GUEST POST: La Burbuja’s Guest Chicken 8/21/2012

I love people who don't just wade into the tepid waters of bike commute blogging, but instead take a flying leap off the diving board, much like did La Burbuja, who is an awesome person. While I'm off lounging on a tropical beach somewhere (or marginally overwhelmed with minor professional obligations) she's out riding and writing ensuring the the dear readers of this blog (now in double digits!) have something to peruse. I don't like to bandy about this word lightly, but "hero" comes to mind. As does "gyro," but mostly because I didn't have any birthday cake for breakfast this morning. Millions of thanks!

I’m not sure I’m up to writing this post but figured I’d give it a try. Seems like if I don’t do it, there won’t be one, so it really just has to be more interesting than nothingness. Doesn’t sound too hard, but let’s not count any chickens before they hatch.

Some days I bike all the way to work, from Adams Morgan to Suitland. This involves bikey clothes and a shower (or reasonable facsimile) when I get to work, and using my own bike (an oldish steel road bike which was made custom for someone other than me), and the smell of fish (Maine Ave) and the smell of trucks (Maine Ave) and crossing bridges with narrow ‘ATLs’ (the one on Rock Creek Parkway over the Tidal Basin, and the one on South Capitol over the Anacostia), and one pretty gigantic hill (Naylor Road). On other days I just bike either to U st or Gallery Place and take the metro. This involves worky clothes and Cabi and the 15th street cycletrack and people looking at me funny/nervously for being so sweaty on the metro and knitting. Actually in the summer, my drippy face generally doesn’t merit a second look, but when it’s cooler, some people look a little like they think I might have a bomb strapped to my chest. And some days, I telework (now, two days a week!). This involves sleepy clothes and way better lunches and the radio on and hearing the neighbor’s dog Emma (not to be confused with Ellie) barking a whole bunch.

Today I thought I would take my own bike but we had an overnight guest sleeping in the study. And while I was smart and forward-thinking enough to get my bike out last night to avoid waking our guest at the crack of freakin’ dawn when I leave for work (well, 7:15 ish), I was not anywhere near forward-thinking enough to also get my bike bag out. The thing I like least about bike commuting is having to remember a whole bunch of stuff including clothes and undergarments and work shoes and shower stuff (“shower stuff” sounds like a new overpriced liquid soap but I just mean my soap and shampoo and towel and comb). The thing I like best is the bike commuting part. So today was a Cabi and Metro day.

Sometimes I have a mad dash between my coffee and getting dressed an repeated checking of Spotcycle to see if I’ll have a bike and then even when I think I will, I don’t. But today there were lots of bikes. Yay! And the morning was cool and crispy (well, crispyish), and all the cyclists around me were delightfully non-shoaly (even the ones who were obviously faster waited behind me at the red light and then passed appropriately after we were moving again). I don’t really mind some shoaling when I’m on a Cabi and the other person is on a fast bike and/or clipped in and is clearly going to go faster, as long as they don’t do it on my right, or then be all stupid slow and checking their phone or spazzy clipping in when the light turns green (for the record, I am very patient about slow starters and riders in front of me if they didn’t just shoal me). My least favorite kinds of shoaling are 1) when I am commuting on my road bike (clipped in and moderately bikey looking), and some goofball shoals but then is really really slow, and 2) when I’m on a bike ride ride (vs commuting) and waiting patiently at a LONG red light on Beach drive, and some old man rolls up and plants himself in front of me and then is kinda slow and sucky when the light turns green and I’m stuck behind him for a while. Dude, really? What made you assume you were faster? Or did you just feel so entitled you didn’t even think about it?

On the way home I got out of the Metro at Waterfront in order to enjoy a slightly longer ride home. And the first (tiny little itty bitty) raindrops started to fall just as I took a bike out of the dock. But for some reason (and its not that I’m general an optimist, cuz I’m not) I was pretty convinced that the rain wouldn’t be too bad. But whatever the reason, I think maybe it was the same reason that on Sunday I thought I had time for a nice bike ride on Beach Drive before the rain started. I was wrong. Both times. I got totally totally, completely 100% soaked both days. Like it’s hard to keep your eyes open with your sunglasses on or off soaked. Like your sandal straps stretch way out of whack and your feet get all slippy slippy on the pedals and practically slip out of your sandals soaked. Like you have to wring out your clothes before hanging them in the shower to dry soaked. On Sunday I was still maybe 10 miles from home when it started pouring. This evening I was on Madison by the Mall. (Oops – I just realized I didn’t give any details about my route. Hope that wasn’t a requirement….)

On Sunday the rain followed a slightly annoying thing (old man shoalers) and a very unpleasant and scary thing (an on-purpose pulling up of a pick truck within 2 inches of me at a red light and a dick of a driver pointing me to the side of the road). And then it started raining. At first I was all “this sucks” and “I shouldn’t have gone so far from home,” but then I realized how beautiful and peaceful Rock Creek Park is in the rain when its almost empty, and how most people are very smiley (like in a snow storm), and how I was really glad that I hadn’t had a better weather forecast cuz I would have missed a great ride. Today was kinda the same; the rain didn’t follow anything bad or unpleasant (well, work), but I questioned whether getting off the Metro was a dumb idea, and I thought about how getting work clothes wring-‘em-out soaked is more of a pain than throwing bike clothes in the wash. But then I realized how much fun I was having riding through torrents of water, and I self-congratulated my brilliance for taking 15th street north (rather than 12th street like I usually do) (Hey look! Route info!). And people were huddled under building ledges and umbrellas, and scurrying about. Some of them looked a little miserable, and some of them looked like they felt bad for me. And I was totally soaking wet and smiling.


  1. This may be one of my favorite posts. What a lovely writeup of how great biking can be, even and ESPECIALLY in inclement weather.

    I doubt that's never been said for a car or bus commute.