It’s a federal holiday today. That’s because yesterday was Armistice Day. Nothing much happened on the 12th day of the 11th month but what the hell we’ll give you the day off for good behavior.
Nothing in this discussion should be meant as disrespect for veterans. I just think it’s weird that we gave Armistice Day the heave ho. In Rhode Island they celebrate V-J Day. (For those of you who weren’t paying attention in history class, that’s the day Japan threw in the towel in WWII.)
My father was a veteran, although he kept it pretty low key. He was in medical school during WWII. The defense department drafted all the medical students and paid for their schooling so that they would be available for the invasion of Japan, My father said the most pathetic thing in the world was seeing all the med students marching around at some military installation on Long Island. Nerds in formation. You’d think really smart people could march better than Gomer Pyle. Nope.
I woke up late and was greeted with a pretty darn nice biking day. Of course, I didn’t plan ahead so I goofed around for a few hours before heading out for lunch. I was thinking I’d ride the six or seven miles to Eamonn’s in Old Town Alexandria and have some fish and chips. The only problem was that I got up late and ate a late breakfast so I wasn’t hungry.
So what could I do that would kill a couple of hours and make me hungry? Think. Think. I could have done something productive around the house but instead I decided to do what I always do. I pulled Big Nellie out of the shed and headed north.
I had spent part of last weekend tweaking the seat on Big Nellie so I was hoping the ride would be improved. Twas. I was cooking with gas for the first ten miles. A slight tailwind helped but that didn’t explain riding fast up hill or swooshing through one turn after another. Long story short the seat tweak worked great.
I headed up to Alexandria by way of back streets and Fort Hunt Road. I normally take the Mount Vernon Trail but after 150 or so rides on it this year alone I needed a change. Traffic wasn’t so bad and I made it to Old Town without becoming somebody’s hood ornament. I cut back over to the Mount Vernon Trail and, a few miles later, headed west on the Four Mile Run bike trail. This goes underneath I-395 (one of the great bike infrastructure improvements ever) and empties out at the start of the W&OD Trail.
I kept trucking and soon reached the intersection with the Custis Trail. I banged a right on the Custis to head back to DC. About a mile later I spotted my friend Geof parking his car in his driveway next to the trail. I stopped in to say hello. After a quick chat I was back on the trail. The Custis is a roller coaster all the way to DC and Big Nellie made the most of it. I love hill hopping on this bike. You go screaming down one hill and use your speed to go up the next rise.
I took the Key Bridge into Georgetown because no ride around here would not be complete without a battle with taxis. The traffic lights were in sync so I blasted down M Street to Pennsylvania hitting only one stop light along the way. I met up with a mom on a tandem with her son who was about 10 stoking. She also had another son riding on his own bike. She was taking them to the National Gallery. 10 year old was looking pooped. Somebody’s going to be asleep by the Gaugins I’m afraid.
I rode across the plaza in front of the White House. Crews were busy building the review stands for the inauguration parade. They had the plaza normally about 50 yards wide down to a single lane. Tourists hoping to get a nice picture of the White House had to settle for a chain link fence, some butt cracks and plywood.
I followed the cycle track on 15th Street to the Mall then continued on to the 14th Street Bridge. Back in Virginia I took the MVT back to Old Town where I stopped for my fish and chips. Fish and chips are salty and greasy. Just the thing to top off the old bike engine.
|Strap on the ol’ feed back, son|
|Eamonn’s. Motto: In cod we trust.|
I fought a food coma for most of the ride home. I don’t think all that grease will get digested for at least ten hours. I do believe a nap is called for.