After five days without Internet service, I am back at the blog, sounding a bit like Jackie Stewart’s commentary at the winter Olympics, to boot. (It’s a beautiful day here at the blog.) Conditions for bike commuting have been positively eclectic.
Friday’s commute featured a big surprise. I left home early to go to Swings and Friday Coffee Club. I looked for Nancy Duley under the 14th Street Bridge where she has been known to lurk. There were two cyclists there but no Nancy. I continued into the city without incident, pulled into Swings, bought coffee, and sat down at one end of the long table filled with bike commuters. People at the opposite end started yelling for me to come to their end where there was woman with curly hair that I hadn’t seen before. It was Nancy Duley, whom I have never seen without a helmet on. She, of course, fit in perfectly with the gang and had a fine time.
Monday’s commute was so uneventful I don’t remember it. When I get into the bike commuting zone, I get into the zone!
Tuesday morning was pretty muggy. Not much happened on the way to work. In the evening I rode shotgun in a Prius to my friend Kate’s (yep, another Kate!) happy hour party at Bar Louie in Penn Quarter. On the way we stopped at the light at Constitution and 15th just as French Braid Kate (no relation to the Bar Louie Kate) rode across the cross walk in front of us. I am not stalking her. Honest.
I had a couple of beers and commiserated with Bar Louie Kate who was celebrating her new job at a new agency. We met during Earth Day activities. We shared a display table, me doing the bike commute thing and she doing the walk commute thing.
I left the bar at 7 and took the subway back to Rosslyn. I changed and headed out on The Mule at 7:20 with an ominous line of clouds just to the west. I didn’t know there was a severe thunderstorm warning in effect. Oops.
It was still light out so I didn’t bother putting my headlight or taillight on. I knew I’d need them for the second half of the commute so I figured I’d stop and put them on when it got dark.
The ride down the Mount Vernon Trail to Old Town began into a headwind. The trail wasn’t crowded and the riding was peaceful. As expected, by the time I reached Old Town Alexandria it was dark out, suspiciously so. What I didn’t realize was that the weather front had blocked out any remaining daylight and moonlight.
I kept rolling right through Old Town. It was dark but I could see just fine. South of Old Town I rolled along the trail when all of a sudden I entered a cloud of gnats that went on for a half mile. It was biblical. I had to keep my mouth closed. They were hefty little bugs, bouncing off my arms, legs and face. I think if I had my headlight on the size of the swarm would have freaked me out. South of Belle Haven Park the darkness was jet black. I had to slow way down. Seeking street lights, I bailed out on the trail at Tulane Drive, opting to trade the climb up the Park Terrace hill for the blackout.
I noticed that I now had a tailwind. Uh oh.
The good news was the bug swarm was behind me. The bad news was the storm hit. I was drenched in a minute with two miles to go. And the rain was COLD!!! No worries. Pedal, pedal.
I pulled into the Rootchopper Institute and rolled my bike to the backyard shed. It was so dark I had to fish my cell phone out of my panniers to shed some light the lock on the door. Fortunately, by this time, the rain had stopped. When I got inside the house, I noticed that most of the gnats had been washed off my skin.
In the house, home and wet. Nine o’clock. All is well.