WABA Socks Wednesday

Are you a fashionisto like me? Then you own at least one pair of WABA (Washington Area Bicyclists Association) socks. If you wear them on Wednesday, Brian over at Tales from the Sharrows, @sharrowsdc, and Gear Prudence (he has multiple personalities, don’t you know) has pledged to donate his life savings and his fiancee’s Metro SmartCard to WABA.

So today, I proudly wore my new-ish WABA socks.

Image may contain: shoes

Don’t they go great with my orange and black bike shoes? This look is all the rage in Paris. (Among the blind.)

The actual deal goes like this: if 100 people participate in on one Wednesday and tag @sharrowsdc using the hashtag with a pic, Brian will give $100.

So do the following:

  • Buy some WABA socks
  • Wear them on Wednesday
  • Post a picture on social media with the #wabasockswednesday hashtag and @sharrowsdc in the message
  • Ride your bike

I think it would be cool if we could get people all over the world to do this. Perth. Cape Town. Malmo. Buenos Aires. Hanoi. In no time at all Brian would be homeless. Also, we would all find out that waba means something truly vulgar in Urdu.


So It Begins

And with very little warning, we are now biking in hell.

Overnight spring hit the road and summer crashed the party,

I left home a little after 8, about an hour later than normal. My legs were dead from yesterday’s urban excursion. The air was thick with humidity. In short order I was in my commute trance. 12 miles per hour. Chain going zzzzzzz. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. 

I look up and a young woman who reminds me of Katie. She smiles and says hello then is gone in the direction I came. Whoever it was my apologies for my response which went something like this: UH?

I rode across the 14th Street bridge to go to the credit union at L’Enfant Plaza. You’d think I’d follow my old bike commute route but my brain now equates the bridge with Friday Coffee Club. I was on riding counterclockwise around the Tidal Basin instead of riding along the river on Ohio Drive. All this meant was that I’d be riding with cars instead of dodging tour buses. The drivers in the cars were uncharacteristically civil and I made it to my destination without one tire mark up my back.

The bike parking was all filled up. This never happened when I worked there.  Something must be done. I decided to lock Little Nellie next to the scrum of bikes and make fast work of my trip inside. 

Little Nellie survived.

To head to work I rode the switchback bridge to East Potomac Park. Fellow blogger Mary recently triumphed over the tight turns on this bridge. I had no trouble at all. It helps that Little Nellie has itty bitty wheels. Mary was riding a big kid’s bike. 

Just for the hell of it, I rode the DC side of the river to the Memorial Bridge. Then it was up Memorial Drive toward the entrance to Arlington Cemetery. I took the trail that passes the border of the cemetery. Thousands of white headstones arranged in military precision lined up along the green ground. It’s almost as if someone planted a crop of white stones. It is a beautiful sight and a sad one. I haven’t been into the cemetery in 20 years. I should spend a day there sometime soon.

Up the hill toward Fort Myer and past the Netherlands Carillon. For some reason there are two minature sphynxes standing guard. Did I miss something about Holland conquering Egypt?

From this direction, I do not go through the Intersection of Doom. Nobody ran a red light in front of me. Nobody tried to kill me to shave a minute off their drive to work. It felt surreal.

My 5 pm meeting was canceled so I left the office at my usual time. There was nothing in my legs. Lead legs. An appalling number of people passed me. CaBi bikes passed me. It was sad. It was as if I had my own personal headwind. (Depeche Mode, eat your heart out.)

I started hearing an annoying clattering noise. It came and went. Finally I stopped to investigate. A lanyard had fallen out of my saddle bag and was draped across my front brakes. The metal clasp was dancing on the spokes. It it had fallen into the front wheel the wheel might have locked up. It would not have been pretty.

Near the airport an attractive young woman rode by, slowed and said, “Cute pin.” My brain, firing on all cylinders, compelled my mouth to grunt “Thanks.”  I am so suave with my repartee. 

It took me a full minute to realize that she was admiring the Sharrows pin on my saddle bag. This happened once before when Alex Baca introduced called out my Sharrows pin in Baltimore on the Tour de Port ride. We ended up doing several rides together after which she left town and changed her cellphone number. Savoir faire is everywhere.

The rest of the ride was taken up with all the clever retorts I could have said to the passing pin woman. You know, the kind of thing Sean Connery’s Bond always came up with. (“I’m Pussy Galore.” “I must be dreaming.”)

Little Nellie was behaving oddly. I felt like the bike was moving laterally beneath me. I stopped to check things out but could find nothing wrong. 

We made it home without incident. When I hopped off my bike, the humidity hit me like a wet sock. 

So it begins.

Floods and Bunnies and Goslings and the Ogremeister

It was Friday the 13th. A full moon would be risin’. First, we had to get the workday out of the way.

I left early for Friday Coffee Club. In the spirit of SharrowsDC, I fiddled with the cleats on my shoes. I moved them forward. I instantly became amazingly fast. NOT.

Even a child knows you can’t fake it.

The only way I can become fast on a bike is to be airlifted to the top of a ski jump and released.

The ride in was peaceful except for when the supermodels lined up and cheered me near the stone bridge. I awoke soon after. Sometimes on Friday’s I ride in a dream state for a while.

Don’t dream it’s over.

I had an eye out for snapping turtles but all I saw were my first three bunnies of the year. Yay bunnies.

I rode through flood waters at the base of King Street in Old Town Alexandria. And again on the trail near Daingerfield Island. There must be a hole in the river. Little Nellie didn’t mind.

Rats. I forgot my snorkel.
Rats. I forgot my snorkel.

Once I was on the 14th Street Bridge I could see the high waters of the Potomac. Muddy, fast moving, filled with debris. It must have rained like a bitch upstream.

Into the city, i managed to hit green lights all the way to Friday Coffee Club. That’s a first. As SharrowsDC might say, it was a perfect.

Friday Coffee Club was crowded again. I didn’t know about 1/3rd of the attendees. I got to play with my favorite soon-to-be two-year old, Hugo. Once he wakes up and gets a muffin in him, he’s a pretty happy camper. He was a hug machine this morning.

SharrowsDC: The Ogremeister
SharrowsDC: The Ogremeister

After coffee club I headed down G Street with SharrowsDC on my flank. Well, not literally ON my flank but kind of off to the side. He was riding his backup bike since he had his 223rd flat of 2014 on his new Ogre bike. I’ve never met anyone who gets so many flats as SharrowsDC. It’s absolutely uncanny.

He feels possessed.

The ride back over the river on the TR Bridge gave me another opportunity to see the big muddy.

Work pretty much sucked.

During the day it rained like a bitch. So the saving grace was the fact that I could have been out riding my bike in a deluge instead of pushing ideas around and around.

Then I got to ride home. The air was heavy like the bayou. This shoud have given me a zydeco ear worm but instead my head was stuck on Neil Finn.

They'll Soon Take Wing
They’ll Soon Take Wing

My possessions are causing me suspicion but there’s no proof.

I stopped under the 14th Street bridge to take some pix of some gosslings. These were about a month older than the ones I saw earlier this week. I imagine they’d be fledging any day now.

As I neared home a light rain began to fall.

I always take the weather with me.

The work week is over. 155 miles of bike commuting in the bag.

I’m taking the rest of the day off.