Guest-Poster's Ride In/Out for 6/1

A million thanks to my good friend Jon for filling in today. B.

As, I believe, the first un-special guest blogger in the Sharrows, I feel it’s my duty to pay my respects to the Official Wife and Brother by starting my commuting adventure thusly: “I rode over the [George Mason] Bridge today and the pedestrians were [jamming up the sidewalk on 15th Street on the side of the White House] even though I rang my bell [a googleplex] times. I was passed too closely by a [735i] and the driver was a total [Mets’ fan] and that's why I don't believe in the [Victor/Victoria] Effect.”
Well, for the next few weeks, I’m commuting from the Del Ray area of Alexandria to George Washington University’s campus. First, let’s ponder why it is that the only people who have the time to blog about their bike commutes seem to be riding to institutions of higher learning. Actually, let’s not, since doing so will only serve to invalidate our entire existences.
Also, don’t expect photos – I’m far too new at biking to take pictures; I barely even release my death grip on the handlebars. I had my bike stolen in 1990 from the Church parking lot (I was an alter boy), and I didn’t own a bike again until 2009.
So, my commute. I don’t have a fancy bike that I’ve tricked out like someone from “Fast Five.” In fact, I have the same model Trek that the Official Sharrow-man got rid of recently. I think I have a pretty fortunate commute. Of my 6.7 miles, only 6 blocks are not on bike lane or dedicated bike path. I left at 7:30. The air had a consumme-like quality to it, as opposed to the concentrated-mushroom-soup density it had when I biked home at 12:45. I left our complex and pulled in behind a guy who appeared to know what he was doing. He even had one of those rear-view mirrors on his helmet. I always wondered if they were dentist mirrors that people duct-tapped onto their helmets – I’ve learned the answer to that is “no.” As we drew towards the Mt. Vernon Trail, however, he slows down and asks me how to get to the Trail. Note to self, don’t confuse looking the part with expertise.
I followed the Trail past Reagan Airport. Digression - I self-identify as a huge airplane nerd. In fact, when I went to London for the first time at age 13, the only souvenirs I brought home were airline schedules. The Trail was great because you go right under the final approach path for southbound landings. For what it's worth, Reagan has a very intricate approach because of various airspace restrictions. However, this childish enthusiasm was mitigated by the lack of a guardrail between me and the GW Memorial Parkway. The path was a bit bumpy, and I didn’t feature getting taken out by a car doing 50 mph on my first day of bike commuting.
I followed the Trail over the George Mason Bridge and entered the District to do some sight-seeing. I went by the Jefferson Memorial, and no, no one was dancing. I followed 15th Street past the Washington Memorial and Elipse, before I encountered my very first tourists. I can’t imagine how the chaperones got hundreds of teenagers lined up outside the White House at 8am, but god bless them. I’d rather study for the Maryland Bar Exam.
I turned left on to Pennsylvania. This was, perhaps, the most surreal part of the trip. There were a couple of protestors in their tents by Lafayette Park, but really, I was about the only person going down this blocked off street passing in front of the White House. Having lived in the Midwest, Mountain West, and South my whole life, there is something really impressive about that House the few times I’ve ever seen it. The Boy Scout in me hopes I never lose that appreciation.
Parking at school was no problem. The bike racks feel a bit hidden to me, but perhaps that’s a good thing so that casual passers-by will not mess with them. When I left School at midday, most of the bike racks in the area were totally filled.
I didn’t really observe things or ponder tax policy much during this ride, since I was too afraid of getting lost, but I hope to pay more attention as I continue the commute. I should probably remember my iPhone tomorrow. I was surprised at the number of bike commuters. I think I probably saw at least 30 on my trip. My trip took about 30 minutes, so I think I hit that magical 1 commuter/minute mark.
No separate Ride Home post; I really don’t remember anything about coming home, since all I wanted to do was die in the heat.
Also, I can say with certitude that I wrote this post.

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