Ride Home 4/8

There will be no shutdown for Tales from the Sharrows. Unless that NEH grant finally comes through...
It's always a good idea to decide before you start your ride whether you want to wear gloves or not. I went down New Mexico with one glove on inside-out and one glove that can best de described as "tremain-ing" my right hand on account of my haphazard attempt to get them on before the light turned. By the time I reached Tunlaw, I was mostly good that that I had full access to almost 8 fingers. I would have really appreciated a coaster brake.
It was a beautiful February afternoon today. Shame that it's April.
I don't know how anyone ever drives to Dixie Liquor. I mean, I get the mechanics and I get the why, but that parking lot (two spaces made out of an aborted alley leading to a retaining wall) is one that you can only reverse from. Onto M street no less. There are other places to buy beer, middle-aged balding man driving a Mercedes. If your not pushing a keg up to Village A, I'm not sure why you're shopping there anyway. Thanks for not backing your car into me, though.
Quietish ride through Rosslyn, RoCoCo (my not as yet trademarked name for the Rosslyn-Courthouse Connection I would roughly says runs from Rays Hell Burger Plaza to the top of the hill), Courthouse proper (wherever the hell that is) and Clarendon. I saw a guy that I almost always see when I'm riding home (Bike Commuting as A Movable Feast: Fenders and the Lost Generation is the title of my unfinished English Literature MA thesis) but he was dressed as the Gorton's fisherman. Top and bottom. It wasn't even that rainy.
At the intersection of Wilson and Washington, another biker started a conversation with me. I did not instigate it, I promise. I was determined to cut back on my sociability, so much so that I didn't ask a guy I saw at work about his Bianchi Volpe. Granted my question would have been like "So, Volpe?," but still, I kept it to myself. Ken (I later learned his name) was riding a vintage English three-speed that looks roughly like this. He said that the Cross Check was a good bike to have in weather like today's. I assented and said that I liked his old Brooks saddle. He asked me if I ever took my bike "overnight" and that it'd be a good one for it. I correctly inferred he meant on an overnight trip, like camping, rather than saying it's personal and none of his business. He said that he took his bike overnight, even though it's heavy and the only reason he was riding it today was because of the rain. I asked how long he rode it and he said about 50. Ken had a twang, but I can't say for sure it wasn't 15. I'm not really good at hearing (I'm of Tyrolean heritage, like famed (?) actor Peter Facinelli, and growing up, I "learned" that one of the properties of being Tyrolean was not being able to hear anything clearly and always having to say "what?" If there are any other Tyroleans out there, feel free to let me know if this was just some family idiosyncrasy or whether it is a characteristic of our people) and furthermore, I have a hard time with twangs (I can do Long Island and Boston and even old Yankee farmer types, but southern accents are tricky for me). He said that he went on a trip to the AT last weekend. I thought he asked if I knew where the AT was, so when I said no, and he said "Appalachian Trail," I figured he asked whether I knew what the AT was. We can all thank Mark Sanford for knowing what the AT is, though his AT was more euphemistic. Anyway, Ken said that he was going to camp on the AT last weekend, but because of the rain/hail, they ended up getting a cabin. It had a wood stove. I made wood stove small talk- I grew up in a house with a wood stove and like the wood stove smell. At this point, we were riding together along Fairfax. I asked him if his bike weighed about 35. He said probably not, but when his kid sits on the back (where he had a cool collapsible bike seat), it's heavier. He said he puts one kid on the back and has the other kid straddle the top tube. I thought that was rather badass of him and wanted to ask if anyone ever gave him flak about it, but the next thing he asked me was how far I was going. I said Quincy and he might have been a bit confused, because he was probably traveling much farther (he camps, so I assume his commute is much more rugged and distant than mine) and was looking for the name a municipality. He asked for my name (I lied and said Rodrigo. Ok, I told him the truth, but I have this very strange compunction to want to tell really mundane lies to total strangers. I guess I also want to have been named Rodrigo) and we did a bikey handshake type thing and that was that. So ends, on a positive note, my quest to talk to a stranger during my bike commute.

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