2/14/11

Ride In 2/14

The Weather Channel had the following to say about today's conditions:
WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 10 PM EST THIS EVENING...A WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 10 PM EST THIS EVENING.* TIMING...STRONG WINDS ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. WINDS...WEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS 45 TO 55 MPH. WINDS WILL SHIFT TO THE NORTHWEST THIS EVENING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS. A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT
WIND GUSTS OVER 45 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT...ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.  
So, if you're riding a bike today, don't worry about it. Winds this strong only make driving difficult, so you've got nothing to be afraid of this afternoon. Especially since all drivers will be using extra caution!
I didn't notice the wind too much this morning, but maybe because I was too focused on riding the new bike. While this wasn't my first ride, it was my first commute and really wanted to focus on how the bike felt and handled. I was slightly nervous because the position of the brakes is different and I didn't want to relax too much because I couldn't really rely on muscle memory for quick braking decisions. Luckily, I didn't have to, since I left a little earlier than usual and the drivers I encountered were pleasantly predictable and law-abiding. Being Arlingtonians, I'm sure they were also civic-minded, well-heeled and polite, with only the slightest hint of liberal guilt. Stereotypes!
I'm not really used to riding with drop bars, so my back and shoulders stretched out a little bit differently from my previous riding position. I'm sure I'll get used to it soon enough.  A little harder to get used to is the idea of being at the side-mirror height rather than rear-view mirror height, especially when sneaking past cars on the right. Being upright has its advantages for street riding (street riding sounds so much more hardcore than the lazy dawdling I do) and I'm even starting to consider biking more on trails where I can pedal unimpeded and less worried- which is also more fun. Again, I'm sure I'll get used to it.
Going uphill on my new bike was awesome. It was like being on a ski lift. Or what I presume a ski lift to be like, since I've never been skiing. Actually, I think I went on a ski lift once because I think we were in Vermont, when I was like 7 or 8, and we took these cool rolling car/bobsled things down a concrete path down the side of a mountain. Of course, being 7 or 8, I can't verify that I'd still think these are cool or that the experience was as fun as I'm remembering, but through the gauzy haze of nostalgia, I wholeheartedly endorse the rolling car/bobsled things from somewhere in Vermont when I was 7 or 8. This is why I don't write on Yelp.
I lot of bikes out today, which is a good thing. I think it's getting close enough to spring that the fair weather cyclists are coming back out. Optimistically, I'm hoping that 2011 (with the now well-established [though still under six month old!] and soon -to-be expanded CaBi) is going to be a big year for biking in DC.

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