Friday on My MInd

Can you say “It’s Friday” and not smile? I can’t.

I headed out in the dark aboard Big Nellie. I made the Park Terrace descent at high speed and crossed the Parkway without having to stop for the second day in a row. I hit the Mount Vernon Trail at 17 miles per hour with a smile on my face.

I was hoping to see bald eagles, because they tend to be out and about at sunrise.  I was rewarded for my early departure with two eagles. The first was perched on a branch above the Belle Haven nest.  I am pretty sure it was a male, because he looked very big. The second was on the wing near Daingerfield Island between Old Town and National Airport.  This is an unusual place to see eagles so it was an extra bonus. Riding a recumbent is advantageous in this regard, because of the heads-up riding position.

Just before the second bald eagle, I had a Nancy Duley siting. Normally we pass on Union Street, but my early departure moved today’s passing to the beaver marsh north of Slaters Lane. She later said that I made her think she was late.  I like to mess with people’s minds. I saw French Braid Rider, one of my regulars, well north of our normal passing point. She had a concerned look on her face. I’ll bet she thought she was late too.

A light tailwind made the ride honest, but workaday, which is appropriate because it is a work day after all.  I came off the second fly over bridge at the airport with an impressive head of steam, maxing out at 25 miles per hour. I passed the airport fence where it juts out into the trail and there was a small executive jet right above me. It was coming in for a landing on the secondary runway. It’s creepy how they seem to appear out of nowhere.

After I passed under the flight path to the main runway, a 737 landed. A few seconds later a black duck flew from the river into the plane’s air wake. He went haywire, looking as if he had hit an invisible wall. It was like something out of a cartoon. He somehow gathered himself midair, turned, and hightailed it back to the river where the air was calm.

On the way to Friday Coffee Club, I nearly clipped the concrete base of a wrought iron fence at 15th and Constitution. I had to rein in Big Nellie. Whoa, Nellie. I met up with famous local blogger, bike commuter, and curmudgeon Brian in front of the White House. We chatted until we tied up our steeds outside Swings Coffee Saloon.

Friday Coffee Club was crowded, mostly with people I don’t know.  Even so, I had lively conversations with seven or eight people. When warm weather comes, we will definitely have to  move the group outside.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rootchopper/8561386658/in/photostream

(Please note that WordPress refused to embed the photo of the Friday Coffee Club, even when I used html. What lovely software.)

After FCC, I rode past the wooden elks at the Kennedy Center and across the TR Bridge to Rosslyn. The trip up Lynn Street through the Rosslyn Circle of Death was a challenge. At the I-66 off ramp, a white SUV trying to make a right turn on red blocked my access to the crosswalk.  I yelled to get the driver’s attention since she was looking away from me to see if she could turn. She didn’t hear me. So then I really hollered.  She looked at me from her perch behind the wheel with derision as I rolled in front of her grill. I yelled “Get out of the crosswalk” to her and she honked at me. I’m just trying to keep you from putting me in the ER or the grave, you incompetent, scofflaw dipstick.

A block later I watched as two cars coming down Lee Highway ran the red light on Lynn Street to get onto the I-66 ramp. Don’t mind the rest of us. Getting to the office one minute quicker is far more important than anybody else’s lives.

Another block later at 19th Street, a shuttle with a U.S. Forest Service decal on the side, pulled into the crosswalk on red.  I yelled at the driver who was looking the other way. He couldn’t hear me. Rather than take a chance that he would execute his turn while I was in the crosswalk in front of him,  I stopped. Instead of turning, he waited for the green light. Better safe than roadkill. Still four dangerous driving incidents in a quarter mile is ridiculous.

Once I reached the far side of 19th Street, I encountered the Vamoose bus crowd. Arlington lets intercity bus operators to use the corner of Lynn and 19th as a bus terminal. The Vamoose employee had his back to me when he waved the soon-to-be passengers across the sidewalk in front of me. I duck walked through the crowd. Yabba dabba do.

When I got to the parking garage, I knelt and kissed the ground. I cheated Rosslyn once more.

I rode home into a headwind. I won. No one tried to run me over. I won again.

Tomorrow I rest. Sunday I ride for soup. It’s a Swedish thing.

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