I was lucky enough to ride a bicycle to work this morning and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Brisk mornings like this are certainly anomalous in the summer hellscape that is Washington (I'm only talking about the weather, not the interns) and it reminded me of when I was a summer camp counselor in high school and we would have to drag the kids to the beach (on a man-made lake in Connecticut, so we're not exactly talking posh) and it was cool enough in the morning to wear a hoodie over your regulation t-shirt "uniform" and the last thing you would ever want to do is set foot in the murky, brownish, opaque water surrounded by screaming 9 year olds. Good times that. The weather might have evoked the memory, but, luckily, not the same sentiment.
I didn't know how well I would feel on the bike this morning on account of my weekend activities, which included both crashing in a hubristic attempt to carry too much coffee and donuts on a bicycle and a totally unrelated "wine tasting" last night which paired the finest of the cheapest wines of Trader Joe's with the finest offerings of the local McDonalds (It was inspired by this and my favorite food blog covered our sampling here).
With regard to my crash, I'll say the following: don't try to do stupid shit like carry a large iced coffee in your left hand while you're also trying to operate a bicycle. I went over a speed bump, began to spill the other iced coffee from my cup holder, went to intervene (note: gravity not something you can impede), lost my balance and began listing right and, for some reason, didn't use my free to hand to pull the brakes. I went down on my right side, scraping my left ankle, bruising my right knee and upper thigh and bruising my ribs. My "never use my hands to brace myself when falling" strategy worked in that I didn't hurt my hands, but the extent to which this strategy can be described as effective is debatable. I spilled both coffees, but my donuts remained cargo netted in place on my rear rack. So, that's good, right? Damage to the bike included my front wheel skewer (since replaced) and my newly installed right-side cork grip (not replaced. Looks bootleg/hardcore, with bootleg and hardcore being terms not mutually exclusive and with a certain amount of overlap).Otherwise, the bike and I are both ok. It was a stupid thing to attempt and I'm glad that the universe found an expeditious and effective way to alert me of that without being overly severe.Utility cycling is a wonderful thing and something I really believe in- just make sure you have to right equipment and wherewithal before deciding that the answer to every single transportation need is "just use a bicycle." I tried to do too much and I paid the (not especially steep, but still embarrassing) price. The Official Wife came and picked me (and the bicycle) up (which we learned could fit in the trunk of the car, so that's good) and I thank her very much. And yes, I also thanked her verbally at the time and I'm not a weirdo who communicates to his wife only via his blog. Not with everything, at least. (Do we have milk? Email me)
I rode the Custis Trail this morning because that seemed more in keeping with the weather. Light bicycle traffic, a bunch of morning zombie joggers and nothing especially out of the ordinary. I'm a complete hypocrite about trail riding since apparently I like it sometimes, in spite of it being boring. I don't like how narrow the trail can feel, especially when passing another bicyclist. Unlike a road, where you can pull out into the travel lane, you can only give a few feet of clearance and then you're riding in the oncoming trail lane. Not ideal, but I guess it's just something to get over.
Biking up 35th Street to Potomac Street makes for direct travel, but I don't think it's very convenient for other road users. There's a three way stop (road traffic on 35th is supposed to be one way between Potomac and M) and because no cars drive up the cobbled stretch of 35th, the drivers are rarely looking for a bicyclist to roll up from that direction. Normally, I diagonally cut across Potomac from the west-side sidewalk to the right travel lane of 35th, but today there were cars stopped on 35th to make left turns and I stuck to the west-side sidewalk and biked in front of LXR. I should have just been more patient and waited to cross the street because I hate biking on the sidewalks in Georgetown. I don't recommend it. For more of my mundane recommendations, tune in tomorrow or read anything I've ever written.
Illegally parked cars! There's a loading zone by the Starbucks on New Mexico that has a no parking/stopping/idling sign but it must have a caveat written in really small letters that says you can do it if you really need coffee. I mean, it must because I can't believe that so many drivers would carelessly disregard the law (something only bicyclists do). Enforcing this would be a great money-maker for the MPD since I'm pretty sure if you can afford a Mercedes convertible, you can afford a parking ticket. Maybe the parking enforcement could be carried out by officers on bicycles for especially sweet justice.
I got to work with no sweat on my brow. That's a wonderful feeling.