New Commute vs. Old Commute

It's been a little more than a month since I traded my old bike commute for my new bike commute. Last time I did that was about a year earlier, when I moved and shaved off about 5 miles from my previous commute of about 5 years. This time, I changed jobs and my new office is a scant .6 miles away from where I live. It is an implausibly short bike commute and someone with more common sense and reputational (and financial) sunk cost in being a bike commuter would probably have upgraded to a more civilized walk to work, but I am not someone with more common sense. I have just as much common sense as I have. No more, no less.

Allow me to regale you with details of my route:

I go outside the building and cross the street to 17th Street, which has a one-way bike lane south. I ride in this bike lane from S Street to Massachusetts. There are a few stop lights and a few stop signs. There are even a few midblock crosswalks. And there are buildings and people and parked cars and all that jazz. You've seen a city before. At Massachusetts, I make a right turn and ride about halfway between 17th and 18th to make a midblock left up a ramp, onto the sidewalk and then into the building's front courtyard area, where there is ample, but poor quality bike parking. My bike stays outside all day and I ride home up 18th to New Hampshire and then for a few blocks before arriving. Both rides together take about 10 minutes and might even be faster.

Here are some things I miss about my old commute:

Hills. Yes, this is weird, but climbing uphill to work everyday made me a much better cyclist than I would have been otherwise. Seeing as I am a 'not very good cyclist,' hills are the only thing that kept me on the positive side of 'sort of knows how to ride a bike.'

Exercise. It was never much, but my rides used to be long enough that I could pretend they counted as exercise. It's really hard to do this now and I find myself sometimes feeling pressure to go for bike rides on weekends to, you know, actually bike a little.

Escaping my bubble.  Had I not worked where I worked, which was clear on the opposite side of the city from where I lived, I don't think I would have had nearly as much exposure to the physical and human geography of DC. There was something about having a crosstown bike commute that inspired/allowed me to try to come up with a bunch of different ways to get there and in so doing, exposed me to routes and roads and trails and neighborhoods that I probably wouldn't have seen had I just ridden recreationally. But then again, my idea of a fun weekend is aimlessly biking around the city, so maybe I would have see these things anyway. But I wouldn't have come to know them as well.

Parking inside. I used to have some nice indoor bike parking options, that I don't really have now. Policy would allow me to bring my bike into my office, but it's narrow and I have to meet with people a lot and I think the bike would be kind of imposition. I'm also new and I haven't seen anyone else do it and I don't really need to be a pathbreaker here.

Things I don't miss:

Changing clothes at the office. I get to ride in my work clothes now. Even in the middle of summer. I don't miss having to bring work clothes with me (and spilling coffee on them). I don't miss changing in a locker room or worse, my office, and I don't miss having sweaty/wet bike clothes that I either needed to find a way to dry or leave sweaty/wet and then put back on at the end of the day. I get to ride like this now and it really does make a difference to my overall attitude and readiness to work in the morning.

what excellent hair says no one
I bought Vans. #blackonblack #fullyloaded

Some bad stretches of road. There are definitely parts of the 6 blocks I ride that could be improved upon, but compared to certain stretches of the old commute, I feel pretty good. There are no downhill stretches where drivers would routinely do sketchy things where I wouldn't have been able to stop and the combination of stop lights and stop signs really make it so that I'm never traveling for long periods of time along drivers going any faster than 25mph. I'm not crazy about my left turn across two lanes of traffic on Mass to get into the bike parking area, but in the morning, that's mostly congested anyway.

The high cost of forgetfulness. With a longer bike commute, you really need to remember everything. Like socks. Or pants or a wallet or your lunch. It sucks to leave these things at home and in spite of knowing this, I would habitually forget these items and then I'd either be stuck at work without them (never pants though) or I'd have to ride all the way home to get them. With a 5 minute ride, there's basically no cost to be as forgetful as I want. I left my badge at home two weeks ago, realized it when I got to the office, went back home, and then came back, all within about 7 minutes. That was swell.

So that's about it. On balance, I think I wish my bike commute were a little longer, but even if the Goldilocks distance does exist, I'm not terribly torn up by the new routine. I think it'll pay even greater dividends in winter, but I never really minded riding in winter. I never really minded bike commuting ever- even on the bad days when the forces of man and nature conspired to make it harder than it needed to be- and I'm sure I'll continue not to mind this bike commute in its new iteration either. I do miss seeing lots of other bicyclists- I see about 8 a day, split evenly between morning and night, but never the same ones- and I'll miss feeling like I can get a pulse on whether it's a 'good bike day' or a 'bad bike day' (though this is far more art than science) accordingly. But when it all comes down to it, I still get to ride my bike to work, so how bad can things be really.


All City Nature Boy Disc

This isn't a bike review. It might be a review, but if it's a review of anything, it's a me review. Yay solipsism.

I didn't need a fourth bike. I certainly didn't need a singlespeed cross bike, nor did I need to justify the purchase this bike with the SOLEMN OATH that I would in fact, at least once, enter it and me into a cyclocross race in the upcoming fall even though I made that solemn oath anyway much to my future self's detriment, but that's future me's problem which current me continues to ignore and past me never really took into consideration. I can't really tell you why I fell in love with this bike, which happened well in advance of the purchase. I think I was drawn to it because I've long been intrigued by singlespeeds and liked the idea of disc brakes on a singlespeed. I remember liking the Raleigh Furley a few years back, but never got around to liking it enough to buying it. I guess I was drawn to the simplicity of the bike (gearing simplicity being a seeming antidote to a complicated life?) but that seems more like an post-facto excuse than a justification. This isn't my first All City- I purchased the pink Mr. Pink in a fit of Cherry Blossom Madness (check the DSM V)- and I've loved that bike from the very beginning to the point that I love it so much I barely even ride it. It's that beloved. So I was acquainted with the brand and the quality bike parts on this Quality Bike Parts mark, but I don't even think that brand familiarity and allegiance was enough to push me over the top. What did it, I think, was Star Wars.

This bike is black and shiny. Like Darth Vader's helmet. I can't look about this bike and not think about Darth Vader. This condition is also in the DSM V or at least was until the DSM people sold out to Disney. It's weird to love a bike because it's black, the most boring of bike colors, but that's what I love about it. The paint. What's on the surface. The superficial. I don't know. All I'm saying is that I saw Rogue One in December and bought this bike in January this definitely indicates that there is complete and total causation between these two events.

I've had it for a few weeks and I've done a few rides already. I rode it home from the shop in the rain with no lights. That was ill-advised. I took it out on the C&O towpath for 30 miles when I only intended to take it 10. And then I took it back to DC on River Road, which is not flat. Not flat and one gear was an unexpected challenge and surpassed my expectations in terms of difficulty. I think I would be more ready for it now, but my lack of preparation (no food or water) and my lack of familiarity with the demands of having only one gear, slowed me but didn't break me. I've taken it the 3 uphill miles to work a few times and have minded it less with each trip.

I think I love this bike. Maybe not as much as the Pink, but still a lot. It's obvious that I would love this bike. It's steel. It has nice lines. It's shiny and black like Darth Vader's helmet. The shiny black paint holds dirt well, which I appreciate. It pushes me harder than I would generally prefer to be pushed and this is good for me. It makes nice noises. And it's not exactly a reach bike pricewise and not so fancy or precious (I love beautiful bikes, but preciousness rankles me) that if I knock it over once, I'll cry a swimming pool's worth of tears. It's a good solid bike that does exactly what it does and I'm looking forward to spending more time with it in the coming months. I don't have any ambitious plans about long rides (the initial metric has temporarily dissuaded me from such enterprises, plus I don't spend enough time on the Mr. Pink to sacrifice my few non-commute rides to the new bike) and I suppose I'll have to learn a scant minimum about of cyclocross skills so as to not end up in a literal ditch in October, so I guess the bike and I will bond over that. And I think I'll keep riding it to work on the days when it's dry (no fenders and I wouldn't dare, even though you could).

I didn't need this bike. At least not for any practical purpose. The Pink does all my 'fun' rides and the new-and-improved Ogre (now with Rohloff hub) beastily handles the day to day and the Brompton, I don't know, figures out ways to justify itself like when I have to pick up a rental car on the other side of town twice or year or if I have to ride Metro but still need a bike with me as a safety blanket. But I'm glad that I bought this bike and maybe gladder still because it's for no practical purpose at all (even though the bike is, in many ways, extremely practical). I have no regrets now (talk to me again when I'm in that ditch) and I look forward to continuing to enjoy this bike for years to come.

Here's a picture:

A photo posted by @brianmcentee on


Year Prudence 2016

Retrospection, which is Latin for 'old-timey glasses,' is a crucial element of any end-of-year blog post and especially for ones that try to sum up what was, in most cases, a rather shit sandwich of a year. [Insert your favorite celebrity here] died and [insert an angry string of expletives here] happened in politics and worst of all, Washington City Paper continued to publish Gear Prudence, a bike advice column which is neither about bikes nor advice while putatively claiming to be about both. Nevertheless, to celebrate their continued weekly mistake, I've gone back and highlighted the Top 12 GP entries from 2016 and, much like last year, the reasoning that undergirds the selection. So let us look back now that we may never have to look back at 2016 again.

Gear Prudence: Why don't they make left-handed bar tape?
Justification: Super great question and a surprising answer. I had no idea that the Rothschilds, the Bilderbergs and the Trilateral Commission were so involved in this insidious plot to keep southpaw bar tape off the market, but it's amazing how much you can learn with some quick googling. This question far surpassed the one about swearing in front of children  as a topic of interest.

Gear Prudence: My bike is stuck in a tree. This is so messed up. Can I borrow a saw?
Justification: You should never saw down a tree, even if your bike gets stuck up there. As GP rightly wrote, you have to convince birds to carry your bike down and this is why you should always fill your saddle bag with birdseed. Rookie mistake, bro! Other rookie mistakes include not knowing bicycle emoji to use when tweeting, but this isn't nearly as egregious as the birdseed thing. Get your shit together people!

Gear Prudence: What's the best material for a bike: carbon or elven steel, as was used in the forging of Narsil, the sword of Isildur, wielded by Elendil during the war between the last alliance of men and elves against Sauron Lord of Mordor at the end of the Second Age?
Justification: Another tech-y question. I always feel out of my depth on these because I don't have a lot of bike shop experience and never know if the tensile strength of carbon is superior to the magical properties of fictitious swords, but I did the best that I could with the answer. Far better than the answer I offered on visiting the cherry blossoms by bike.

Gear Prudence: I want to replace my pedals with different pedals, but I'm worried my feet are shrinking by nearly imperceptible amounts each day. Is this a thing?
Justification: It was another close one down between this and the one about who keeps the bike friends after a breakup, but what won the day here was the mystery of whether the questioners feet were actually shrinking or whether it was a paranoid delusion. Just so hard to know! Either way the answer is flat pedals, but different sizes on left on right and you have to switch the pedals each day in case the wrong foot was shrinking at the wrong time.

Gear Prudence: I think the car that honked at me was a Transformer. Can we arrest Michael Bay and try him for war crimes?
Justification: I know, right!? We all want to convene the International Criminal Court and prosecute him, but that's just not in the cards. Same as biking on a first date- there are just some things you don't do.

Gear Prudence: My cat allergy keeps me from biking in Petworth. Why can't they rename it Dogworth to clear up the ambiguity and my sinuses?
Justification: You can't just rename neighborhoods. Trust me, I've tried. Do you think that anyone wants to keep calling it Foggy Bottom? Nope. It's just inertia, but each time I write a successively angrier letter to Rand McNally about changing it, I'm visited by that same put-upon sheriff with that same dog-eared cease-and-desist letter. It's frustrating, but not quite as frustrating as not know how guilty to feel about riding another cyclist into danger.

Gear Prudence: I want to ride a century, but I'm opposed to the idea of riding for 100 years straight. Am I misunderstanding anything?
Justification: Nope. "That's definitely what a century means" was the shortest GP answer ever, but it's hard to know how much more to add to that very correct and thorough response. Thankfully WCP doesn't pay by the word. Either way, this was a way better column than the one about moving in with a boyfriend and his eight bikes, which required a response of more than one sentence. Ugh.  Effort sucks.

Gear Prudence: How do you solve a problem like Maria? No really. How? This nun is fucking annoying as shit and I tried to pawn her off on this Austrian admiral but Austria is fucking landlocked and don't even get me started on this Liesl chick. She's in love with a Nazi! And wears clothes made of drapes like it's no big deal!
Justification: I love it when people reach out with real bike problems. Unlike this silly question about some guy's wife making him text on group rides, this whole Maria situation really made me think and stretched my creative limits as a bike columnist. While the proposed solution (it involved warn woolen mittens) didn't really address the whole Maria problem, I feel like we got at least somewhat closer to having a certain degree of solace about this very real bike concern.

Gear Prudence: You ever notice how sometimes when you go fast your bike goes whoosh whoosh whoosh? 
Justification: Yes! I've totally noticed that! And sometimes it's more of one long whooooooosh instead of multiple whooshes. I think it has something to do with science and ear holes. Backup this month was the one about a friend fucking up your bike while volunteering to repair it, but that question lacked the really interesting aspect of inquiring about whether one hears whooshing noises sometimes and said nothing of ear holes at all!

Gear Prudence: Is it better to give an old bike to someone taller than you or shorter than you?
Justification: Something that used to shock me about the questions GP receives are the number of ones from people who want to do genuinely good and charitable things. Like, what's the deal with that? It's one thing to ask about being bothered by macabre bike jokes, but it's an entirely different thing to wonder whether you should be charitable to the relatively taller or relatively shorter. What frustrated me the most about answering this question is never knowing how tall the questioner was because I think that really would have impacted the advice offered. I assumed that the questioner was seven feet tall because that seemed obvious at the time.

Gear Prudence: My bike basket has the faint odor of a different bike basket. Could have someone switched them when I was in Harris Teeter?
Justification: You ever see that Angelina Jolie movie about this exact thing except it was about a kid and not a bike basket and it took place in the 1920s and not in front of a Harris Teeter? Great flick and I was glad to draw from it for inspiration on the answer. I just wish Angelina Jolie did a movie about cyclists and yoga because I can't help but think it would have improved this column or if not that, at least it would have been cool even if she didn't wear a cloche hat like she did in that other movie.

Gear Prudence: Does my family know that I like to ride bikes with different sized tires? 
Justification: The toughest Gear Prudence columns are about telling families difficult truths, especially when those truths are about bicycles. Most of the time the advice is to lie and/or fake your own death, but sometimes, like in this column, it was to be brutally honest, while also angling the bike in such a way that the bigger tire was farther away so perspective made it seem like there wasn't such a difference in tire sizes. Of the columns about sizes in December, this one was way better than the one about pensises, about which we shall never speak again.

So that's it. That was the year in Prudence. Thank you all so much for you willingness to continue to read the column and thank you even more if you've ever taken a moment to share it with anyone. To the best of my knowledge, GP will continue into 2017 and for that I'm immensely grateful. As always, if a bike question should pop into your mind, please don't hesitate to email gearprudence@washcp.com or hit me up on the twitters, facebook or via semaphore.


Impressions From My Ride to Baltimore

I've lived in DC this go round for 8 years and I've visited Baltimore twice. This is in no way a reflection of that city, but rather my own negligence (and perhaps myopia). It's close enough to pretend that we have a baseball rivalry with the Orioles and close enough that half the would be Washington Football Team fans choose instead to support the Ravens, but it's not DC and it's certainly not what I would consider to be within the constellation of DC things, even though it's geographically closer than a lot of places that are. It's its own place and that's what makes riding there so tantalizing. But for some reason, it seems to be a place that people don't visit by bike from here. Or if they do, they keep it quiet. Or maybe I just don't run in the right circle. Either way, I wanted to ride there and last Saturday and I did and here's how it went.

I decided before I left that I didn't want to ride there and back. It would've been a century and that's laudable, but I wasn't really up for it. Instead, I'd take the MARC back and that worked splendidly. It's $8 one way, there's a bike car on weekends and bikes ride free, and the trip is under and hour. If you plan to tackle this ride, I really recommend it. One thing you might want to be smarter about it not locking your bike up at the train station. I had a pump nicked, but the bike itself was left one. Still, I miss that pump and maybe should've thought about a less prone place to leave my bike when I wandered around. Oh well. Live and learn.

The Ogre was the bike of choice and even on the heavy bike, the miles rolled by pretty well. Some of the ride involved riding on shoulders and the wider tires and sturdier frame ate up the road before the road could eat me first. I wasn't going for any kind of blazing pace, which is could since I'm incapable of one anyway, but the miles went by pretty easily. There are scarcely any hills, or at least none that made any big impression,and my relatively chill pace was more abetted by the big bike than hindered by it. Also, I'm doing some upgrades to the Ogre (right now!) so was sort of a last hurrah of sorts. I'm excited about the first hurrah for the upgraded Ogre, but there'll be other blog posts for that maybe.

The first part of the ride was mostly trails to Greenbelt. Then in Greenbelt, it was suburban-y roads that varied from 'I am ok with this' to 'This is not ok, but this is what it is.' I realized after the fact that I could've avoided some of the worser bits by taking a different route (be careful with the directions you download from the internet- you don't know if the person who made them is crazier than you), but I got through them. At one point, I turned off a highway-esque road into a suburban neighborhood and never had I been so relieved to be riding through a subdivision. The middle section of the ride saw more of what I would call 'country' roads, which is to say that they were two lanes and there was woods some times. Then there were sections through various stages of industrial parks, from destitute to stumbling along. This might have been Laurel. There were train tracks, often to the side, and there were container train cars, often idle. In Jessup, I stopped for Dunkin Donuts. I think this was right around the halfway mark.

After the industrial parts, it was back to woodsiness. The roads were quiet and the traffic was light. I followed River Road along the Patapsco, but then I started crossing highways and beltways and knew the idyll would soon be over. I approached the city from the south and west and rode through Landsdowne. I suspect there might have been a nicer approach with fewer stop lights and without having to wait 20 minutes for a train to pass. I'm an urban cyclist and have done it for awhile, so I was mostly unbothered by the traffic and the compromises one must make to ride through it, but a nicer and quieter way into the city would have been good. At some point, in the inner outskirts, there were signs for "Bike Route" and then there was the football stadium and the casino and marked paths and at that point, I was virtually there. I don't really know when "Baltimore" becomes "Baltimore" but once I saw a bikesharing station, I figured I was there.

I had never ridden in downtown Baltimore and from an outsider's perspective, it seems like the kind of urban place where one should be able to bike. There was a two way cycletrack by the Inner Harbor and that seems like a nice investment (and I saw another one on Maryland Avenue later), but I came to learn this about downtown Baltimore: seemingly all of the streets are one-way and multi-laned. And if that means anything, that means speeding cars and if there's anything inimical to good and safe cycling, it's too many too fast cars. So that was an experience. I wended my way up a few blocks and over a few blocks to take myself to Attmans, which is a deli and sanwich place and there I ate a reuben. After that, I again risked life and limb riding on high-speed one-way streets (maybe there was an alternative? I don't know) to get to the train station, where I left my bike.

In conclusion, yes, you should ride to Baltimore. You should bring a friend. You should probably even ride around Baltimore a little, but maybe do some more research about which streets are less terrible for bicycling. I think next time, I'd take a different approach and take my bike up by train and then ride back. That'll probably be spring.


My Ride in Connecticut

Yes, I realize I skipped a few commutes in there. That's my bad. Honestly, with the much shorter ride and seeing so many fewer cyclists, it's kinda hard to keep the 'blog my ride everyday' conceit going. Emphasis on conceit. 3 miles isn't 8 miles, for one thing, and now that I don't go through Federalia or downtown, it's even harder to stretch the plausibility of seeing things or people that are vaguely worth noting. In light of that, writing up my ride just doesn't feel as immediate. Also, I've had some personal life changes (adopted a pet emu) that result in my wanting to spend less time writing than I had previously wanted to and I haven't quite struck the balance yet between the time investment and the payoff that I feel is worthwhile. Anyway, all of this is to say that TFTS will likely muddle on for some, but maybe without as much regularity. So, it's not a goodbye and it's not a ghosting, but maybe more of a recognition that writing this blog isn't as vital to me as it once was and I think that that sometimes shines through. BUT, when the urge to write does grip me, as it so often does, I'll continue to use the blog as an outlet for whatever needs letting out. Like my brief description of my 70 mile ride in Connecticut yesterday.

Last fall, I thought it'd be fun to ride from my brother's place in Brooklyn to my parents house in Connecticut. It was around 80 miles and I did it and I was relatively pleased with myself for accomplishing this feat. I'd like to do it again some time. Or maybe go in reverse. I don't know. In the course of my visiting my hometown with a bike, I took some time to ride around some of the roads and hills in the north side of town and thought they'd make a fun place for a more extended ride. So that's what this was- a chance to come back to town and get in some hilly riding on some dirt roads in the midst of the changing leaves of a Connecticut fall.

I have a system for getting my bike here and it's pretty cheap. Not as cheap as riding it the whole way from DC, but still not so bad. I take a Vamoose bus ($40/roundtrip, bike travels at no additional cost) from Rosslyn to Penn Station, then ride from Penn Station to Grand Central. I bought a roundtrip off-peak ticket for Metro North (and for $5 a lifetime bicycle pass, which is now a treasured possession) for $33 ($28 for the tickets) and I got off at Brewster station. I changed into my bike clothes there (which I was wearing underneath my normal people clothes), swapped out my Vans for the bike shoes I had in my Carradice, and then rode the 25 miles from Brewster to my parents house. I did parts of this ride last year, but took a slightly modified route this time to avoid some of the hillier parts. I used the Pocket Earth app offline map for navigation (following a route that I had downloaded previously) and stuck to mostly backroads where I could and made it in about an hour and a half.

I rode the Mr. Pink with Clement MSO tires. Steel frame plus fast, but traction-y, tires is sort of the super best ideal combo for this, though it did feel a little sluggish on the paved parts. Though, admittedly, that might have just been me. Anyway, I love my Mr. Pink so, so, so, so much and this trip really confirmed that it was an amazing choice for a new bike. If I was to get another bike, I might want it to be an All City.

The plan for my big ride was to follow someone's previously mapped metric century (downloaded from RideWithGPS and displayed on Pocket Earth). What I wanted in a route was a good of hills (because hills are fun?) and more unpaved surfaces than not. This route provided both and fairly early on. I won't bore you with the exact details of the roads I took, but there was a lot of up and down and a lot of dirt and dust and gravel and very, very few cars. It gets pretty quiet back in the woods around these parts and there are lots of 'scenic roads,' which means they are dirt and they aren't plowed in winter. There are some horse farms and more than a few decrepit barns (which is not to say that they're unused) and then there are big houses that were either built in the 18th, 19th or 20th century by people who thought that living in the middle of nowhere would be better than living somewhere closer to stuff. I rode through just one or two town centers (town center consisting of a Main Street that might or might not be bisected by two other streets named Church and perhaps Maple) and through a state park named Macedonia. I never had to walk up any hills, but I more than once thought about it. I wore gloves and this saved my wrists from jarring effects of hours on gravel. The bike excelled in the varied terrain and I'm quite confident that it saved my life on an extremely perilous descent over which I found out later wasn't actually a road. The problem with relying on routes downloaded from the internet is that you don't really know if the guy who made it was crazy. Moreover, when roads are maintained for winter and when you're in the countryside where no one really lives anyway, there's no real guarantee that a surface that seemed passable two years ago in spring would be tolerable now.

I went down North Kent Road fast. At first it was fun, but when I realized my momentum was such that my brakes could only hope to slow me by half but not fully, I wondered if I should panic. The problem with the road wasn't so much the grade- it was a 10-13% decline, which is manageable generally- but that the road wasn't a road and whatever it was, it was covered in leaves so I couldn't see what I was about to ride over. In many cases, what I rode over were rocks and what weren't rocks were holes where rocks used to be. It was a craggy, uneven surface on a hill where I couldn't stop and couldn't see what was beneath my tires and had I given myself over to any thought other than 'stay loose and get out of the way of anything you can't get over,' I think the panic would have surely resulted in my crashing and that would have had more than a break-even chance of resulting in potentially serious injury. I only skidded hard on leaves once or twice, but stayed up. I missed a few of the bigger rocks by an inch and as far as the potholes went, the bike managed to see me through them. I'm not the most confident descender in the best of cases and I didn't really have much of a choice here, and while it might generally sound fun to careen down the side of a hill in only the scantest control of your bike and body, I can assure you in this case that it wasn't. It was the scariest thing I've ever done on a bike and I'm grateful that I made it through in one piece.

Over the course of the ride, I lost a water bottle. It ejected somewhere. I bought it last week, for the purposes of this ride, but now it belongs to the woods. The very kind people at WTF Kits are sending me a replacement gratis because they are good people. The water bottle is labeled Whiskey and I have a feeling that someone is going to be pretty pissed at this when he finds it roadside and discovered the liquid therein has been considerably mislabeled.

I ate beef jerky and gatorade for lunch. I snacked on some gross glucose snack things I got from a tent that REI set up along the Anacostia. I also enjoyed a muffin and iced coffee before the last 15 miles back into town.

I'm not sure I enjoy riding longish distances by myself. The solitude doesn't really overcome me, but I do get bored and having other people around is a nice distraction from dull pain in your legs or listening to your own breathing. I think if I were to do this again, and I want to, I'd like to go with someone else. It's nice country and the roads really are good if you're into dirt and gravel and hills and deciduous trees doing their thing. Plus, I'm sure my parents would let you sleep on the couch. I haven't asked them, but they're pretty nice so it's probably cool.

Route here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17145625. Sorry no Strava. For once, I actually really regret not using it because I think I went at least 50mph once and I'm sorry I didn't capture that.

Bike, fence, hills, trees

bike at rest. not pictured: me at rest. I made a wrong turn, climbed a hill I didn't need to climb and then stopped because I was knackered. That's when I realized I made a wrong turn. 

I regret not taking a picture of the horse farm here, which has a statue of a horse covered in gleaming stainless steel plates. 

Sample dirt road through woods

More dirt road, more woods

Did I mention the roads weren't paved?

This is pretty emblematic of the whole area. If you ever want to ride up here, I'm game. It'll be fun.