And with very little warning, we are now biking in hell.
Overnight spring hit the road and summer crashed the party,
I left home a little after 8, about an hour later than normal. My legs were dead from yesterday’s urban excursion. The air was thick with humidity. In short order I was in my commute trance. 12 miles per hour. Chain going zzzzzzz. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy.
I look up and a young woman who reminds me of Katie. She smiles and says hello then is gone in the direction I came. Whoever it was my apologies for my response which went something like this: UH?
I rode across the 14th Street bridge to go to the credit union at L’Enfant Plaza. You’d think I’d follow my old bike commute route but my brain now equates the bridge with Friday Coffee Club. I was on riding counterclockwise around the Tidal Basin instead of riding along the river on Ohio Drive. All this meant was that I’d be riding with cars instead of dodging tour buses. The drivers in the cars were uncharacteristically civil and I made it to my destination without one tire mark up my back.
The bike parking was all filled up. This never happened when I worked there. Something must be done. I decided to lock Little Nellie next to the scrum of bikes and make fast work of my trip inside.
Little Nellie survived.
To head to work I rode the switchback bridge to East Potomac Park. Fellow blogger Mary recently triumphed over the tight turns on this bridge. I had no trouble at all. It helps that Little Nellie has itty bitty wheels. Mary was riding a big kid’s bike.
Just for the hell of it, I rode the DC side of the river to the Memorial Bridge. Then it was up Memorial Drive toward the entrance to Arlington Cemetery. I took the trail that passes the border of the cemetery. Thousands of white headstones arranged in military precision lined up along the green ground. It’s almost as if someone planted a crop of white stones. It is a beautiful sight and a sad one. I haven’t been into the cemetery in 20 years. I should spend a day there sometime soon.
Up the hill toward Fort Myer and past the Netherlands Carillon. For some reason there are two minature sphynxes standing guard. Did I miss something about Holland conquering Egypt?
From this direction, I do not go through the Intersection of Doom. Nobody ran a red light in front of me. Nobody tried to kill me to shave a minute off their drive to work. It felt surreal.
My 5 pm meeting was canceled so I left the office at my usual time. There was nothing in my legs. Lead legs. An appalling number of people passed me. CaBi bikes passed me. It was sad. It was as if I had my own personal headwind. (Depeche Mode, eat your heart out.)
I started hearing an annoying clattering noise. It came and went. Finally I stopped to investigate. A lanyard had fallen out of my saddle bag and was draped across my front brakes. The metal clasp was dancing on the spokes. It it had fallen into the front wheel the wheel might have locked up. It would not have been pretty.
Near the airport an attractive young woman rode by, slowed and said, “Cute pin.” My brain, firing on all cylinders, compelled my mouth to grunt “Thanks.” I am so suave with my repartee.
It took me a full minute to realize that she was admiring the Sharrows pin on my saddle bag. This happened once before when Alex Baca introduced called out my Sharrows pin in Baltimore on the Tour de Port ride. We ended up doing several rides together after which she left town and changed her cellphone number. Savoir faire is everywhere.
The rest of the ride was taken up with all the clever retorts I could have said to the passing pin woman. You know, the kind of thing Sean Connery’s Bond always came up with. (“I’m Pussy Galore.” “I must be dreaming.”)
Little Nellie was behaving oddly. I felt like the bike was moving laterally beneath me. I stopped to check things out but could find nothing wrong.
We made it home without incident. When I hopped off my bike, the humidity hit me like a wet sock.
So it begins.