2/14/11

Ride Home 2/14

Two "milestones" today-

  1. First ride home where I didn't need lights. Spring is coming and that means warmer weather, but to my mind, it's the darkness that's the worst part about riding home in the winter. I like being visible and I prefer sunlight to intermittently blinking LED lights. Plus, when you get home, you feel like you've actually got some evening left. 
  2. Got stuck on the wrong side of the barrier on Key Bridge. That's right, biked along with the cars. Not totally sure how it happened. I came down 34th towards M and thought I was in the turn lane that would allow me to cut across to the sidewalk while not getting in front of any cars. Instead, I was in the left-most lane getting onto the bridge and would have had to ride diagonally through a lane of fast approaching cars to get to the side-path. I've seen other bikers in the car lane before, so it's not like it's 395 or anything. It's been done. But, really, I'm not that kind of bike commuter. The only thing I'm trying to do is get to and from work with as little hassle as possible and in a way that makes me feel good. Being stuck in that lane did neither of those things. I tried to get my bike into the most aggressive gear ratio possible and go as fast as possible, but I'm still not used to how the bar end shifters work. I ended up pedaling as fast as I could, but I was on the smaller front chain ring. I guess it was fast enough and the cars just passed (they actually moved entirely out of the lane to get around me, which I consider a big, lucky victory for local bicycle awareness maybe?). The light at the end of the bridge was red and I was behind four or so cars when I came to a stop. I thought about hopping over the barrier, but it's maybe 3-3 1/2 feet high and there's no way I was going to get over it without either falling flat on my face and scraping the paint off my brand new bike. I even imagined a worst-care scenario in which I tripped and my bike flew out of my hands and over the side of the bridge, plummeting into the Potomac with a pathetic little splash. Or it could have landed on a barge to South America. I just rode to the end of the bridge and got back on the sidewalk after the entrance to the GW Parkway.

I rode on the Custis to Veitch, then up Key to Fairfax. Fairfax is a wind tunnel and today was especially bad. I don't understand how wind seems to blow against me regardless of what direction I'm riding. That's kinda bullshit and I don't appreciate it, but there's some cliche about complaining about the weather, so I won't engage in that (too much). I might have overexerted myself on the dramatic Escape from DC via bike (Kurt Russell- if you're reading this, call me.), but there was at least two times where the wind pretty much slowed me to barely a crawl or whatever the bike equivalent of a crawl is. But that's life and it was just nice getting home.

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