7/19/11

Ride In 7/19

Have you ever gotten to work and thought, "Wow, I could really use a panini right now?" Because I'm pretty certain that if I put a foiled brick in my bag this morning, I could have both crushed and warmed a sandwich that it could end up panini-fied. It was just that hot. Of course, the merits of slow-cooking your own pressed sandwich inside of a bag filled with your work clothes might be outweighed by the unfortunate outcome of the perchance melted cheese on your socks.There's probably a very small niche market of bicyclists who would enjoy "cooking" while pedaling and I doubt that sufficient heat could be generated, unless of course, you use some kind of hub that runs to an easy bake oven, which instead of a sandwich, would provide you delicious underbaked brownies. But who wants to whisk together batter in the morning? And furthermore, it's probably not safe to bike along with a child's toy strapped to your rear rack. And what if the timer goes off at an inopportune time? Until they make bike commuter-specific light-bulb powered rear rack-mounted ovens, I'm going to sit out this totally fake and completely non-existent trend.
I made the mistake of thinking that it would be a good day to take the Chain Bridge. I don't ride this route often enough to really know the ins and outs, but I do know that there are two fairly substantial hills on the way there and about 5 minutes into the ride, I could feel that my legs weren't exactly having the best day and that it would be a slog to get in. But what was I going to do? Back down from a self-leveled challenge and use the inter-connectedness of various roadways to shorten my commute and put myself back on a path that was more amenable on account of the weather and how I was feeling? What kind of message would that send to the children? No message at all? Because no one is particularly invested in whether or not you take one route or another? And because they're certainly not in any way impressed if you embark on a unstated march towards self-martyrdom because it in no way impacts their lives or overall well-being? So, I just kept going and figured that it'd be fine and it was. Because as Yogi Berra never said "bike commuting is 90% mental and 100% self-righteous."
Some thoughts on Military Road from Lee Highway to Glebe Road:
  • There's a bike lane on it for most of it, though it's been worn down in some places and could use some restriping.
  • Drivers treat it like a highway and regularly exceed 35 miles per hour, though they seem relatively habituated to bicyclists.
  • It's about 2 miles long and the first climb is way worse than the second one. In between the two climbs, there's a nice descent, which is good for catching your breath. 
  • It's not a popular commuter route, or at least I didn't see anyone else on a bike behind or in front of me. Admittedly, a small sample size.
  • There aren't that many people about, except some kids sitting in their driveways waiting for a bus to pick them up and a mom trotting her toddlers along to what I'm guess were swim lessons. 
I think I need to check my front brake pads for wear. They seemed really slow to slow me down. On Cahin Bridge, I had a guy ride behind me and another guy ride in the opposite direction and saw another bicyclist riding in the roadway from the District to Virginia. This is the most bicyclists I've seen on the bridge. I don't think that DC cyclists are cowed by the heat, though I'd really like someone to look at the morning trail count numbers to see how they correlate to afternoon weather predictions (either high temperatures or rain forecast) to see to what extent bicycling decisions are made with future conditions in mind. My suspicion is that forethought rarely enters the mind of the would-be bike commuter and that decisions are made more on morning weather conditions than anything else.
I don't remember the C&O towpath as being so bumpy. Hurt my wrists a little. Good thing I had my bike gloves (in my bag).
I counted as many cyclists on the CCT between Fletcher's Cove and the Manning staircase today as I did on my entire ride yesterday. I guess this simultaneously speaks to the high numbers of cyclists coming in from the northwest and their preference towards off-street routes.
A pink Cadillac parked on Macomb. Who are you people?
I honestly wanted to ride my bike into the curb and eject myself into the stream of two refreshing-looking lawn sprinklers. It was that hot. 
Traffic seemed bad on Nebraska. I think it was because of the cars.

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