May Day Ramble in DC

The citizens of #bikedc are agog. The long, cool, wet days of April are behind us. We’re in an honest to god heat wave. Hallellujah.

I took the opportunity to buy a ticket to a night game at Nationals Park. With several hours to kill I rode Little Nellie to DC. My first stop was at the Renwick Gallery. The Renwick is part of the Smithsonian Institution. Admission is free. Yay, America. It is located at 17th and Pennsylvania NW, a couple hundred yards from the White House or, if you have better taste, Swings House of Caffeine, home of Friday Coffee Club.

The Renwick has recently embraced the idea of multi-room art exhibits that visitors can be a part of. It’s the new, new thing in DC these days. The current exhibit contains artwork from Burning Man. Something about the size of these kinds of exhibits make me wonder “What kind of mind thinks this stuff up?” Certainly not my kind of mind.

The exhibit continues on the sidewalks in the surrounding neighborhood.

I left the Renwick and rode across town to the REI store. The store is located in the building that was once the Washington Sports Arena, the site of, among many other things, the first U.S. Beatles concert, held two days after an eight-year-old me watched them on Ed Sullivan.


After purchasing some fancy pants (wicking underwear that I find useful for biking and hiking), I sat down for coffee and a cookie. Shopping requires sustenance, don’t you know.

Refueled, I headed for the Anacostia waterfront and Yards Park. Yards Park is part of the rejuvenation of a long neglected area of DC. Unfortunately, development has chewed up big chunks of the park. Still, on a day when the wind is blowing from the south and the sun is working it’s spring time magic, Yards Park is a great place to linger and reflect. I say on a bench and read a National Geographic.


Next up was a ballgame at nearby Nationals Park. Ticket prices were surprisingly low so I bought a seat in the baseline boxes just beyond the Nationals dugout. The game was a treat. After weeks of moribund offence, the hometown team broke out of its funk by scoring 12 runs. They hit four home runs, two of which were Ruthian clouts. The only downside to the proceedings were the pollen (ick) and the heat. After about three innings the heat was getting to me. How will I ever ride across the country if my heat tolerance is so low? DRINK some water you moron! And so I did. I downed about a gallon during the game.


After the game I was rewarded with a glorious ride home in the dark. As I reached the Virginia side of the 14th Street bridge over the Potomac River, I felt the temperature drop several degrees. It declined incrementally for the next hour as I pedaled the final 12 miles home.

So, 11 hours and 36 miles after I left the house my May Day ramble ended.

For more pix from the day, you can check out my Flickr album.

DC Tour de Fat – 2016

After yesterday’s long, but successful slog, I slept well. I woke up feeling nearly human. No hacking cough, no headache, clear lungs. If I ever see Alexander Fleming I am going to give that dude a bone crushing hug.

Today was the annual Tour de Fat in DC. This event is a bicycle themed party put on by New Belgium Brewing. All proceeds from beer sales go to local bike charities, like WABA. WABA’s event team runs the show, New Belgium handles the beer and eccentric performances. Last year’s event was a spectacular success. The crowd was huge and the sun shined down. This year nearly every forecast I saw called for rain, winds, and cold. All day. They lied.

I drove in the rain to L’Enfant Plaza and rode Little Nellie to Yards Park, the site of the event. When I got ther

WABA People Getting Caffeinated

e I became aware that the 10 am family ride had been canceled for safety reasons. I parked my bike and went to a nearby coffee shop where I saw a bunch of WABA people (see photo on right), including Nelle (again? though curiously not in photo on right), hanging out. After about an hour, I trucked back to the venue where I was instructed in how to pull draft beer. (Kinda had this party down about 40 years ago, but I was rusty.)

The two beer tents, the specialty beer booth, and the beer bike vendors were all moved into one set of tents. At around noon people began to show up. As it turned out, my beer was most popular. It was

Deputized Beer People

called Heavy Melon. I pulled beer after beer after beer. I kept seeing friends of mine but they couldn’t see me in the shadow of the tent. Also, I had my back to the customers about half the time. I only spotted one person I know, Chris, who ironically I rarely recognize while out on a bike.

After 2  1/2 hours of dishing suds, I ha
d a chance to enjoy the festivities. I ran into Brian. While we were talking, a friend of Katie L’s walked past. I yelled “Lyndsey” two times. She didn’t react at all. Okay, come to a party and be antisocial. Seconds later I remembered her name is Lauren.


How ironic that it was Katie L. herself who told me to get my fusiform gyrus checked out. I gotta get on that.

Over the course of the event, I saw or had discussions with over a dozen friends: Kathy, Katie L. and her friend Mike, Lauren, Dave and Jean, Katie B. (whom I haven’t seen in ages) and her brother Michael and boyfriend John, Darren,  Jeff (but not Sam), Ricky (who is back on his bike after being hit by a car a couple of months ago), and a bunch of WABA people (Greg, Katie H., Nelle, Michelle, and Colin).

I had a great time but my energy level wasn’t really back up to full power yet so I left a little early. The ride back to L’Enfant was a tad grungy but uneventful.

Thanks so much to the hard work of the folks who put this on, to the volunteers, to the performers, and the people who showed up despite the forecast.

Very special thanks to Michelle Cleveland, WABA’s event director, who worked her tail off and stressed out mightily over the weather. You done good. Again. As always.

Errands and Bunnies

I don’t feel good. I think the emergence of pollen has caused major bodily malfunction. I will feel fine in a week. Until then I will be moving around in a daze and my tummy will hurt.

All of which is no excuse to skip running errands on my bike.

I began the day driving to the bike store (not a qualifying errand) to pick up The Mule after its 40,000 mile maintenance. It feels like a new bike. The wheels and pedals turn freely. The brakes make it stop. Bring The Mule home gave me a happy face. Thanks to the folks at Spokes Etc. in Belle Haven, my local bike shop, for taking care of my baby.

Once I got home and put all the bags and doodads back on The Mule, I took off on Little Nellie to buy some drugs. I bought some awesome windowpane and som25234599180_7aca9ab239_me truly righteous weed from my local dealer named Cosmo.

Actually, that’s a lie. I rode Little Nellie 1 1/2 miles to the Rite Aid to buy my asthma medicine. So much for my exciting life. Lungs gotta breathe. I nearly had a heart attack when the pharmacist charged me $200. All last year, inexplicably, the same medicine had been free. I honestly don’t mind paying but the inconsistency adds yet another layer to my bewilderment with the health care and health insurance industries in this country.

After riding 25235709060_4e25063c91_mhome, I changed into my hiking boots and rode Little Nellie to Spokes for some TLC. I was expecting to walk home, but Chris, the mechanic at Spokes had other ideas. Little Nellie’s rear shifting sucks. It has sucked for a couple of years. I replaced the cable and housing a few months ago to no avail. So I was all set to buy a new derailleur and shifters. Chris said that my derailleur worked fine but my shifter was toast. He looked up shifters on their on-line catalogue and could only find expensive Shimano Dura-Ace shifters to work with my 9 speed cassette. Then he found a part that cost $10 that might solve the problem. We agreed that I would swing by on my way home from work and they’d swap the part out.

Instead of hiking home I rode. I was not feeling well at all. My belly feels like its going to explode and my head felt like I was stoned. I made the ride home in o24912322314_c12863a9d5_mne piece.

Then I took a two hour nap.

I woke up just before nightfall. Mrs. Rootchopper and I drove into DC to check out the giant inflatable bunny rabbits in Yards Park. All I can say is artists sure have strange minds. Judging from the smiles of all the people milling about I’d say we could use some more of this whimsicality in our lives. Here are some bunny pictures.

Errandonnee Control Card Entries

Errand No. 2

Category: Personal Care

Miles: 3

Observation: Why is health care such a confusing mess in this country?

Errand No.3

Category: Bike Shop

Miles: 8 1/2

Observation: I am so grateful to have a good bike shop (Spokes Etc.) near my home, There are many more (Papillon, Bicycle Space, Wheel Nuts, CityBikes to name a few) within a 20 mile radius). If you want to have nice things like a good local bike shop, you need to give them your patronage.