Monthly Archives: November 2011

The D.C. Driver that Stalked Me on my Bike Commute

Last week after work I rode my bike to Georgetown. It was the day after Thanksgiving so the roads were pretty quiet. Still some activity, but not the normal frenetic pace of the workday.

I pedaled to the corner of “S” and Wisconsin, and got in line behind a truck waiting at a stop light. To my right was a parked car that was preparing to leave his parking spot and head out into the street.

Our country has a proud history of respecting the waiting line and looking down on budgers. Because I had gotten there first, the driver had to wait his turn in line and exit his parking spot and turn onto Wisconsin after I did.

The light at the intersection turned green, the truck in front of me entered the intersection to make its left turn, and I made my right turn onto Wisconsin.

As I made my turn, the driver of the car emerging from the parking spot laid on his horn. Geez, I must have really impaired his forward progress from a complete stop with my slow bike (sarcasm). His horn blaring was completely unnecessary. I turned back, looked at him, and raised my left arm in a “What’s up, buddy?” gesture.

In return, the driver lifted both hands off of his steering wheel in agitation and, instead of passing me and going on about his business, proceeded to ride directly behind me.

Given that the driver had been in such a hurry just moments before, it perplexed me that he now needed to be inching up the hill at my back. Further, Wisconsin Avenue is a four-lane road and the lane next to me was wide open. Not a car in sight.

At first I thought that maybe the driver was going to make a right turn into one of the many businesses along Wisconsin, but he did not turn. He kept following me.

Having this driver menace me in plain sight was totally disconcerting. No one else was aware of what he was doing, but I was. Pedal pedal pedal. The car crept along just behind my rear wheel.

After a few blocks, I saw a stoplight that looked about ready to turn. I slowed my pace, and as it became a stale yellow, I pedaled through. The only way for the driver to continue stalking me down the road would be for him to run the red light. The driver reluctantly stopped (thank God), and gave me one more horn blaring. “Take that, you cyclist!”

I then U-turned away from the driver made my escape off onto a side street. He did not follow me any further.

In all my years of cycling, I have never encountered this type of driver. So many thoughts ran through my head. Should I not have raised my hand to the driver when he rudely honked at me? Would the driver have done this if I was a man? If the traffic light hadn’t stopped him, what would he have done?

It is completely wrong to bully or threaten someone with a vehicle, but when it comes down to it, a cyclist is the immediate loser in a brute force showdown with a car. If I could revisit that moment at the corner of “S” and Wisconsin, I would probably have tried to not engage the driver at all. Accept his rude horn honk, and move on. Instead, I fed into his aggression by responding with a gesture and a look, and a creepy commuting moment ensued, putting me in a vulnerable position. I’m grateful he did not do anything more than follow me for a few blocks.

This unfortunate occurrence made me appreciate that most of the motorists I encounter are reasonable people. There are some angry/crazy/dangerous ones out there, but overall I’ve had mostly positive experiences commuting in Washington, D.C.

Nevertheless, I’ve been reminded that I don’t know who else is on these streets we’re supposed to be sharing, and the best practice is to exercise caution and restraint, even though bikes belong on the streets just as much as the drivers do.

Carradice Cheesecake, Weekend Cycling, and Mechanicals

How was your Thanksgiving? In the D.C. area, we were not only treated to a holiday, but also some spectacular late November weather. Sun, light wind, and temperatures in the mid-sixties. At least not all the good weather happens while I’m at work. Here are the weekend highlights from this neck of the woods.

Thanksgiving Day Carradice Cheesecake Bike Ride

Felkerino and I spent Thanksgiving with family in Reston and our job was to show up with dessert. Not feeling a desire to cook, I picked up a pumpkin cheesecake from Baked and Wired in Georgetown.

After I purchased it, I closely scrutinized their cake boxing and informed them that I was riding the cheesecake home on my bicycle. The gentleman assisting me looked horrified and said “I didn’t know you were taking this on your bicycle.”

He then proceeded to inadvertently stick his finger into the cheesecake and made a barely discernable dent in the top of it. He gave me another horrified look. “Oh no, oh no! Is this a dealbreaker? Will you still take this cake or is it now too damaged?”

Pumpkin cheesecake from Baked and Wired getting prepped for travel

Perhaps the young man had not connected the dots on what I had just said. “I’m taking it home on my bicycle.” While I appreciated his concern, a teeny dent from a finger was the least of my worries, as I was not only riding the cake home, but taking the cheesecake with me on Felkerino’s and my 25-mile journey to the Northern Virginia suburbs. I rode off with the boxed up cheesecake in my Carradice bag, as the cake box was too wide to fit into my small Ortlieb pannier.

After getting the cake safely home, Felkerino and I repositioned the cheesecake in another Tupperware container so as to avoid the fragility of the cardboard cake box. Amazingly, the cheesecake fit just perfectly into my Carradice College saddle bag. That bag is amazing, as it holds a lot of stuff while not looking too bulky.

Taking the cheesecake to Thanksgiving dinner

After Felkerino’s and my Cranksgiving ride, the cheesecake looked as though it had been bumped a few times along the way, but overall it looked pretty good. Definitely edible. Something dense like cheesecake is a good thing to transport by bike in the fall. The cooler weather won’t melt the cheesecake into a puddle, it doesn’t flop around too much due to its heft, and even if it is a little banged up in transport the jostles won’t destroy it.

And the taste of this cheesecake? Absolutely incredible! The pumpkin flavor was subtle, the cheesecake rich, and the graham cracker crust (or whatever it was made of) had just the right amount of buttery crunch to it.

Cheesecake upon arrival. Slightly slumped, but overall good.

I felt pretty righteous for riding out to Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a great day to be out on the bike, as the roads were quiet and the people who were out in their cars or getting in their pre-Thanksgiving exercise seemed relaxed and pleasant. The ride home was a little tougher due to my full stomach, but it gave Felkerino and me a chance to ride off a little of our Thanksgiving feast.

Sivanova Century Ride

Saturday we met up with Chuck and Crista and friends to ride the Sivanova Century out of Warrenton, Virginia. The ride was largely uneventful except for David R.’s exciting mechanical.

About 45 miles down the road David flatted and, upon closer inspection, learned that his tire rim was crumbling. His rim was cracked near the tire valve and the inside of the rim was rough due to corrosion. Putting in a new tube would just prompt the tire to flat again as the uneven surface of the rim would puncture the tube. What could be done?

David’s corroded rim

Fortunately, David was accompanied by Mike, who had an ample supply of duct tape. In addition, Chuck came up with a brilliant boot idea. Apply a duct tape boot over the corroded area and over the valve to smooth out the inside of the rim. Puncture the duct tape with the valve and hope that all would be well.

Duct tape boot on the rim

First test: Putting the valve through the boot and airing up the tire

After devising the boot and documenting its application as well as the overall rim condition, we pedaled on. David’s tire stayed inflated for the next several miles and he smartly decided to shortcut back to the parking lot after lunch. As far as I know, he made it back without incident.

David, riding on eggshells to lunch

Other than David’s rim fail, the rest of this century ride passed peacefully. The temps reached into the 60s, the terrain was gently rolling, and the wind was calm. There are no epic climbs on this ride, but the roads are quiet, and the lunch stop at the Inn at Kellys Ford is a winner.

Felkerino took photos (here), as did I (here).

Sunday, we did our coffeeneuring shortie ride to Potomac via Baked and Wired. Tons of riders were out. We also saw that the local businesses had been hard at work sprucing up for the December holidays.

Only 29 Days to buy Santa’s Cookies!

I like seeing all the different things that people put up for the month of December. It makes the cycling more festive, and I love how the holiday lights warm up the nights.

The Road Less Travelled 130K Populaire on the Rawland dSogn

Over the past weekend, Felkerino and I met up with fellow D.C. Randonneurs Chuck, Crista, and George to ride the recently approved Road Less Travelled Populaire.

This ride, designed by George Moore, totals 130K/83 miles, with approximately 60 percent of featuring unpaved roads. It starts in Haymarket, Virginia, and takes a blend of back roads and pavement to Purcellville, on to Middleburg (the heart of Loudoun County’s horse country), and back again to Haymarket.

Horse-drawn carriage near Middleburg

Felkerino and I thought a ride like this would be an excellent change of pace from the regular road riding we do. Because the course had so many unpaved sections, we decided to leave the tandem at home and ride single bikes. We readied up our 650B Rawland dSogns, threw some fatty rumpkin 40mm tires on the bikes, and headed out for a fun day in the country.

Felkerino and the Rawland

I had a blast riding my Rawland. While the beginning and ending miles of the route were mellow, the bulk of the ride felt pretty much like a perpetual roller coaster. Overall, the route has over 6,200 feet of climb in 83 miles.

Some of the climbs on the ride were steep, but with the Rawland’s mountain gearing I felt I could climb anything. Also, having done so much climbing on the tandem, the relative lighter weight of the Rawland made me feel speedy and strong. In reality, I was not speedy, but the Rawland made me feel like I was!

My Rawland and me

The 40mm tires gave me extra confidence on the hard-packed or sometimes gravelly downhills, as did the disc brakes. The brakes are so responsive on this bike that I have to be careful to not grab them to tightly. A little bit will usually do.

I had to pay extra attention on this ride, not only because I was steering for a change, but also because the road surfaces varied in quality and the patchy shadows cast over the roads in the tree-lined areas made the road more difficult to see. The minute I stopped paying attention I would inevitably dip my tire into a pothole.

Rawland dSogn, taking a break

The Road Less Travelled was the first ride of the season where I accepted that winter will actually arrive soon. Though the day’s temperatures rose into the 50s, we began pedaling while they were in the 30s. (I know, I know, that’s nothing compared to many other parts of the country right now. It’s all relative!)

The leaves on most of the trees had fallen, and many of the bright colors of fall had given way to varying shades of brown. The route was still picturesque, but I can only imagine how much more stunning it would be if ridden earlier in the fall, or during the green of spring and summer.

Bare trees and the long shadows of late fall

Felkerino and I did not race through this ride, but we did need to keep moving in order to finish within the mandated time limits. To see more pictures of what the ride offered, check out Felkerino’s photos here, and my small set here.

Like I said, it was great fun. We launched relatively close to D.C., started in daylight, finished in daylight, challenged our legs with the ups and downs of the route, and saw lots of “new” lovely areas just beyond those familiar paved roads. This excellent day on our Rawlands left me wanting to do more dirt road rides.

Bikes to Like: Kevin T.’s Rivendell Atlantis

Since we’ve been on the subject of randonneurs and coffeeneurs in Alaska, I thought I’d start out the week with a long overdue Bikes to Like, featuring my flickr friend and RBA of the Alaska Randonneurs, Kevin Turinsky. What kind of bike does this Alaska randonneur choose for the varied conditions Alaska offers? Read on and find out!

Kevin and Atlantis on an S240 (c) Kevin Turinsky

1. What kind of bike do you have?

A 2005 Rivendell Atlantis 61cm.

2. Where do you ride it?

I live and ride in and around Anchorage, Alaska. However, I’ve taken this bike all over Southcentral and Interior Alaska. We’ve got some beautiful roads up here. It’s been ridden down in Homer (the “End of the Road”), up in Denali National Park, and up around Delta Junction and Tok.

I use it as a road bike, primarily for commuting and riding brevets, but I also ride it as a mountain bike on the trails up here. I’ve even raced a full season of ‘cross with it, and I didn’t come in last!

It’s gone to Maui with me three times. I’ve put on a ton of kilometers there. The riding in Maui is just incredible. I couldn’t go back without the Atlantis.

3. What do you like about your bike?

I was really torn between getting a Rambouillet and the Atlantis. I’m glad I got the Atlantis.

What I like most about it is its versatility. I have three sets of wheels that totally change the personality of the Atlantis. I have my Velocity Synergys that I commute, mountain bike, and ‘cross with; Aeroheads for brevets; and SnowCats (44mm wide) for winter.

The Atlantis has an incredible amount of wheel clearance; it has super wide chainstays, and a big, tall fork. This alone lets me have one bike to do most everything with.

I don’t know of another conventional road-type bike that I could put SnowCat rims with 52mm WTB Nanos on and ride winter trails with. Granted, it’s not like riding a real Fatbike with 80mm rims, but it allows me a lot of winter riding! Packed trails are great!

I like that it’s stout too. This bike gets handled a lot. Initially I was afraid the tubes were too beefy. But this bike can handle being put in the back of a pickup with some saw horses, chainsaws, and crab pots and getting jostled around a bit.

The lovely Atlantis (c) Kevin Turinsky

4. If you had to describe your bike in one word, what would it be?

Eager.

5. Fenders or no fenders?

Oh, definitely fenders! I’m known for having a fender fetish. My roadie friends tease me about it. Fenders are critical here in Alaska. I went to school in Seattle and discovered their benefits there. I just use the plastic ones because I’m always changing my tire sizes and wheels.

Fenders are so key during brevets with hours of cold rain. They keep you so much cleaner and drier. I think you’re crazy to ride without them.

I do wish SKS made extra-long fenders. I noticed they have a new, longer set on the market now. But I’m experimenting with extending my own, a la zip-ties.

I don’t really use fenders in the winter, of course. However, I do put little sheets of Coroplast on the bottoms of my front and rear racks. The only time I’ve ridden without fenders is on Maui.

6. What is one of your favorite memories with this bicycle?

Late fall S24Os (sub-24-hour overnight) up in the Chugach Range behind Anchorage, not making the summit and riding home through the snow.

Summer beach riding camping trips down on the Kenai Peninsula along Cook Inlet with our daughter.

Pre-dawn starts from Haiku, Maui to Hana and back.

A brutal 400K, riding at night through howling wind and driving rain, exhausted, alone, and too afraid to stop and rest because I knew I’d die of hypothermia.

Atlantis and Cat in the Carradice (c) Kevin Turinsky

7. Does your bike have a name? If so, what is it?

Nope. We just refer to it as “The Atlantis”

8. What is your favorite accessory on your bike and why?

It’s a toss up between the Nelson Longflap, the Nitto front rack/basket combo, and the Crane bell.

If I had to have just one favorite, it would be the basket. It gets back to that versatility thing again. The basket is great for camping. It’s wonderful for commuting. It’s carried a lot of salmon. I put two rose bushes in it for Mother’s day.

Every bike in our family, including our tandem, has that rack/basket setup. Our daughter rides to piano lessons with her music in her basket. It’s also the best way to carry almost enough beer on a bike!

For brevets I just snip the zip-ties and put my Berthoud bag on.

“Tis the Season. Atlantis and the illuminated Front Basket (c) Kevin Turinsky

9. If your bike could talk, what is one thing it would say to you?

“Kev, you don’t ride enough! Get off that damn computer, do some wrenchin’, and let’s ride!”

10. What did I forget to ask that you want to tell me about your bike?

What kind of grease do you use? Phil.
What’s with that bar tape? Cinelli cork, double-wrapped.
Why do you ride a 61 when you could really be riding a 64? It’s much safer dismounting in soft snow from a 61.

Thanks so much for your insightful and entertaining post, Kevin. My husband loves his Atlantis, too, and it’s great to see how you make it a bike for so many things throughout the seasons.

Friday Link Love: from Randonneuring to the Commute

CyclingCapTuesday photo by the U.S. Capitol

Another week has rolled by, colder temps have come to Washington, D.C., and all that fall color I raved about is quickly fading or finding its way into the street gutters. That’s ok; we were due, I suppose.

Several stories caught my attention this week. I liked them so much, I thought I’d pass along my week’s reading list to you.

Felkerino, 2010 PA Randonneurs Stillwater 200K

Randonneuring

  • Joe Brown, a randonneur from Pennsylvania, was kind enough to let me feature him on The Daily Randonneur’s Rando Q&A. Good stuff.
  • Joe over at Mellow Yellow wrote up his Flatbread experience, A Windy Day on a Fixie.
  • Joe also has a recent post about his successful pursuit of 10,000 RUSA kilometers in 2011. How did he do it? He explains his methods in his story K-Hounding – the ongoing quest for kilometers.
  • Jack, a Severna Park Peloton rider, put together a good story about his first brevet at Putting it Out There. Title of Jack’s story? First brevet. Seems appropriate.
  • Have you seen this 15-minute PBP 2011 video, Towards the Ocean, by Pete Kelsey? I liked skimming through it. It also includes a dedication to Thai.
  • The Bike Show did a two-part podcast about PBP 2011. The second part includes interviews with Chris Ragsdale, of Seattle, and Judith Swallow. Pete Kelsey, who put together the Towards the Ocean video, is also featured. More perspectives about the PBP experience and how people approach a 1200K. You can find those (free!) via iTunes.

Coffeeneuring

Coffeeneuring

  • Girl on a Bike was one ride away from completing the Coffeeneuring Challenge when Halloween and goth costumes drove her to distraction. I’m categorizing that as an honorable mention. Her fine writeup and photos are shared on her post, Coffeeneuring.
  • Bikes/Bytes/Bites took the coffeeneuring spirit to Brisbane, Australia and wrote about it in Australia Coffeeneuring. Her photos of the adventure are here. At least nine shops visited, and two flat whites consumed. I’ve got to try one of these flat whites!

Commuting

Almost time for the weekend. Let’s bundle up and go ride our bikes!

Coffeeneuring Rewind Part 2: Ted in Alaska

When we last left Ted, he was returning from his third (or fourth, however you might be calculating) coffeeneuring ride on his Long Haul Trucker. Today, we follow our intrepid coffeeneur on the latter half of his coffeeneuring rides, which he attempts to complete riding a different bike each ride. So far, he’s ridden a Gunnar Sport, Surly Long Haul Trucker, and a Giant Kronos. What’s next? Read on and see!

  • Ride Five

Where: Sleepy Dog Coffee Co. 11517 Old Glen Highway, Eagle River, AK
Total miles: 5.8
Bike: Salsa LaRaza

My wife, Saree, rode with me on this cold, grey day for coffee at Sleepy Dog. I rode my oldest son’s LaRaza for this ride. I forgot how smooth Shimano 105 components are. It was a pleasure to ride the steel LaRaza with carbon fork. I had an Americano and a big peanut butter cookie. Saree had a latte.

  • Ride Six

Where:Starbucks, Fred Meyer, 13401 Old Glen Highway, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 7.8
Bike: 1987 Specialized Stumpjumper

I realized I can still get my 7 rides in on different bikes if I DQ one of the LHT rides and get two rides in next weekend. So for this trip I rode my old Stumpjumper, which I rebuilt several years ago, but really haven’t ridden since the mid 90s.

I carefully mounted a lock on the bike to use at Fred Meyer, as I knew I couldn’t see the bike from inside the store where the Starbucks is located. Unfortunately I forgot the key to the lock so had to leave the bike unattended anyway. But I kept my stop brief, and headed out with my still 3⁄4 full Americano to drink on the road back home.

  • Ride Seven

Where:Tinker’s Rainforest Deli, 12812 Old Glen Highway, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 7.1
Bike: 1984 Trek 8000

The Trek replaced the Stumpjumper years ago. I rebuilt it for my son to use and upgraded it from Deore LX 7-speed to Deore XT 8-speed components. It was great fun to ride, and I was again impressed with how well the 8-speed stuff works.

I ordered an Exxon Valdez, a custom espresso drink that consists of: Mocha (oil), Hazlenut (Cpt Jim Hazlewood), and Buttered Rum (what Hazlewood was drinking) It was quite tasty but very rich!

I didn’t need it today, but Tinker’s makes great sandwiches.

The Trek, which is really a bit small for me, put me in an urban assault sort of mood as I tooled through Eagle River jumping curbs and cutting through gas stations. Probably a good idea I don’t ride the thing too much.

  • Ride Eight!

Where:Jitters, 11401 Old Glen Highway, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 5.7
Bike: 1999 Airborne Lucky Strike

Ok, last ride. Couple inches of fresh snow. I know you east coast guys got hit hard, but this stuff will stay with us awhile. I put studs on the Airborne, my current titanium hardtail mountain bike. The Airborne replaced the Trek that replaced the Stumpjumper.

I did a quick ride back down to Jitters, and by DQ’ing Ride 2 I still have seven rides to seven different coffee shops on seven different bikes!

The snow was soft and creamy, but the packed stuff from car tires left ridges and ruts that were squirrely to ride on even with the Nokian Extreme 296 tires. It felt kind of like a tire going flat. I had my usual Americano at Jitters with a peanut butter cookie. I rode a slight detour on the way home to get a picture of the Airborne by Meadow Creek.

I flatted on the way home and had to put a new tube in it. I think a small split in the original rear tire was the culprit. But it might have been a pinch flat from jumping something.

Ted, congratulations on completing the inaugural Coffeeneuring Challenge. You took quite an innovative approach to it. Also, if there was a category for most jumping during a coffeeneur challenge, you would probably win that prize. Thanks so much for participating, and sharing your entertaining ride reports with us!

Coffeeneuring Rewind Part 1: Ted in Alaska

Once again we’re reliving the journey of some of our exceptional coffeeneurs. This week, I’m featuring Ted T., an Alaska randonneur and coffeeneur. Not content to abide by the mere 15 rules of the contest, Ted added an additional criteria for himself: complete each coffeeneuring ride on a different bike. Nice one!

I’ve spent a little time in Alaska, but never studied the number of coffee shops in the area. They have more coffeeneuring destinations than I thought. Read on and take note as Ted shares the first half of his Coffeeneuring Challenge.

I live in Eagle River, Alaska, which is basically a small bedroom community 15 miles from Anchorage. Loving coffee, I couldn’t resist attempting the Coffeeneuring Challenge. I could only come up with four different coffee shops in Eagle River, with another couple of Starbucks located in grocery stores. I figured I could do a couple of trips into Anchorage, but about 10 miles each way is sort of a slog on a bike path along a busy six-lane highway. I ride this frequently when I commute home from work, and really don’t relish doing it again on the weekends.

I ended up with one coffee shop from Anchorage, and then the four in Eagle River along with the two Grocery Store Starbucks. As one of the four in Eagle River is a standalone Starbucks, I realized I was pushing the intent of rule 7, where this is allowed but not preferred. Also, I am a bit of a “friends don’t let friends drink Starbuck’s” type of person. But it was either the Starbucks or 30+ miles treks into Anchorage over that same 20 miles of highway trails.

To make it a bit more interesting for myself and maybe a bit more of a challenge to offset the lack of diversity of coffee shops, I vowed to do each ride on a different bike.

  • Ride One

Where:  Kaladi Brothers Coffee Company, 6901 E Tudor, Anchorage, AK
Total Miles: 24.6
Bike: 2004 Gunnar Sport, my rando bike with custom low trail fork

I started this ride in downtown Anchorage where my family was having breakfast with the in- laws. After breakfast, I rode alone across town mostly on quiet bike paths to the Kaladi Bros on the east side of town. I don’t usually ride around this area so it was fun to be on unfamiliar, if urban streets. I had my usual Americano and sat outside in the warm sunshine which felt great despite the 50F temps. I left Kaladi Bros and headed north on through town on residential streets eventually picking up the Glen Highway Bike path at Muldoon, which is the familiar slog back to Eagle River. It was a beautiful day and a great, relaxing ride.

  • Ride Two: DQ’d, as explained in Coffeeneuring Part 2 (Yes, you’ll have to read part two to see why. !!)

Where:  Jitters, 11401 Old Glen Highway, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 11.4
Bike: Surly Long Haul Trucker

I strapped a bucket on the LHT rack so I could haul our hot tub filter down to the carwash to rinse it off. I have recently put 26X1.75 tires on the LHT and love the plush ride it gives. My son Will went along for the ride to the carwash on his LHT.

After the work was done, Will headed off for a longer training ride and I headed to Jitters, my favorite local coffee house. I had my usual Americano, and again sat out in the sun, where another cyclist was sitting. It turns out he was riding a Gunnar Sport and we had a great time talking about cycling. I rode on familiar streets but not my usual route for the short one and half miles home.

  • Ride Three

Where:  Starbucks -Safeway, 16707 Coronado Road, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 12
Bike: Giant Kronos

I started this ride with a solo climb up Skyline Drive. A friend gave me the Giant Kronos and I haven’t ridden it a lot. But I love the low gears it has with a Shimano RSX crank (26-36-46) and an 11-28 7 speed cassette. A fast ride down deposited me (with one photo break) at the local Starbucks.

I decided to branch out and got a coffee Frapuccino. It was quite good. I left Starbucks and again took less familiar streets home.

  • Ride Four

Where:  Starbucks, 11409 Business Blvd, Eagle River, AK
Total Miles: 6.6
Bike: Surly Long Haul Trucker

There was a cold steady drizzle when it came time for the coffeeneuring outing. I debated not going, but I only have one extra day in the challenge, and I thought I better get out and do it. I did opt to ride the LHT again as it is fully fendered, and I specifically wanted to try the new mudflap I had made for the front fender.

Testing out the Mudflap

My son berated me mercilessly for abandoning my self-imposed rule of a different bike for each ride. But the lure of testing the mudflap won out so off I went by myself on the LHT. The mudflap worked well, and I added a few extra miles to my route but still kept it pretty short.

The sitting area at the Starbucks in the Carrs (Safeway) grocery store was essentially abandoned on this Sunday afternoon, but I enjoyed my Americano nonetheless. It was still a steady drizzle as I headed home, but I enjoyed every mile on the LHT.

Next: The second half of this coffeeneur’s challenge. A different bike for each ride… can he do it?! Don’t miss it!

Weekend Roundup: Two Shorties, a 200K Brevet, and the D.C. Tweed Ride

If you were in the D.C. area over the weekend, you know that we had some choice cycling weather. A pinch brisk in the mornings, giving way to sun and warmth in the afternoon. Long-sleeve, no-jacket temperatures.

With weather like this, who can stay inside? Not me.

  • W&OD Trail Ride to Vienna, Virginia

Felkerino and I joined up with our friend Lane for an unscripted Friday ride. We departed D.C. just before midday and meandered down the W&OD to Vienna. Even though the fall color has peaked, there are still plenty of eye-catching hues on the trees. Fallen leaves are all around, adding to the seasonal beauty. (And I don’t have to rake them, yes!)

We also criss-crossed with the juxtaexposed bloggers on the return. They were headed out toward Leesburg, Virginia. They were stylish travelers, with a set of orange panniers on one bike and a VO front bag on the other.

Sadly, I was not quick enough on the draw to get a photo, but happily, they took their own photos and did a fine writeup of their W&OD weekend trip. Find it on their blog.

Pedaling down the W&OD Panda

  • D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K Brevet

Saturday, Felkerino and I joined up with 79 other cyclists to participate in the D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K. This was Felkerino’s and my first ride of over a century since the bike ride known as Paris-Brest-Paris. With a total ascent of less than 1,000 feet for the entire route, terrain is not the challenge. However, the wind can be and it definitely was on this ride.

Fortunately, though, Felkerino provided a ready draft for me, and we also had tailwinds for the latter part of the ride. I much prefer to deal with the headwinds on the outbound than the return, don’t you?

This ride offered up plenty of good cycling fellowship and more fall color.

Crossing the wooden bridge on the Flatbread 200K

The route also passed a divine bakery, called Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop in Millford, Delaware. I had not wanted to stop, but Felkerino did. After I sampled a pumpkin bar, I realized the error of my ways. Best pumpkin bar ever (and pretty good coffee, too)!

Steve and the Rivendell at Dolce

We even passed by the Atlantic Ocean, woo!

Felkerino and me at the Atlantic Ocean in Slaughter Beach, DE, Photo by Bob T.

I met and even rode some miles with coffeeneur and randonneur Iron Rider, who put together an excellent blog post of his ride. He completed it on a fixed gear. Way to go, Iron Rider!

Although I have not met her (yet!), Lisa of the Rambling Rider blog was also there. This was her first 200K and she wrote about her experience as a first-time randonneuse here. Welcome to randonneuring, Lisa! Hope to see you on another brevet.

A combined set of Felkerino’s and my Flatbread brevet pics is on my flickr page.

  • Potomac, Maryland and the D.C. Tweed Ride

Sunday, we joked about going to the D.C. Tweed Ride. Ha ha ha! Can you imagine us going on the tweed ride? Even though I love reading about Tweed Rides and seeing the photos, it’s hard to envision Felkerino and me participating in one.

Ultimately, we decided on our traditional post-brevet coffee run out to Potomac, Maryland. Lots of cyclists (including D.C. Randonneur Jeff M.) were out and about on the colorful tree-lined roads. Gotta enjoy it while we can!

Capital Crescent Trail

In a strange twist of fate, we ended up converging with the D.C. Tweed Ride on our return route! I am not kidding! That was awesome and hysterical.

With both of us in Sidi’s, me in my wool Swobo and knickers, and Felkerino in his Canada Randonneurs jersey and Bicycle Times socks, it was quite obvious we were not part of their procession.

D.C. Tweed Riders on a Trek and Surly

A perfect day for the D.C. Tweed Ride

Velo Orange and tweed on the D.C. Tweed Ride

Felkerino suggested that maybe I fit in more than I thought, as I was wearing a tweed cycling cap, ha!

You will find more of our serendipitous D.C. Tweed Ride collision here. I hope everybody had a great ride. It was a lovely day for it.

So that’s it for this perfect fall weekend. One ride on the W&OD, a D.C. Randonneurs 200K brevet, a coffee run via the Capital Crescent Trail to Potomac, Maryland, and the D.C. Tweed Ride.

Up next: More Coffeeneuring Rewind!

Week in Review

Time for a mostly visual week in review. Can’t let all this vibrant fall pass without some photographic evidence.

Fallen leaves on the walk home

The slightly acrid smell of drying leaves, the cascade of leaves when a slight breeze prompts their detachment from the tree where they spent the summer. Delicious.

Another #CyclingCapTuesday (more fall leaves)

What can I say? I love Cycling Cap Tuesday! Even the stray leaves are trying to get a piece of the CyclingCapTuessday action.

Neverending road construction.

It’s not all paradise in D.C. Ha ha ha! Like you needed me to tell you that. Lots of construction projects have kicked in over multiple pulse points of my commute. I’ve figured out re-routes, but the ongoing jack-hammering, banging, occasional tar smell, and temporary banishment from my regular route has tried my patience.

Also, these ongoing road repairs don’t mesh with my ideal savoring of the sights and smells of fall while meandering peacefully around the city. It’s kind of a mess, and I hope the improvement projects are completed soon (and do, indeed, improve the city).

Korean War Memorial

My little iPod gave it all it could, but this photo still does little justice to the perfect golden tree canope of in the fore of the Korean War Memorial memorial. In person, it is eye saturating.

D.C. War Memorial

The D.C. War Memorial officially reopened on Thursday. I passed by during a lunchtime run. No one was there, this wreath the only sign of the day’s reopening ceremony. I am so happy about the restoration of this memorial; it sparkles now.

I hope everybody has a good Veterans Day.

#Coffeeneuring Rewind: @nikki_d and @dirteng

Coffeeneuring rewind pedals on, and today we go into the heart of Washington, D.C., and feature two D.C. bloggers and coffeeneurs.

First, we have @nikki_d, who writes the blog, Pedal ‘n Purl

@nikki_d

She visited the following spots to meet her Coffeeneuring Challenge goals. Click on the coffee shop to get the full coffeeneuring scoop.

Ride 1, Pound Coffee

Ride 2, Chinatown Coffee

Ride 3, Azi’s Cafe

Ride 4, Tynan Coffee and Tea

Coffeeneuring Interlude, Roasting Plant (not by bike :(, but a cool spot nonetheless. Plus, I love the term “coffeeneuring interlude.”)

Ride 5, Tryst

Ride 6, Filter

Ride 7, Peregrine Espresso

@nikki_d impressed me by routing her trip to Peregrine Espresso through the 12th Street Tunnel. No, I am not kidding. She rode through that bad boy to avoid the Marine Corps Marathon traffic. Yeah, it was a Sunday, but still. That’s hard core coffeeneuring.

(c) Pedal ‘n Purl

During her coffeeneuring venture to Tryst, she also traversed the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, and experienced several drivers making illegal u-turns in front of her. I hardly take these lanes anymore because of this frequent occurrence. I like to minimize my chances for getting unexpectedly hooked.

@nikki_d surprised me by being a “no art on my cappuccino, please” coffeeneur, which she shared during her writeup about Peregrine. Who knew? I thought everybody loved the coffee art. Also, have you ever heard of a flat white? I could be the last coffeeneur to know.

In another part of the city @dirteng, of the blog Porta-John, was also out diligently making his own coffeeneuring rounds.

Porta-John

@nikki_d and @dirteng (John) overlapped a fair amount in their coffeeneuring destinations, though their sequencing varied. @dirteng’s trips went like this. As noted above, click on the shop to get the full coffeeneuring rundown.

Trip 1 – Peregrine Espresso

Trip 2 – Azi’s Cafe

Trip 3 – Chinatown Coffee

Trip 4 – Ebenezers Coffeehouse

Trip 5 – Baked and Wired

Trip 6 – Pound

Trip 7 – Tryst

John squeaked at least one of his coffeeneuring trips just within the minimum 2-mile round trip distance requirement, clocking his trip to Pound coffee at 2.03 miles. Just. Barely. Made it!

I loved reading about the treats that coffeeneurs shared in their posts. John’s treats included a “nut bar thing” a couple of sesame bagels, and a brownie. Yum.

John also included a rationale for all of his outings. They were:

  • “Just because (but then I decided to stop at Eastern Market Farmers Market too);”
  • “For coffee, and also grocery shopping;”
  • “For coffee and a bite to eat;”
  • “Coffee;”
  • “Errands in the city;”
  • “Thirst;” and
  • “Cruising around.”

Clever! Apparently, John also fell in love with the Americano during his final coffeeneuring outing to Tryst. Coffeeneuring: changing lives one bike ride and beverage at a time.

Want to read a couple of blogs that feature life in Washington, D.C., from the perspective of cyclists? Look no further: Pedal ‘n Purl and Porta-John are worth checking out.