I Bike and I Vote

Today was a pretty nice day to be a bike commuter. On the way to work Little Nellie asked me to take her picture at Dyke Marsh. So I did.

Foggy day on #mvt #dykemarsh

I don’t remember much about getting to work. That’s a good sign though. It means I was in my trance.

My body hasn’t adjusted to standard time yet. I woke up at 5:25 and my body said, “Let’s get going.” This meant that I could leave work a little early. About a mile from the office I spotted the Washington Monument bathed in a faint red glow so I stopped and took another picture.

DC aglow #mvt

I wasn’t planning on voting today. I am really, really sick of politics. And my area of Fairfax County is so Democratic that most of the local election results are a fait accompli. During the day, however, I read Bree’s blog post about biking to the polls. It’s important for everyday cyclists like me to show up at the polls, not so much for our vote, but simply to wave our political flag. This year it was a way to demonstrate my support for the brand new bicycle lanes on Parkers Lane which happens to be where the school that houses my polling place is.

One nice residual effect of the bicycle lanes is that drivers are going a lot slower. Unfortunately, one driver, apparently afraid he wouldn’t get to vote, came flying into the school parking lot as I was leaving. My vote won’t matter a whole lot to me if I am dead. It’s going to take more than bike lanes to change the culture in Fairfax County.

Deer, Sticker, and Regulars

i voted

Yesterday dawned with a nip in the air. Wait. Who am I kidding? It was downright cold. cold. Fortunately, it was the first day of standard time so the rising sun had warmed things up a bit before I left the house. I took my winter route, which shaves about a mile off my commute by riding diagonally across the Hollin Hall neighborhood rather than around it. Even with the warmer air, my face was covered in tears as my eyes rebelled against the cold wind.

With apologies to the late George Carlin (is that as opposed to the early George Carlin?) , the forecast for the evening commute was DARK. Dang. I nearly steered off the bike path a couple of times. And the headlights in my eyes from the cars travelling north on the GW Parkway weren’t a whole lot of fun either. Then there was the rider who came up behind me with a flashing  death ray mounted on his bike.

Dark. Solar flare. Dark. Solar flare. Dark. Solar flare.

It’s always helpful to have burned out retinas when commuting at night.

South of Old Town, a young deer jumped out of the trailside shrubs and bounded across my path. In all my years of bike commuting I have only once hit a critter. It was a squirrel whose tail buzzed the spokes of my front wheel. The squirrel survived the encounter. I think making contact with a deer might not turn out so well for me.

I noticed recently that the “I voted” sticker on my helmet was weathered. Lucky for me, today is Election Day. I rode Big Nellie to my polling place and picked up a new one. (It’s always fun to ride my humongous recumbent to the polling place. It’s like saying, “I ride a lounge chair and I vote!”) Oh, and I voted. I wonder if more people would vote if they gave out pumpkin spice lattes or cheesecake.

The ride to work was not as cold as yesterday but the tears in my eyes were back. The tears might have something to do with the fact that I hit 34 miles per hour bombing down the hill from Park Terrace Drive. Weeee.

As I ride in these days I am monitoring the progress of a pregnant runner. She started showing a couple of weeks ago. Lately she’s been walking a bit. Today she had on a Purdue sweatshirt. I forgot that under my vest I had a Butler t-shirt. Who’s yur kawledge?

Another new regular on the trail is Smiling New Mom. She runs southward as I ride north, pushing a superduper pram with a near-toddler inside. Mornin’ Mom. The kid is so cute.

Today’s calvalcade of trail users also included Hoppy Guy, the Three Step Runner, Nancy “2 Sheds” Duley, and CAL.  Hoppy Guy is a runner with a bad knee. Three Step Runner is a woman who runs three paces then walks then runs three paces, etc. Nancy “2 Sheds” Duley is a #fridaycoffeeclub irregular who bike commutes when she telecommutes. She is a confused soul. CAL is a sixty something man who wears a University of California shirt. Or maybe he has amnesia and wears his name on his shirt in case he forgets who he is.

For two days in a row no drivers tried to kill me in Rosslyn. There is a great disturbance in the force.

The ride home was peaceful. I was not threatened by any ruminants. I think they must have been at the polls.