Chatting, Squalling, Passing

My bike commutes are mostly solo affairs in which I go into a trance and re-emerge at the Intersection of Doom. Nothing takes you out of a deep meditative state quite like near certain death.

This morning, however, I rode about 8 miles of my commute with Big Ed, a caffeine addict with a biking problem. I call him Big Ed because, well, he’s big, but it also distinquishes him from Felkerino, who drinks espresso like tap water.

Big Ed sure is loquacious. Normally I’d rather ride along but he was splendid company and didn’t take out a single oncoming ride. He rides a Surly Ogre which is a rather intimidating steed. On coming riders moved off the trail, dismounted, and bowed.

Ed veered off at the Crystal City connector trail next to National Airport. He was in search of his morning fix. I later learned he achieved caffeine satisfaction.

While Ed was amping up, I found myself riding into a headwind which suddenly turned into a snow squall. I tried to take pictures but I lack patience and photographic skill. Here’s a couple of my failures.

Sadly, the dried geese poop on the trail can be confused with the few snowflakes. At least the Washington Monument is in a snowy haze.

The rest of the ride in was a bit of a struggle into the wind but I managed.

The wind maintained during the day allowing me to ride home effortlessly with a cold tailwind. Near the Memorial Bridge I passed Flogini, the erstwhile spiritual adviser to the Rootchopper Institute, as she rode toward me. It was only the second time our paths have crossed in a year and a half. (I don’t think she recognized me because she had no eye protection and was taking a cold wind to the face.) It’s sad to think that in all that time we’ve seen each other for about 3 seconds.

The rest of the ride home was, forgive the expression, a breeze. My pedaling mechanics seem suddenly to be quite good, especially for this time of year. I am also getting out of the saddle much more than I have in years.

Tomorrow will be another cold commute, then the next seven days should be in the 60s and 70s. In February. In DC. Wow.



Neither Rain, Nor Saddle Will Stay This Coffeeneur from the Swift Completion of His Caffeine Addiction

I check the weather. It was 58 degrees, a bit breezy, with a touch of mist in the air. Basically, it’s impossible to dress for this kind of crap. So I put on my shorts, a wicking shirt, and some wool socks, and topped it off with my Marmot Precip rain jacket and headed out to get The Mule.

At the last coffee club, Ed, founder of the coffee club and King of Espresso, took a hold of the top of my saddle and wiggled it. It sounded like it was about to fall apart.  What a shame. It’s a Brooks Flyer, a leather saddle with suspension springs. The leather is broken in like a well worn baseball glove. Unfortunately, the saddle is sagging in the middle, and the tensioning bolt is stripped. It’s kaput.

So the mission was to ride to Bicycle Space, a bike shop in DC that carries Brooks saddles.  No sooner had I put my feet on the pedals than the rain started. No longer mist, this was a steady soaking rain, great for lawns, lousy for fall bike rides.

I stopped, put my hood up underneath my helmet and pedaled away. The Mount Vernon Trail was slick with wet leaves so the going was slow and methodical. The rain let up, but the leaves still meant no quick stops or turns or there would be a quick fall. On the Dyke Marsh bridge, a 50-something cyclists on a road bike was peeling himself off the decking. He was okay; he just felt stupid for riding too fast on the slick boards. In Belle Haven Park, crocuses were in bloom. All this cold rain fooled them into thinking it was spring.

Along the trail just north of Old Town, a middle aged couple was walking, he on the right, she on the left. The came to an intersection and crossed. A bollard was situated in the middle of the trail in front of them. She steps to the left of the bollard directly into my path. I had my finger on my bell but he tugged her to the right side of the trail. I rolled past and heard him say, “Say something” to me. So I said, “Walk on the right” a decent enough retort as I didn’t use more colorful language or confront him.

The planes were taking off to the north meaning I had a head wind. So I ground away at 10 miles per hour, just right for rolling over the wet leaves and keeping the rubber side down. In the city I rode up 7th Street hitting red light after red light. Um, DC, it’s Sunday and the mall area is deserted. Set the lights to blinking, please.

I rode through Chinatown looking for Chinatown Coffee for my coffeeneuring fix. I couldn’t find it and did not have my smartphone to help me (it’s government issue and I am forbidden from using it). I continued on to Bicycle Space and bought the saddle. With a new saddle and its recently installed, The Mule has a completely different feel.

After my shopping stop, I rode over to Eastern Market and sat down for a cup of coffee and a scone. The coffee at Peregrine Espresso  was as good as I’ve had so far and the scone was delish. Back on the bike, I rode back to the MVT and headed for home. I ran into Ed, a friend from work, who is also furloughed. After the chat is was on to home with a ten mile ride around the perimeter of the Fort Hunt neighborhood and a stop at Sherwood Hall Gourmet for a Garry’s Lunchbox sammich.

At the end of the ride, I was left with one question: why does Peregrine spell it’s name with a schwa?

Coffee, Scone, and Schwa
Coffee, Scone, and Schwa

Coffeeneur No. 4:

Place: Peregrine Espresso at Eastern Market

Drink: House blend (Mexican) and a scone

Miles: 43