When I don't go to work, I tend not to commute by bike. That's something of a tautology, which I believe is also the name of those snow camels from the beginning of Empire Strikes Back. So, I had nothing to blog about, unless you wanted to read about how I missed the opportunity to get EtP the pumpkin spice spa package at the groomer. Luckily, though, the #bikeDC community is full of wonderful people and when I heard that one of them had a ride home that she really enjoyed, I reached out and "BAM!" within seconds I had this post waiting for me in my inbox. I really ought to adjust my "You've got mail" sound to something more soothing than "BAM!" When I get a lot of spam, it's like I'm at the Somme. Anyway. It also helps that this post of courtesy of the internet's most beloved bike commuter (they had a vote and she won), who can crank out a great blog post like nobody's business. Thanks, MG!
Fall days like the past few we've had are some of my favorites for bike commuting. Days are mild, but neither the mornings or evenings have that cold bite to them yet. Night comes sooner, clearing out the commuter traffic somewhat.
Tonight I jetted out of the office just as the last bit of daylight was still in the sky. I looked at the flags around the Washington Monument. They said to me, “Tailwind on the backside of Hains Point.” I felt the mild air breeze by. It said, “You should ride some extra miles.”
I agreed and guided myself through the Lincoln Memorial tourists and down Ohio Drive to that famous local bicycle haunt, Hains Point. Despite the pleasant temperatures, the Point was pretty empty. The occasional roadie buzzed by me. Little did they know I was carrying a hefty cookbook in my pannier. And a U-Lock. A pair of shoes. An umbrella. And War and Peace, large print version. Ok, not War and Peace, but the other things, yes. So that's the only reason they were passing me. Yeah, that's the story I told myself.
|Even slow laps around Hains Point are still faster than making a pot roast!|
I've really been enjoying the Point of late. For whatever reason, I've been finding it quite meditative. I fought the headwind down north/east side of the point and made the turn to the tailwind. Yes! I tooled around lost in thought, watching the lights of the planes as they waited in diagonal lines in the sky to land at National Airport.
As I went to begin another lap, someone greeted me. My friend Michael! He was riding a carbon bike with no fenders, but we're friends anyway. Not having seen each other for several weeks, we rode around chatting and catching up on life.
As we rode, a group of three cyclists passed on our left. One of them rode a beautiful red Bridgestone RB-1 that I'd seen on the Point before, accessorized with a white Ortlieb pannier. Style points for that pannier, sir. Some of you know that bike man Grant Petersen designed these bikes before founding Rivendell (and prior to writing his current book, Just Ride).
The other bike looked like a Coho. Cohos are handbuilt bikes that were made in North Carolina by Chuck Lathe. I've ridden a couple of brevets with Chuck, and always liked the aesthetics of his bikes. Chuck stopped making Cohos a couple of years ago, and I have never seen them in our area.
I told Michael I had to ask this guy about his bike. Michael and I pulled up alongside the trio, and I asked the owner about his beautiful Coho. It was so exciting to see lugged steel on Hains Point! According to the owner, I was looking at the last Coho that Chuck Lathe ever made. Wow!
If you're not a steel bike geek, my story might not sound too exciting. For me, though, it was the cherry on top of my beautiful evening. I enjoyed the beautiful weather and quiet night, unexpectedly caught up with a good friend, and saw two stunning steel bikes that are no longer made, all from the perch of my saddle on the post-work commute.