Elizabeth and Brittany

Say It Ain’t So, Tin Lizzie

Today I was saddened to read Elizabeth’s blog post about the possibility of giving up bike commuting. Elizabeth lives and works in the busy Ballston to Rosslyn corridor of Arlington, Virginia. Many years ago Arlington planned this area out to be a place where you could do just fine without a car. As it turns out, Elizabeth could easily get to work by subway, bus, or bike. She’s been riding her bike on unprotected bike lanes and has had more than her share of close encounters with big metal things.

What’s doubly depressing about this is that Elizabeth mentioned my recent intimate get together with a red light running SUV as a factor in her thinking.  When I wrote that post it never occurred to me that it would put people off bike commuting. I should have put my event in context. I have had dozens of close encounters with motor vehicles over the years. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but in over 100,000 miles of riding, I’ve never been hit.  I have hit two cars. One right hooked me and I hit him in the back right fender. If I had been competent I would have missed him entirely. Another was parked and jumped out in front of me. (It was windy. I had my head down. It was really embarrassing.) I was doored a block from Elizabeth’s office a few months ago. I was going very slowly. The door hit my very full rear left pannier.  No harm, no foul. I gave the exiting passenger a dirty look.

Stuff happens. I could be in the hospital or a funeral parlor right now. But I’m not. I rode to work today – right past where I was hit. I did come close to a collision today though. A goose was hanging out in the center of the trail. An oncoming commuter scared it into my path. She laughed and so did I. I’m riding to work tomorrow.

If experienced commuters like Elizabeth quit, we are doing something seriously wrong as a community.

Snakes in the Trees

In completely unrelated news, I learned today that rat snakes grow up to six feet long and climb trees. They are known to inhabit Dyke Marsh where I take my sunrise photos for this blog. I can handle big black SUVs but I think if I had to deal with a six-foot black snake in a tree, I’d soil myself.  This picture was taken today, by the way.

Photo from Friends of Dyke Marsh Facebook Page

The Bliss Comes Back

And now some good news. Blissful Britt came back to her blog today. I thought she was going to be gone for months. She lasted three weeks. Stamina is overrated.

And So Does Baseball

And speaking of bliss, baseball is back in DC. The Washington Nationals won their home opener, 4 -2. I couldn’t go, but Klarence did. She willed them to victory on my behalf. They’ve won the first game. The hope is they win the last one. Sometime in early November. Fingers crossed.


Opening Day Is a Tailwind

Spring is a time of optimism. Stuff is growing and blooming. The sun is high in the sky. My skin is tanned. (Okay, we’ll leave out the part about the nagging, pollen-induced cough.) With warm air coming in, I often get a tailwind for the ride to work.

I am such a sucker for a tailwind. I’ve been riding a bike for over 50 years and I still let a tailwind convince me that I am in great biking shape. What an idjit!

Opening day is a tailwind. The home team looks utterly invincible. Look at all that talent. NOBODY can beat my team.

Then they start playing and you realize that the other team can hit and pitch and field too. Soon reality creeps in. There are all sorts of unpleasant things that can happen. You are reading the words of a man whose 12th birthday coincided with the beaning of Tony Conigliaro. Ugh. It’s hard to stay in the moment when you have that hideous picture of 22 year old Tony C.’s face with a massive bruise in the form of  a baseball over his left eye.

But all is well. The Nats won. It took 10 innings but they got it done.

Opening day isn’t really about baseball. It is about optimism. It’s just going to be a great summer. I KNOW it. As I watched today’s Nats game I was giddy with the feeling that every day will be warm. There will be hikes and bike rides and summer days in the ballpark and vacations with friends and family. Life is a tailwind, baby.

The forecast for tomorrow morning calls for temperatures near freezing and a strong headwind.

Who’s in chahge of the weathah around heah? Bucky Fuckin’ Dent?