The first bike commute of the year is in the books. Well, the book. I keep this paper journal each year and it’s in there:
#1 29 T/E Cold 37 am. Cold low 30s pm 1XBE
Decoded this means:
Bike commute number 1. 29 miles. On Big Nellie (my Tour Easy recumbent). A brief weather note. And I did my back exercises 1 time. (This is a 20 minute routine I do every morning.)
The ride itself was pretty routine. The first two miles involved my left knee becoming re-acquainted with Big Nellie. At about mile 2.5 I hit the big plunge from Park Terrace down to the Parkway. In 37 degree temps this wakes my ass right up. I was dialed in to Big Nellie at this point and took the S curve at the base of the hill at 25 miles per hour.
The rest of the ride I was on autopilot. I haven’t ridden in 3 days. My legs were fresh and the bike was willin’.
Crossing the I66 off ramp at the Rosslyn Circle of Doom I had a close encounter with a right on red driver. He was in the crosswalk. I had the walk sign, he had the red light. He looked at me. I started in front of him. He started to creep forward. I turned and looked him in the eyes and said “RED LIGHT!” It’s right turn on red after a stop with no pedestrians present. Unless it’s I WANNA GET TO WORK GUY. Then the rules don’t apply and I can intimidate everyone with my big ass car. It’s in the uniform vehicle code under Section 203.2 Exemptions for Selfimportant Assholes.
I made it the remaning half mile without threat to life or limb.
The ride home was a bit chilly. The best part may have been the lingering daylight. It’s only been a couple of weeks since the solstice but the days are already longer. (Or I was halluncinating. Christmas cookies will do that to you.)
It was only a few degrees colder than this morning and the light wind was behind my back. I took me a few miles to get comfy. And I was comfy. And I was dialed into Big Nellie. It was like driving a hovercraft. Recumbents are different. A conventional bike never feels like a hovercraft. And you never get the urge to yell Yabba Dabba Dooo when you ride a regular bike. (And don’t call me Fred.)
I intended to take the short route through Old Town but I got lost in the moment and ended up riding down Union Street and under the length of the Wilson Bridge. I could still see the faintest traces of daylight behind the puffy clouds above.
I crossed over the access road to the Hunting Tower apartments. A woman was walking across the street. I thought she saw me coming. I buzzed by too close. She barked something at me. It was probably nasty. Oops. Sorry.
The ride south from there was a battle of blindness. The headlights of the cars were really killing me. I almost ran off the trail several times. And a bike approaching with two blazing lights, one on the handlebars and one on the rider’s helmet, almost fried my retinas. Dude, really?
When I arrived home I realized that tights were probably not enough coverage for my legs. Tomorrow its back to my wind pants.
Someday, I’ll take pix and post them of my adventures. I am still getting around to setting up my new laptop. Actually, I am procrastinating by reading my Christmas present (Tom Wolfe’s latest and not greatest novel). So if you need pictures, close your eyes, your pedaling away, in your hovercraft….