PBP Qualified…

Our recent finish of the D.C. Randonneurs 600K brevet means that Felkerino and I have now qualified for Paris-Brest-Paris.

Riders must complete four brevets in order to register for PBP. The general sequence of rides is as follows:  200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K brevet. Because Felkerino and I were unable to complete our club’s 200K brevets, we substituted an additional 300K instead.

Scheduling conflicts impeded our completion of a Super Randonneur series; we lack a 200K in our current suite of rides. While I hope we can find a way to still slot in a 200K, it still feels good to have reached the PBP-qualifying milestone.

Although we are a seasoned randonneuring tandem team, completion of the longer brevets is never a given. They require effort and planning, along with a certain degree of physical and mental discomfort somewhere along the way. Successfully reaching the finish line of these rides is always an accomplishment.

Around last year at this time, our ultimate goal was to show up in France for another edition of Paris-Brest-Paris. Now that PBP registration season is upon us, our goals have drifted in a different direction.

In January, I wrote a post that basically outlined the pros and cons of doing PBP again, and received some thought-provoking feedback. A couple people commented about the relatively narrow window that exists to do these sorts of things.

Felkerino on the 600K brevet

Some mentioned the ability to go back and apply experience from our previous PBP rides to make this one even better, and the rare opportunity to ride a large 1200K event with like-minded riders in a place where people don’t question what you are attempting to accomplish.

Others wrote about the importance of exploring new challenges. After weighing it all, I still imagined that we would pack our bags for France when August came.

The landscape changed for me in the months since I wrote that PBP pros and cons list, such that I am yearning to go west and be immersed in the mountains, and to experience that comforting smallness that has always enveloped me when I bike tour there. The clock I want to dominate my movement is the sunrise to sunset clock– not control windows.

The pressure and post-event fatigue that comes with riding a 1200K– even a tandem-friendly one– is not what I hunger for this summer. I desire open road and quiet contemplation, time to stop and look around, and a full night’s sleep.

Part of me would love to be there to meet new randonneurs, see familiar faces, and be part of the largest and most historic randonneuring event, but the eagerness I had about riding PBP has faded, and I must follow the path that truly calls.

Kip, Dylan, and me on the 600K brevet

Instead of PBP, Felkerino and I are currently plotting a two-week tour in the Sawtooth Mountains. We will ride a loop from Boise, Idaho to Missoula, Montana and back.

We’ve spent the last three years riding in Colorado so this year we are seeking out uncharted terrain for our tandem. For those interested, here is a basic Ride With GPS outline of our route– Part 1 and Part 2. If you have toured in the area, please pass along any route suggestions, food recommendations, or any other bits of wisdom!

When August rolls around, I know I’ll be miss being part of PBP. I’ll avidly follow fellow D.C. Randonneurs and other rando-buddies as they make their way out to Brest and back with event’s rider tracking system. Fantasy PBP!

I’m excited to cheer from the sidelines and hear people’s stories upon their return. I wish all the best to those who have qualified for PBP and will be training through the summer for this grand event. It’s going to be awesome.

Freedom on Two Wheels: Grace of Women BikeDC

First and foremost, riding bicycles has brought me closer to the vibrant biking community of D.C. It has heightened my appreciation of nature & my environmental concerns. I also believe it has made me a healthier and much happier individual.
Grace

As I began putting together today’s Women BikeDC feature, I realized that I have known Grace for a few years now, but have never heard her cycling story or thoughts on riding in the D.C. area.

Grace has spent years working in bike shops, and I also knew she was an avid commuter and year-round rider. All this made me eager to talk with her and learn more. Thank you, Grace, for being part of the Women BikeDC interview series!

Tell me a little about yourself and when you started riding.

Always have ridden! My first bike was my brother’s Batman bike that he outgrew. I am fortunate to have grown up in a cycling family and I ride with my family pretty often still.

I work at D.C.’s very own BicycleSPACE and have been there since 2013. I also represent Santana Tandems in various East Coast bicycle shows. I love bicycling and I want to get more women out on bicycles every single day!

Grace

What sorts of things do you do by bike?

Everything! I commute to work and school via bicycle, I run errands via bicycle and I also ride for the sheer joy of it.

How has riding a bicycle influenced your life?

First and foremost, riding bicycles has brought me closer to the vibrant biking community of D.C. It has heightened my appreciation of nature & my environmental concerns. I also believe it has made me a healthier and much happier individual.

What features do you think make a city bike-friendly and why?

The most important feature is driver awareness, hands down; although tied with that would be bike lanes. The combination of safe(r) drivers and bike lanes put cyclists in a safe and confident position to do everything by bicycle!

What do you like about riding in the D.C. area?

My favorite thing about riding around here is that I always (without fail) see someone I know out on their bicycle.

How could the D.C. area improve for cyclists?

This goes hand in hand with my answer for a bike-friendly city: making drivers more conscientious and increasing the amount of bike lanes – as well as protected bike lanes! – in and around the city.

Grace (1)

Why do you think more women don’t ride bikes?

I think it’s the long-standing truth that men have always cycled. I think that a lot of women in this area (Nelle of WABA’s Women & Bicycles as well as Laurie of Proteus in College Park) are making great strides to have an encouraging and welcoming environment for women in bicycling.

Probably one of the biggest barriers is that most of the bike shop people are men – thankfully at BicycleSPACE we’ve got lady mechanics and ladies on the sales floor as well. I think one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is getting more women working in bike shops and being more vocal (like you!) on blogs, in the community and in the media in general.

I think once hesitant women realize that there are women here enjoying riding every day, they’ll be more comfortable to get in to the groove of cycling.

You’ve been working in bike shops for several years now (initially at College Park Bikes, and now BicycleSPACE). What has your experience been like?

I started working at College Park Bikes in 2012 with no prior bike shop experience, fresh out of high school. I was a touch intimidated as I was the only woman working there for most of my two-ish years there.

I quickly learned that woman customers felt much more comfortable talking to me rather than my male coworkers about saddles and other women-specific items. I love helping women feel more comfortable at a bicycle shop because I think that will help more women ride consistently.

Once I moved to BicycleSPACE, I was already surrounded with more women. We have ladies both on the sales floor and wrenching. I think by having such a strong women presence, we’ve been able to help increase women ridership.

We teach free classes and lead rides that I believe help beginner riders feel more confident on the road in the city as well as fixing their own bicycles. I’ve noticed that we get a lot of women attending these events and that is awesome!

Grace

What suggestions do you have for employers who want to be bike-friendly?

One must-have is bicycle parking– bonus if it’s protected (garage, locker etc.).  Second, incentivize cycling (and other alternative transportation forms) with commuter checks. A high hope would be employee showers!

How does it feel to be a woman who rides in an area where women are less than 26% of the riding population?

I feel lucky that we have such a welcoming community (shout out to WABA’s Women & Bicycles program) to make all cyclists feel included and safe.

What are the issues you deal with as a woman cyclist?

Apart from driver/pedestrian cat-calls, it’s not something I think about very much.

Grace
Tell me about your bikes.

I love all my bicycles so much! My first “real” bike is my Burley Kenz, a zippy little road bike I use for my longer fitness rides and for feeling snappy, such an empowering bicycle.

Next, I built up my Surly Cross-Check “Asterix” at 32 lbs, he ain’t light but with full fenders & racks I can take this bad boy out on the C&O camping or just to a long day at school. I built Asterix as a fixed gear and rode that for a year before making the sensible choice to put racks/fenders and a 1×8 gearing on him.

Those are my daily rides. Then I share a Santana Rio tandem with my boyfriend– hoping for some great adventures on that one!

Could you talk about what it was like to build up a bike, and how you went about it?

I enlisted the help of various BicycleSPACErs (most notably Kate and Derek). I bought Asterix fresh from Surly as a single speed/fixed gear, so for a first bike build it was relatively easy. Kate walked me through setting up the brake cables and truing the wheels as well as making sure everything was well-greased and operable.

Once I decided to convert the Surly Cross-Check from fixed to an eight speed to make it a dream-commuter, I knew I had to put a bit more work in. Installing a front rack, a rear rack, full-coverage fenders, new handlebars, new rear derailleur, new shifter cables & levers as well as a new cassette on a new wheel – definitely racked up some work.

With the help of my skilled coworkers, I learned a lot about building bikes and I have my wonderful Asterix to thank for it.

What bike accessories do you consider must-haves and why?

If you’re a daily commuter like myself, I’d definitely say a rack and a nice pannier. Getting a rack and some Ortlieb panniers for my Cross-Check made a huge difference.

I had been riding around with a great bag on my back, but showing up to class every day all sweaty wasn’t great. I can carry way more by using a rack and panniers, and at less expense to myself.

Grace

What’s one of the best adventures you’ve ever had on a bike?

I’d have to say one Saturday when my coworkers (shout out to BicycleSPACE) and I decided we should take an impromptu bicycle-camping trip up the C&O!

This involved muddy single-tracking through the woods and staying up on a rock over the Potomac River to watch the sunrise before catching an hour or so of sleep.

A word or phrase that summarizes your bicycling experience?

Freedom.

Stop telling the bike commuter it’s going to rain: Reba of Women BikeDC

I find the bike riding population in D.C. to be eclectic and interesting. I talk to a lot of people, sometimes I don’t get their name or their history, we just share the moment we are in and then ride on. Biking is about being present in the moment you are in and not trying to predict the next day.
Reba

The Women BikeDC interviews return this week with Reba, another Friday Coffee Club regular (Swing’s Coffee at 17th and G NW in D.C., every Friday, stop by if you can!) and daily bike commuter. Reba rides a round trip commute of 30+ miles and also makes sure to get her century fix when Fall comes around.

Always positive and laid-back, in addition to always riding her bike, I was eager to learn more about Reba’s thoughts on bicycling in the D.C. area, and asked her to be part of this series. Thank you, Reba, for agreeing! 

How has riding influenced your life?

Biking helps me stay in tune with the present. The simple act of continuous pedaling provides just enough physical distraction to give me the opportunity to focus on things that are sensed and muse about their meaning.

I see, hear, smell, touch and taste each season as it unfolds. By bike, each season has its own unique way to treat your senses. In the winter the wooden bridges creak, whitecaps are seen on the river, and the cold crisp air can be felt deep in your lungs.

The spring unfolds with longer periods of daylight, a myriad of bird calls, bursts of colorful blossoms, and the wind on your skin as you shed the winter layers. The heat of the summer sun feels like good medicine, one can smell the rain shower before it starts, and the rain water tastes sweet.

As fall insidiously edges out summer, the green leaves turn brilliant orange and red, the smell of decaying vegetation increases, and the squirrels scurry with the fervor of cold weather preparation.

Biking gives me an opportunity to let my mind ponder and wander, sometimes to silly thoughts.

I love listening to the many different birdcalls, and muse that some are urgent and purposeful, some are songlike, and some are for other more nefarious purposes.

Sometimes I hear the trees, as they ponder their providence at being placed at such a place as this, their purpose in life and where their final resting place will be.

I see fish leap out of the river. I don’t know why the fish leap out of the water. Are they after something that is just out of their reach, not content with the whole river that they already have?

Reba 2What do you do by bike?

The most consistent activity I do by bike is commute to work. I am thankful to have access to the Mount Vernon Trail (MVT) for my commute. My bike route to work is 16 1/2 miles from door to door. I ride the door to door route for about 7 months of the year.

During the darker (and colder) months, I use my vehicle and drive to the Mount Vernon Trail (MVT) which shortens my commute to work by 4 ½ miles but makes it much safer because I avoid riding local roads which are not bike-friendly in the darkest evening hours.

My local community is not bike-friendly. The local roadways (Route #1) and the sprawl (the distance between destinations) are all designed to accommodate motor vehicle traffic. So, to do things by bike you must be determined, creative and a bit of a risk-taker. Most of my non-work related bike trips are not in my neighborhood, but rather for a fun weekend ride in areas that are friendlier to cyclists.

When did you start commuting to work?

I don’t remember not riding a bike. I like to be outdoors. I enjoy the freedom that comes with bike riding. I’ve always biked – weekends, weekdays after work, to college, but not to work.

I used to drive the George Washington Parkway to and from work and would see people on their bikes passing me as I sat in traffic. In 2005 I decided I would try biking to work on Bike to Work day. I got all ready and it poured rain that day so I did not bike, but I biked to work the following Monday.

I found the ride to work was kind of long, but I could do it. So I decided to bike on nice days . . . and just about every day since then has turned out to be a nice day for biking to work.

It seems like a big deal, but it is very doable. Along the way, mostly due to tips gleaned from other bike commuters, I have developed the skills necessary to bike commute year round. I have learned to commute in the dark, the cold, and inclement weather.

I’ve developed “options” to accommodate after work events and unforeseen occurrences. I would be happy to chat with any professional working parent who wants to give bike commuting a try and needs to know the particulars on how to get from the car seat to the bike seat.

What features do you think make a city bike-friendly and why?

There are two things that control where and when people use their bike to reach their destination:

  1. Is there a safe route to the destination; and
  2. Will my bike still be there when I come back out?

Cities with dedicated access ways, like separate lanes for bikes to cross bridges and large highways, and bike lanes that are separated from roadways by barriers that prevent motor vehicle traffic from entering them give cyclists confidence that they can reach their destination safely and without confronting drivers who do not understand their duty to “share the road”.

While cities are becoming more bike-friendly, suburbs lag behind. Those who live in the suburbs and have a desire to bike still face significant barriers. I know men and women who enjoy bike riding but remain adamant that they will only ride their bike on a bike trail and not on a road without bike lanes.

The suburban counties would do well to provide easier access to area bike trails which connect to bike-friendly cities and other bike-friendly destinations, by providing all day commuter parking at access points to bike trails for persons who want to commute to by bike.

Bike valet parking for large events is a smart option. It eases traffic and gives the cyclists the confidence that their bike, and all the parts to their bike, will still be there when they get back.

Most importantly, changes in behavior by the people are needed. Respect for everyone’s choice for conveyance needs to be emphasized. No new infrastructure plans should be approved that don’t include dedicated bike routes. Existing infrastructure needs to be retrofitted to build and connect existing bike routes.

What do you like about riding in the D.C. area?

I like seeing a diverse group of people on bikes of all shapes and sizes.

How could the D.C. area improve for cyclists?

I think that more could be done to publicize bike-friendly destinations. Bile trails should have better signage to indicate the kind of businesses that are nearby. It would be good for business and cyclists.

A sign indicating that a coffee shop or grocery store or bike shop or historical site is .5 miles from a trail is welcome when you are in an area that you are not familiar with.

Reba 1

What do you think prevents more women from riding a bike?

As a professional woman who was the mother of school-aged children, a barrier to my daily bike commute was the “errands” that are tacked onto the beginning and end of each day.

Day care or school drop off and pick up, soccer games, and the need to be able to pick up a sick child on a moment’s notice all weigh into a long-distance bike commuting mother’s decision to use her bike to commute to work.

What suggestions do you have for employers who want to be bike-friendly?
  1.  View commuting to work by bike as something positive.
  2. Provide safe, secure bike parking.
  3. Provide an area where bike commuters can store their commuting shoes and clothes out of view.
  4. Understand the happy. Persons who bike to work are happier than those who drive.
  5. Stop telling the bike commuter “It’s going to rain.”
  6. Stop looking at the bike commuter incredulously every time the weather changes and asking “Did you ride your bike to work today!?”
  7. Provide closet space for the bike commuter to hang up their “work” clothes.
  8. Stop waiting for “that phase” to pass. It’s a lifestyle choice.
How does it feel to be a woman who rides in an area where women are less than 26% of the riding population?

It feels natural. In D.C. I have the perception that there are a lot of other people who are like me– enjoy using their bike to commute to work because it gives them just enough challenge, adventure and outdoor peace to keep their lives interesting. “Like me” doesn’t necessarily mean same sex, or even same, age, race or abilities but rather with the same hopes, joys and interests.

I find the bike riding population in D.C. to be eclectic and interesting. I talk to a lot of people, sometimes I don’t get their name or their history, we just share the moment we are in and then ride on. Biking is about being present in the moment you are in and not trying to predict the next day.

I am pleased to see the large increase in the number of persons traveling by bike. It is good for everyone: the more often motorists see cyclists, the more they will be aware to look for and expect cyclists on the roadways.

What are the issues you deal with as a woman cyclist, or is it something you think about?

Bikes are so easy to ride that they level the playing field between men and women who like to participate jointly in recreational sports. Recreational cyclists, men and women, can ride together so easily that I don’t give it much thought.

One issue I have dealt with is the inadequate and limited selection in women’s cycling gear. Cycling specific gear is necessary for comfort. Women’s cycling clothing is sized for the small and short, and I am neither.

Women’s cycling shoes are never available in my size. The finger length in women’s cycling gloves is too short. Thankfully, cycling gear is pretty unisex.

For years I have opted to use men’s cycling gear to get a comfortable and functional fit. I find the longer torso, arm and pant lengths of men’s cycling gear suits me better.

Manufacturer’s are just starting to figure out that women who are not “6-8-10” may also get on bikes, regularly and continually. Who knows, one day I may even bike looking like a girl.

Tell me about your bikes. 

Big Blue – Tall, sleek, can take a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. I’ve had it since I landed in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1985 – went straight to the Schwinn bike store and brought a brand new 12 speed World Sport.

I rode her all over southeast Texas, all 5 boroughs of NYC and Long Island, with a baby in the seat on the back. That was my ride or die bike from 1985 to 2006. Now-a-days Big Blue has a position of prominence in the bike shed.

She watches over the flock as her extra tall steel frame (and finding replacement parts) make it difficult to use her for daily commutes.

The Horse With No Name – I purchased a Trek road bike in 2006 for my daily commute. Three big gears in the front and 9 small ones on the rear cassette. I use them all. It was/is very easy to ride, fits me like a pair of favorite old sweat pants and I just want to be on it every day.

I have replaced everything but the handle bars, even the frame. In spring 2011 the carbon components of the frame became unstable and Trek (with some annoying delay) replaced the frame. The replacement frame (a less sporty aluminum frame) still suits me fine, it’s about 90% as good as the original and I have grown accustomed to it. I use a wheelset with at least 24 spokes to give me greater stability with the lumps and bumps of daily commute.

A Giant Hybrid – purchased in 2002 – used some for commuting and recreational riding. It is too heavy and slow for my pleasure for commuting. I like the easy speed I get from a road bike. I gave it to my son a couple of years ago, so it’s still in the family.

A Hybrid Specialized – I brought it in winter of 2014 and, so far, I don’t love it. I brought it to ride non-paved routes – like the GAP trail from Pittsburg to DC, and in winter weather. My training rides on pavement paths have been pretty uneventful, but when I used it to commute I found it felt heavy in the rear, cumbersome and not at all nimble. It might have to go.

Which bike accessories do you consider must-haves and why?

Numero Uno is my whistle! I always ride with a whistle, it’s a must have – a throw back to my NYC roots. It is very loud and has stopped a lot of vehicles from coming into contact with me, including a huge dump truck that was entering onto a bike trail from a wall. I refrain from using it to alert pedestrians; I find that to be rude. Otherwise, it is a lifesaver.

Bike helmet – I decided in 2005 to use one at all times. Statistically, it makes sense to protect your noggin. It’s an intellectual choice, like deciding not to smoke because the science says it is not good for you, not because you don’t enjoy it.

Fingerless padded gloves – I wear them all year long, either over my winter gloves or alone. They help my hands/wrist absorb the vibration from the handlebars and protect my palms in the event of a tumble.

Cycling computer – I need to see how fast I’m going and how far I have traveled

Rear light & front light – being visible is tantamount to safety.

Smartphone – it provides invaluable access to information: e.g., maps, camera, GPS, text, email, social media links and . . . Oh yeah, it can make phone calls if need.

What’s one of the best adventures you’ve ever had on a bike?

Every day on the bike is a unique and new adventure. The amazing sunrises, meeting new friends, seeing old friends, wildlife and beautiful fauna, make every bike ride a great adventure.

One of the best day rides was in and around Colonial Williamsburg, biking to historic Jamestown via the bucolic Colonial Parkway over long low marshlands and ponds filled with skunk cabbage flowers and pretty vegetation and water fowl.

What phrase summarizes your bicycling experience?

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Finding Your Randonneur Superpower

When you begin to dabble in the randonneuring arts, you may have an inkling of what your cycling strengths are. You may develop additional skills for riding long-distance. However, it is only through doing brevets over time that your randonneur superpower will reveal itself to you.

I have never been a fast rider, but fortunately I have good endurance to compensate for a lack of speed. I also have Felkerino riding with me on the tandem, and he is a helpful engine for my legs. My stomach rarely turns on me during long rides because years of trial and error have led me to figure out the foods my stomach will readily digest.

Felkerino and I have dialed in our tandem partnership so that we are in unison about our approach to a ride. We know the ups and downs in each other’s energy flows and have learned to navigate them and help each other out as a ride goes on.

Yet none of these are randonneur superpowers. No, the superpower is something distinct. For a long time, I was certain I had no randonneur superpower. I didn’t ride fast. I couldn’t ride for hours non-stop, subsisting on two water bottles of liquid nutrition. I would not be able to finish a 600K brevet without stopping somewhere for a little sleep, like some can.

Recently, I discovered one of Felkerino’s superpowers. No matter where we are, Felkerino has an eagle eye for spotting porta-potties. It’s remarkable, and has come in handy on many a ride.

Heading out for Day 2 of the 600K. Photo by Shab
Heading out for Day 2 of the 600K. Photo by Shab

But this year I learned of a superpower we share.  As I’ve mentioned several times, this year we were fit, but not to the level that we enjoyed in prior years. Because of that, we dedicated ourselves to riding efficiently, and being judicious with time off the bike.

Felkerino and I generally try to ride with the goal of taking one hour off the bike per century ridden. As a ride goes on, time off the bike may increase somewhat, but generally one hour per century is our goal.

Surprisingly, during the spring brevets we were able to achieve excellent efficiency with our time on and off the bike. We seldom dilly dallied at controls– one of my favorite things to do on a brevet. I often brought my own food on rides so I would not wander around convenience stores wondering what I should eat. Both of us stopped drinking Gatorade and switched to better hydration habits.

We were regularly able to stay on the bike for 50 miles or so at a time without a need for breaks in between segments. We still took short rests when necessary, but for some reason, we didn’t seem to require them as much as we had during other years.

This on-the-bike discipline surprised me. It could only mean one thing– our randonneur superpower had come to us. I spent so many years waiting for it to manifest and finally, in 2015, it did.

Time to ride this bike, MG.
Time to ride this bike, MG.

Despite not being in the best brevet shape, we were able to complete rides in times comparable to other years, and I attribute this to our increased efficient movement.

I’m not saying that Felkerino’s porta-potty superpower isn’t a good one. It sure is. But the ability to ride efficiently as a team far surpasses it, and made a big difference to our overall brevet experiences. It gave me a sense of forward progress, and motivated me to keep pedaling.

After the 400K, I was convinced this year meant my randonneuring farewell tour. But now that the 600K has come and gone, I’ve forgotten those feelings. My superpower reinvigorated my affinity for randonneuring. Who knows? If I keep riding, maybe I’ll discover another one.

What about your randonneur superpower? You know you’ve got one… everybody does.

Randonneuring Beneath the Stars

The sun flares orange and pink, drops behind the mountains, and leaves us. Felkerino and I pause to don night gear, assess our 600K progress, and estimate the hours of night riding ahead.

Around sunset I usually find myself taking the occasional long look toward farmhouses. Are they eating dinner? Watching a movie? After riding over 200 miles, that sounds like a relaxing way to end the day.

image

Our evening will not include any couch-sitting, however. We push on. Felkerino lights the way forward, but as my view is largely blocked by his body I look side to side. And up.

I love to tilt my eyes to the night sky during brevets. It’s one of the perks of stoking a tandem. Stars I never see in the city easily pierce the midnight ceiling of the country.

As we ride upward, tree leaves and branches block the sky-scape, turning the road an even darker shade of night. We descend and stars reappear.

A lightning bug dips by my periphery and I gaze off into the trees to search for more of them. The organic light show of the lightning bugs’ pulsing illumination hypnotizes. I wonder if this is how they talk to each other.

My ears absorb the steady babble of a creek to our left. We round a bend and its gentle rushing transitions to our right. In night’s quiet, sound is sweetly amplified.

We weave in and out of patches of honeysuckle. Oh this delicious smell! Will I ever become tired of it? I drink in its fresh flowery scent.

Near the water I hear little spring peepers. “Ribbit. Ribbit.” What is your chorus, little frogs? They all talk at once, yet seemingly in tune with each other.

We wind and rise to the overnight. After a brief shower and nap, we resume course, dropping away from town into another valley.

The waning moon is around two-thirds full, and casts a wide soft light all around. We don’t chance it, but I believe the stars and moonlight could guide our path this night.

There are no cars, no streetlights. Cows lie in pastures, sleeping. We are the only people on this twisting road, although other riders must be near by.

image

We spot the dusty pastels of first light and I am glad for it. The night is cool, and I anticipate the energizing warmth daytime will bring.

At the same time, I will miss the sleepy solitude of night that has made me so alive. The moon and stars gradually recede from view and we ride into the dawn.

600K Brevet Packing List

I’ve been readying for the weekend’s big ride– the D.C. Randonneurs 600K. I stew in my nervousness and look frequently at regional weather forecasts. I burn off steam with short runs and rides, during which I consider and reconsider all I need for two days of pedaling. Continue reading 600K Brevet Packing List

Transformation and Inspiration

It’s surreal to recall it now, but bicycling– even running– were largely absent from my life during my post-college twenties. I worked long hours, drove my car, and attended many a happy hour.

For a time that life seemed alright, but as the years progressed I noticed small disconcerting signs. I gained weight from a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. Twinges emanated from my lower back because of all the daily driving and stress from long hours at my job.

Happy hours felt like a hamster wheel to nowhere, replete with superficial bar chat, and a feeling that I was wasting time and money. Probably because the conversations were superficial, and I was wasting time and money.

Something had to change, propelled from the inside out. Continue reading Transformation and Inspiration

Nothing To It But To Do It: Linel of Women BikeDC, Part 1

I have learned to approach many hurdles in life as if they were a ride on a new road. At first you might feel apprehensive and tentative, but once you do it, it becomes clear that all it takes is committing to that first push of the pedal. You may go slow or even fall at first, but if you keep at it, you will get there.
@linelisel

Today’s Women BikeDC interview features Linel, a daily rider who uses her bike in diverse ways– work commutes, errands, play, coffee, ice cream. Linel does it all by bike, a lot of it on a nicely customized olive green Surly Long Haul Trucker. Continue reading Nothing To It But To Do It: Linel of Women BikeDC, Part 1

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,877 other followers

%d bloggers like this: