Busy and Big

Back when it was cold out and I was feeling ready to jump out of my skin I scheduled a ton of stuff for late April and May. Last weekend, I did the Science march in DC. It was nerdy as hell and kind of fun for a gloomy day in the rain. Tomorrow I am riding to DC to participate in the Climate march with the folks from WABA. I plan on getting to Union Station at 9:30 so if you are in the area look for a guy in a blue Bike to Work Day t-shirt with a black bag on his back and a floppy hat on his head.

On Sunday, I am going to do a bike ride in Silver Spring, Maryland. The ride raises money for The Dwelling Place, a nonprofit that helps the homeless in Montgomery County MD. The ride (at least the one I am doing) is a little over 52 miles and involves a mid-ride pit stop at a craft brewery. There is another craft brewery at the finish.

I don’t often talk about family in this space, but today is different. Tonight, I am taking Mrs. Rootchopper out to dinner to celebrate her retirement today after over 30 years in Uncle Sam’s salt mines. Mrs. Rootchopper has an insane work ethic; she worked late into the night on Sunday and again last night. (I was asleep when she came home after 11 p.m.) She also worked her butt off over the last couple of weeks making a baby quilt for one of her staffers who is on the nest. I may have to sedate her. For a few weeks. Or months.




Brain Squirrels on the Trail

  • Since Monday I’ve ridden 150 miles. Just riding back and forth to work. The Cider Ride is tomorrow. They added a few miles to it. Now it’s over 50 miles. I think I’m gonna need a bigger doughnut.
  • I did my 150th bike commute of 2016 on Tuesday. One of my commutes was done on 4 hours of sleep thanks to the Cubs. I am now prepared for when the Nats win it all next November.
  • I have 300 days to go before I retire. Not that I am counting down the days or anything. When I became eligible to retire a few years ago, I took all the plaques and awards that I had received over my career and threw them away.
  • There are 15o days to go before opening day at Nats Park.
  • A numerologist would wet his pants reading this blog post.
  • The number of sightings of #bikedc commuters  I know is declining. This week only Lawyer Mike and Shawn. I saw Hoppy Runner this morning though.
  • The foliage is pretty awesome this week. I haven’t taken a single picture. Others are doing a much better job of it.
  • I am not riding to work at all next week. This is not a protest. I will be away on business travel.DC to Palo Alto is a little beyond my bike commuting comfort zone.
  • I forgot a password at work. I called our IT help desk. They said, “Just keep guessing.” After some research online, I ended up doing just that. Only when I gave up and guessed my very first computer password (on which most of my subsequent complex passwords are based) did I hit the jackpot. When I retire, I am going to become an IT desk professional.
  • My boss used to use the word “oublier” as a password. It’s French for “to forget.”
  • Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors. He also reviews books. He once observed that there are well-written books that are not read well. You know the kind that everyone says is the greatest but it doesn’t do a thing for you. For me, The Great Gatsby falls into this not well read category.
  • A friend of mine is like a good book that I don’t read well anymore. The first 7 chapters were a great read. The last 2 not so much. No matter I how much I re-read them, they don’t work for me at all anymore. I was hoping chapter 10 would turn things around. No luck. It’s very discouraging.
  • Friendship is a one-way street in Providence. I am not making this up.
  • I watched a video that claims Donald Trump is illiterate. I disagree. Based on the video and personal experience, I am pretty sure that he is severely dyslexic. As it turns out, many executives are dyslexic. From an early age they learn how to manipulate people to do things on their behalf.

Ninjas and the Golden Years

It’s been a while since I had a close encounter with a ninja so I suppose I was overdue. It was Friday night and well after sunset. I was riding south on the Mount Vernon Trail. As I approached the Dyke Marsh bridge, the headlights of the cars on the adjacent George Washington Memorial Parkway were shining directly into my eyes.  Since I was riding The Mule, I dipped my head so that the visor on my helmet would shade my eyes from the glare. Then I saw something move just ahead of me on the left side of the trail. It was a woman in a dark red sweat suit facing me. The only reason I saw her was the car lights reflecting off the white stripes on the side of her outfit. I started to brake and immediately in front of me was a man in a matching suit. His was black or dark blue. He was turning, doing a button hook in the lane only a few feet in front of me.  I saw the stripes on his suit.


That’s what he said. In addition to having situational and sartorial awareness he was loquacious! I snapped on my brakes and he pivoted and stepped to the other side of the path away from me. My left foot briefly touched ground as I slowed to a near stop. Alarmed, I said something to the effect of “What are you doing!” In retrospect, I am pretty impressed that I didn’t blurt out a stream of f-bombs. There just wasn’t time. He and Red Sweat Suit staggered off up the path.

Rather than confront the Sweat Suits I continued on home.

It was an annoying end to a pretty good day.

In the morning, I went to the second anniversary Friday Coffee Club. Even without many of the regulars, the joint was jumping. Word must have gotten out that there was going to be a cake. Bike commuters are a lot like graduate students; they’ll do anything for free food. Add coffee and you’ve got yourselves some vampires at a blood bank.

I went five for five this week, commuting on all five days. Okay, I cheated a bit. On Tuesday, I drove to a car dealership in Arlington. I rode from there to work, about 12 miles shorter than my normal commute each way. Still, I managed to get in 120 miles with my commuting.

Another significant off-the-bike event was the two-day retirement seminar I attended. I’ve been eligible to retire from the government for a few months so I need to get my ducks in a row.  For many reasons I will continue to work until the end of September. Sometime this summer I will re-assess my situation.  As it stands right now, I’m getting paid to do research and ride a bike along the Potomac River 30 miles per day. Not a bad gig, if you ask me.

The retirement seminar was pretty depressing. There’s a fairly decent chance that I will end up old, blind, toothless, demented, and alone. Longevity is way overrated, if you ask me.

My plan for my final year of life is simple. When I sense the end is near, I’ll buy an electric assist tadpole trike. I’ll hang two panniers off the rack on the back.  I’ll fill one with clothes and bike stuff and the other with cash, marijuana (it will be legal and it weighs very little), cigarettes, and fine scotch whiskey and head for the sun. I’ll probably need some sort of navigation aid, but I figure Google will have that figured out by 2020.

I’ll die in a collision with a ninja outside a retirement community near Pie Town, New Mexico.  

When it comes to retirement, you’ve got to have a plan.