Bike to Work Day in DC – Recap

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing

 

I woke up early. I was having leg cramps. Not good. The dinner concert we went to last night did not serve free water, so we drank beer. Dumb on all counts.

After walking around a bit and drinking a pint of watered down orange juice, my cramps subsided and I was off about 1/2 hour ahead of schedule on my last Bike to Work Day. (Please note the capitalization. I am still biking to work for another three months. Y’all can’t get rid of me that easily.)

Pit stop MV.JPGMy ride to work is about 15 miles. I decided to take the longImage may contain: sky, tree, ocean, plant, outdoor and nature way and stopped 1 1/2 miles from home at my first pit stop of the day. This one was located near the Mount Vernon Trail and was staffed by a couple of guys from my local bike shop, Spokes Etc.‘s Belle View location. At the pit stop, I ran into Nancy Duley who lives near me. We had a good chat. Having already eaten breakfast, I turned down the free muffins and bananas and other goodies and headed toward Alexandria. Along the way I stopped to take in the sun rising over the river. (Wanna know why I bike to work. The picture tells it all.)

In Old Town I stopped at my designated pit stop. (I had switched at the last minute to avoid the lonImage may contain: 1 person, outdoorg lines in Rosslyn. ) Good move. The lines were short. I picked up a t-shirt and a water bottle. Then I popped two donut holes in my mouth. They were from the aptly named Sugar Shack. Big Ed was also there and the two of us rode with massive sucrose buzzes to Crystal City.

Once I dismounted I came to realize the the relative humidity was somewhere north of New Orleans in August. Dang.

The Crystal City pit stop was very well attended. I saw several people I knew including Kathy and Sam (that’s her on the left below). Once again I passed up the free food and coffee.  Hot coffee was not looking really appealing as the sweat poured off me.Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, outdoor

I left Ed to his socializing and headed to Rosslyn. Rather than cut back over to the Mount Vernon Trail, which I assumed would be chock-a-block full of bike commuters, I rode the streets through Crystal City, past Long Bridge Park, and around the Pentagon. I picked up Route 110 with its highway traffic and rode its broad paved shoulder until I exited at Arlington Cemetery.

There was nobody on the path around Arlington Cemetery which made for swift passage to Rosslyn. The streets of Rosslyn were packed with cars but I managed to weave through them. I decide to check out the Rosslyn pit stop conveniently located in the Intersection of Doom which was made more better by construction on the nearby bike trail.

The Rosslyn pit stop was packed. There must have been over 100 bikes parked and many, many more in the hands of their owners meandering about. I was glad I switched stops, even though Rosslyn had the best swag of all four that I visited.

I ran into Lawyer Mike, who, like Big Ed, I know from Friday Coffee Club. But for passes on the trail during commutes, I hadn’t seen him in ages. So it was good to catch up.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and outdoor

I took off for work. When I got to the office I gathered up my co-workers who had ridden to work. There were five of us, but only four because one of my co-workers who is new to this bike to work thing, missed her pit stop. That’s them in the picture at the top of the blog.

The picture does not include our boss who rode his kids to school (as he does every day) and a former co-worker who works on another floor. So my office did itself proud today.

The interview I did yesterday ran on WAMU  (a local NPR station) today. I was included in the text but did not make the audio version. There’s good reason. Ian, yet another Friday Coffee Clubber, was the lead subject. He commutes almost twice as far as I do. I can’t even….

After work I rode to Adams Morgan in DC for a Bike to Work Day party hosted by WABA. They mentioned something about free beer and pizza and I was a goner. I arrived under threatening skies. As I went to lock my bike, rain fell. Cold rain. It cut through the humidity splendidly.

I met a half dozen people at the party. My fusiform gyrus was given a major work out. I still remember Rachel, Lisa, Grace, Eric, and, I think,…, well, I forgot the other guy. And I know I’ve met him before. Ack.

The highlight of the event was the ovation we gave Nelle Pierson, who had just finished her last day on the job with the Washington Area Bicyclists Association. Suffice it to say, there was an awful lot of love and admiration in the room.

I finished the evening with a ride home under threatening skies. Jeanne who was at the Crystal City pit stop and I rode back to Virginia together. Once on the south side of the Potomac, we found ourselves riding through clouds of flying bugs. Jeanne veered off north of Old Town. As I made my way through Belle Haven Park the clouds of bugs intensified. It was totally gross for about 1/2 mile. Then the swarms cleared and all that was left was the circle of light ahead of my bike. Four miles of riding in the night with a few flashes of heat lightning for good effect.

IMG_0734.JPG

Bike to work day. 14 hours from start to finish. My last one. Well played BikeDC. Well played.

Many, many thanks to all the volunteers and staff who worked on this event. Also, thanks to the sponsors for donating all the goodies.

 

 

Fancy Pants Bike Parking

My office building in Rosslyn has been showing some love to bike commuters. First they removed the dim florescent bulbs in the garage and replaced them with LEDs. Now I can ride into the garage with my sunglasses on. In fact, I might even need them.

This week we got a peek at the new bike parking facility. It’s activated by the same card key security system as the rest of the building. You have to register with building management to get your card upgraded for access to the bike room. It has space for 20 bikes, 18 hanging and two on an inverted U rack on the floor. It also has a bike pump and tools.

The old bike parking was lame. (At my previous job the bike racks were the same as my elementary school’s. I went to that school in the 1960s. I am not entirely sure if the racks at my current office are any better.) A bike commuter had her Cannondale road bike stolen earlier this year. Here’s what it looked like. (That’s Little Nellie on the right.I took the pump off the frame because someone stole a similar pump off The Mule earlier this year.

Bike parkingThe new bike room is more better. Here you can see one half of the hanging bike rack and the U rack on the floor. The pump is on the lower right.

Bike Room

There was an opening day card key problem. Once they activated your card for bike room access, they deactivated it for access to the gym and showers. I’m sure they’ll get it all sorted out soon.

And They’re Off

Today was the first bike commute of the year. Yay, me. I rode in after sunrise because I waited for my daughter to leave for the airport before starting out. I was rewarded with a big hug and a relentless headwind. The hug lasted 10 seconds, the headwind lasted 14 1/2 miles.

At lunchtime I went out with some co-workers which is something I rarely do. We went to a Thai restaurant. The last time ate Thai food was 1980. I kid you not. The 1980 Thai food was fire in my mouth. Today’s was much tamer. It was good but it didn’t stick to my ribs.

One the way to the Thai restaurant a co-worker pointed out a garage with a historical marker. It’s where Bob Woodward met “Deep Throat” during the Watergate scandal. This marker is within 100 yards of a marker commemorating the begining of the ARPA net, the precursor to the Internet. Who would have thought that lousy Rosslyn is the home of two incredibly important events in recent history?

IMG_0438

During the day a friend announced that she is going on a vacation for a couple of weeks. She doesn’t currently have a job.  Hmmmmm…….

When I left work there was still some daylight. Yesss!

Then I got to the Custis trail and it had been sprayed with de-icer.  Way to go Arlington County!! Of course, when I got to the Mount Vernon Trail it was untreated because it is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Boo, NPS!!

The ride home was a breeze. Literally. The morning’s headwind was now at my back and the riding was effortless. Passing over Four Mile Run I noticed that Arlington County had treated the Four Mile Run Trail too. Yay, again.

Tomorrow we expect the first snow fall of the season. As luck would have it I have an appointment with my acupuncturist so I am driving to work. Barring a medical miracle it will be the last. The treatments are having no effect at all. Even my arm is starting to hurt again.

And Wednesday promises to be brutally cold. I am going to miss the fun of bike commuting because I need my car to get to an early evening event in McLean.

I plan to be back in the saddle (if the Mount Vernon Trail is clear) on Thursday.

Well, the Ride in Was Fun

On the recommendation of Bob “Don’t Call Me Rachel” Cannon, I took my son’s car to Baird Automotive in Clarendon. They are a little pricey but seem to have their act together which is sadly unusual in the world of auto maintenance. 

I could have walked to Metro but then why do that when Little Nellie’s around?

Off we went through Clarendon when suddenly the smooth pavement gave way to a milled mess. The milling was deep in spots, tossing LIttle Nellie wee wheels this way and that. Please cars, don’t kill me. The good pavement returned after three or four blocks, just in time for a screaming downhill to my office in Rosslyn. Once past the Clarendon Metro station I caught every green light. I felt like I won a prize. All too soon, I arrived at work, my two mile bike commute was short but invigorating.

The ride home, not so much. Riding back to the mechanic involved grinding back up that monster hill. Fortunately, the ride back had no milled pavement to deal with. Just one long mother of a hill. I crested the hill just shy of Clarendon as rain drops started to fall. Wouldn’t it be nice if I got to the mechanic without getting soaked in a down pour. And it was. 

I always think that the people working at shops will take one look at me and my itty bitty bike and bust a gut laughing. I entered the shop and there was a nice Trek road bike on a workstand in the waiting area. Well, gaaawlee. 

I do believe I’ll come back in the future.

Traveling Light

I saw this bike in Rosslyn today as I was going to lunch. Whoever is riding this machine has travelling light down to a science. Handlebar bag and seat bag and that’s IT! Note the absence of a water bottle is made up for by the canteen strapped to the front of the handlebar bag. I would venture to guess that I carry more stuff to and from work than this cyclists carries wherever he may be going.

IMG_0167