rode home in the dark, something I really enjoy, except for the spider webs and the ninjas on the Mount Vernon Trail. (I nearly hit one.) Passing through a neighborhood closer to home I had a close encounter with a fawn standing across the middle of the narrow road.




Clipless in Old Town

The weather the last couple of days has been raw. Cold. Wet. Windy. Not a lot of fun. I rode to work yesterday in a cold rain. The workday wasn’t much better. The ride home was an improvement over the morning but not by much. I spent the evening watching the Nationals get their first win of the year. I was at home, parked in front of the TV with junk food and beer. It was therapeutic.

The ride to work was a replay of the ride home last night. Cold. A little windy. No mas. At least the workday went okay. I had wanted to swing by the cherry blossoms on the way home but the threat of rain put me off. I rode into a cold headwind straight home. At the intersection of Union and King Streets in Old Town a bunch of bicycle folks from Alexandria were holding up signs and encouraging bicyclists to come to a stop at the stop sign. As I rode by one of them said, “That’s Rootchopper.” My hobo attire and Bike Friday gave me away I suppose. I recognized Randy, the last person in line just before the stop sign. I stuck my hand out for a high five which he gave me with appropriate vigor. Then I spazzed.

I went to stop and my foot wouldn’t unclip from my pedal. This is the second time in a week. The last time was with different shoes and a different bike. In any event, a full stop at the stop sign would have meant a very embarrassing and painful fall. Fortunately there were no pedestrians or cars in the way so I wobbled to my right, a few feet up King Street still unable to unclip. I did a u-turn and finally the foot came free.  I think I need new cleats. Doh.

Embarassed by both running the stop sign and spasmotically riding through the intersection I continued on my way home. I swear I stopped at all the stop signs and lights the rest of the way. Really.

I hope that the rest of my night is better. When I was a freshman in college, I lived with the Boston U. hockey team. They went all the way to the championship game in the NCAAs and lost. (They won it all the next year.) Tonight they play in the Frozen Four semifinals. If they win they go to the finals. In Boston Garden. Against Providence College. Fingers crossed! Pass the chips and beer. Go BU!