Pictures of the Year 2016

 

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Sunrise on the Mount Vernon Trail

When the sun and my work day cooperate, I stop and take in the sunset over the Potomac River. It rarely disappoints.

The Big Reveal
100,000 Miles

It took me 25 years but I managed to ride 100,000 miles since acquiring The Mule (bottom left) in 1991. In 2002 I bought Big Nellie, a Tour Easy recumbent (top left), and rode it exclusively for several years. In 2009 (or thereabouts) I bought my Bike Friday New World Tourist, a folding travel bike that I call Little Nellie (upper right). Last year I picked up Deets, a Surly Cross Check, that turns out to be a fantastic bike for commuting.

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Drink Up Cowboy (Colonoscopy Prep)

In October, amid a frenzy of bike event riding, I had a colonoscopy. It was my third. I am happy to report that there was no cancer detected. I’ll be back in 2019 for another. Drink up!

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Me in Front of Copenhagen Central Station Bike Racks

I went to Scandinavia with my wife and daughter. I didn’t ride a bike but I saw a few here and there. The cycling infrastructure is so much better than in the U.S. And the road users are all so well behaved. As my friend Finn Quinn once said: “The future is a foreign country.” We can only hope.

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Beer Tent Volunteers at Tour de Fat

I volunteered at the Tour de Fat this year. I had fun despite not being completely recovered from my not so fun trip to the ER a week earlier. We were a well behaved bunch. The only beer we imbibed were the ones the organizers comped us for our efforts on their behalf.

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Friday Coffee Club

You may never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You certainly won’t find it here because the building where this picture was taken is being renovated. Friday Coffee Club moved across town and, but for one appearance after Thanksgiving, I had to stop going. I miss these scoundrels.

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Michelle Smiles Even When She’s Freezing (Vasa Ride)

Speaking of scoundrels, for the last several years Michelle has been running bike events at the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA). I am convinced that she is trying to kill me. It is widely rumored that she even controls the weather. I am so grateful for all the hard work Michelle (and the other folks at WABA and the volunteers) put in to make #bikedc better every year. (Michelle also has a serious interest in the Beats and Kerouac. Check out her blog.)

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Amy at Great Pumpkin Ride

It was windy and coolish, but Amy was determined to do her first long event ride. This hill during the Great Pumpkin Ride near Warreton Virginia was mighty steep but Amy (with Jody behind her) managed it without apparent difficulty. The leaves on the road were produced by powerful winds that made the day quite a work out. The rest stop after this photo was at a Old Bust Head brewery.

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Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan

This picture doesn’t do justice to how steep these dunes are. And this is only about 1/2 of the height. The remaining elevation is obscured by the angle of my shot. Later that day the road I was on went up the dunes just to the south of this one. It made for some tough climbing into a persistent headwind. It was perhaps the physically hardest day of my 11-day solo bike tour. As hard as it was on my body, the tour was a feast of rolling meditation for my mind and soul.

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What Yoopers Eat (Bike Tour)

The people who live on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the UP, are called Yoopers. They eat white fish and pasties (a kind of meat pie) and have their own candy bar. They (mostly) also talk like all the hockey players from Ontario that I roomed with during my freshman year at college. Eh?

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My Deck Buddy

I was hanging out on my deck one sunny day when I went to open my deck umbrella and found this critter. Cute.

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My Perch in Left Field

The left field grandstand was my perch for about 10 games at Nats Park this year. I became personal friends with Jason Werth. (That’s him in left field.) Okay, that’a s lie.Somewhere up there under the third light stanchion is Klarence keeping score. Hurry spring!

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Darth Paul on the Five Boro Ride

That’s Paul on the left on FDR Drive on the east side of Manhattan. It is cold. It is raining. Paul is not smiling. He had so much fun. We stopped in Astoria, Queens, to stand around and freeze our asses off. Who knew that the Brooklyn Queens Expressway would be even more fun. I have now ridden my bike across the Verrazano Narrows and the Golden Gate. Woot!

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A Section of the AT

The Appalachian Trail is nice enough to come down to I-66 which made for a couple of convenient solo day hikes.

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Veronica Help Us Save a Duckling on the MVT

I found a duckling on the Mount Vernon Trail on the way to work one morning. Mr friend Linel stopped to help and we tried to figure out what do with it. Then Veronica showed up. She took the duckling to her office then to an animal rescue place. This is a decidedly better outcome that the two animal skeletons I saw last year. Just sayin’. Thanks, Veronica.

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Night in the ER

This is me getting a nebulizer treatment in the ER. A few hours earlier I couldn’t move without experiencing a knife-like pain in my upper right chest. (I blame yoga.) The doctors were pretty confident that it wasn’t a heart attack. I had a resting pulse of 46 and my blood pressure was normal. They did some tests and took some x-rays. Then they put this on me. I was recovered enough to do Bike to Work Day, volunteer at Tour de Fat, ride DC Bike Ride, and fly to Stockholm over the next nine days. Do not try this at home. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Riding in the City – Scandinavian Style

I just spent two weeks in Scandinavia. The itinerary was Stockholm – Oslo – Copenhagen – Malmo – Copenhagen – Stockholm – Reykjavik. In each city, cycling was an unremarkable, no-drama part of life. With the exception of Copenhagen which can be a bit hectic, there was no honking of horns, no cussing, no bird-flipping, no road rage. The food chain is the reverse of the US: pedestrians come first, then bikes, then transit, then cars.

Gas costs upwards of $6 per gallon making for few cars, most of them compacts and subcompacts (except in Iceland where big, offroading vehicles are more common). Except for Reykjavik, transit goes everywhere with incredibly high frequency. And it is integrated in the sense that buses and metros and ferries and commuter trains and intercity trains and high speed trains to the airport all can be connected to without leaving one system for another. In both Stockholm and Copenhagen we bought a single transit card that allowed us access to most local transportation. (The exceptions being the every-ten-minutes high speed train to the airport in Stockholm and the train from Copenhagen to Malmo across the Baltic Strait.)

Bikes were allowed on metro and commuter rail. In Stockholm, each commuter train had at least one bike car (with racks to hold the bikes). In Copenhagen, bike parking at the central train station was absurdly abundant and stuffed to the gills with bikes. The racks were double decked and every other bike slot was offset so that handlebars didn’t clash.

I saw bike share systems in Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo.

Copenhagen has the reputation for the best biking city in Scandinavia, but I’ll take Stockholm’s system any day. Copenhagen’s bike traffic is insanely busy. Car traffic is heavier than Stockholm, too.

One thing that surprised me a bit was the fact that about 1/2 the Stockholm rush hour commuters were wearing helmets.

Each mode – pedestrian, bicycle, car, train – had separate traffic signals and separate lanes. Everyone obeyed the rules scrupulously. Pedestrians didn’t look both ways when crossing the street. They just crossed with absolute confidence without the slightest concern about getting hit by a bike or a car or a train. Kids learn to ride in this environment and are much more competent and confident than US kids of the same age. Cyclists give way to pedestrians.

Nearly all bike commuters wore street clothes. Most commuters rode upright bikes with platform pedals and baskets on the front. Bike commuters seemed to go no faster than 10 miles per hour. Slow bikes kept to the right. After work, the lycra crowd showed up.

It is so frustrating coming back to DC and seeing tweet after tweet describing car/bike conflicts, harassment of women cyclists, and horrific stories of cars mowing down cyclists. I wish every state and local DOT head, every mayor, every governor would go to Stockholm and see what I saw: a graceful flow of traffic. No anger. No stress.

 

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Stockholm Mode Separation
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Me in Front of Just a Few of the Copenhagen Central Station Bike Racks

 

Postal Bike in Roskilde Denmark
Postal Delivery Vehicle in Roskilde, Denmark
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Stockholm City Bike (Bike Share)
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Bike Tracks on Stairs to Copenhagen Metro