Monthly Archives: December 2011

More 2011 in Review: The Rides and the Photos

The past couple of years, I started photographing more of my rides. I like having the tangible memory of an outing. I’ve always written ride stories, but this year, I enjoyed capturing commutes, weekend touring rides, brevets, meetups with friends, and miscellaneous errand running.

Bonding with the Quickbeam by DAR Constitution Hall

I spent a fair amount of time cycling in 2011, in between my other responsibilities and interests, much of it with my best friend and tandem partner Felkerino.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I wanted to spend less time in cars and Metro. I walked and cycled to work as much as I could, and Felkerino and I both committed to doing more of our errands and things like grocery shopping by bicycle. As a result, I rode more than 270 days this year– 80 more days than in 2010. (Yes, I track that stuff. I’m an analyst. I like to create my own data sets and then compare and contrast. Is that nerdy? You tell me.)

In addition, with PBP marked on the August calendar, Felkerino and I got in some spectacular (and longish) weekend riding. In order to spend less time in the car, we rode more from home, rather than driving to a remote start. To me, it is the ultimate irony to put your bike in the car to go to a bike ride. We still drove, just not as much.

Let’s go coffeeneuring!

All totaled, I ended up cycling more than 8,300 miles this year. In 2010, I rode just over 7,800 miles. Five hundred miles is not that much of a difference over the course of a year, but I think those errand rides throughout the weeks and months added up.

The one thing missing from my 2011 was a weeklong (or more) bike tour. While Felkerino and I made it out for a few overnight trips, our longest multi-day tour was four days. And by the way, 1200K randonnees are not tours! Hopefully, in 2012, we will spend at least one week out on the bike with our panniers and no clock egging us on to the next stop. I love randonneuring, but I really love touring!

Felkerino and me en route to Chartres (c) Greg Conderacci

I was so inspired by Jill Homer’s post about her 2011, that I wanted to do something similar in summarizing my year on the bike. I chose thirteen photos, one for each month except for January, which has two. These pictures represent some of my favorite things about this year’s cycling. I featured the post on its own page, and you can find it here.

As always, thanks for looking and reading. Cheers to 2012!

2011 in Review: The Rides and Photos

January – Felkerino and me on a cold ride out to White’s Ferry

January – The Potomac River at White’s Ferry

  • January

Our neck of the woods did not receive much snow this year, making January a rideable month. We did have below-average temperatures, though, so some rides were chilly. These two shots are from a sub-freezing sunny century Felkerino and I did in early January. My ankles felt so cold that I thought they could possibly shatter if you tapped on them hard enough. Crossing the Ferry that January day was beautiful, though. The bright sun, the ice on the river, and the determination to not let the cold keep us inside made for a fun ride.

February – A Quiet Rainy Evening on Capital Bikeshare

  • February

Capital Bikeshare has really had a positive effect on our city. More people are riding bikes than I have ever seen. Also, the city has Bikeshare stations in places where Metro doesn’t reach. This shot was taken as Felkerino and I rode home after seeing Robert Plant and the Band of Joy at D.A.R. Constitution Hall. While there is no Metro line outside of D.A.R., there is a CaBi stop. Felkerino and I pulled out a couple of bikes and rode to the stop nearest our house. Cheaper than a cab ride, and faster than Metro. Capital Bikeshare is a brilliant addition to Washington, D.C.

March – Brevets! Ritchey and his Astro Daimler

  • March

March marked the start of the brevet season for Felkerino and me. This is a shot of the D.C. Randonneurs 200K out of Urbana, Maryland. While the picture is blurry, I like several things about it. I like the energy of the 200K starts. They start at a civilized hour, people share hellos, warm up, and then sort into their various paces.

This is also the first time I met Ritchie, who is riding the Astro Daimler. When I first saw him, I thought maybe he had stepped out of a time machine just to do the brevet. I think it was the combination of his bike and way he slung his camera case over his shoulder. Dave G. is behind him, riding a Vanilla.

April – More brevet fun. Alec and Lane on the Old Rag 200K

  • April

Felkerino and I have ridden with some lovely people over the years. This year, we shared some great big bicycling adventures with Lane and Alec. Some of the laughs were shared on brevets and others happened on nondonneuring rides. I can’t imagine my 2011 without these two. Thanks, guys.

May – The Early Mornings Continue

  • May

Much as I loathe getting up at 3:00 a.m. or earlier, there is something cool about the 4 and 5:00 a.m. brevet starts. I spend the morning getting my stuff organized, looking at who showed up for the ride, putting my reflective stuff on, perusing the bikes, saying hi to familiar faces, and meeting other riders for the first time. Just before the start, we pause as a group, listen to the announcements the ride organizer (which have to be in a voice that everyone can hear, but isn’t so loud as to awaken the “regular” people), pedal out of the parking lot, wake up, and watch the sunrise.

June – Utility riding. Felkerino, the Bridgestone, the Burley trailer, AND the Nishiki mixte. Wow!

  • June

In 2011 Felkerino and I began to use our bikes even more for utility cycling, thanks in part to this Burley trailer. We have had this trailer for a few years, but finally decided to set it up with the Bridgestone MB-4 that one of our friends gave us. Thanks to the Burley, we can go on big grocery runs and haul things like bike frames around. The trailer has proven transformative in making us even less dependent on a car or even Metro.

July – Riding in Rain on the Blue Ridge Parkway

  • July

During July, Felkerino and I planned a two-day, 322-mile tuneup ride that passed Rockfish Gap and Humpback Rocks. We hope to tour the full Parkway some day, but for now, these small doses will have to do. This picture was taken on the Parkway as we climbed from Rockfish Gap up to Humpback Rocks. It had started raining and soon after some lightning was thrown around, too.

This section of the Parkway is stunning, as you get thrilling views of the terrain below. This day it was also intimidating, as there was really nowhere for us to seek shelter from the thunderstorm rolling through. We pedaled on, enthralled by nature’s beauty, fueled by the desire to put some distance between us and the weather, and to reach our overnight stop.

August – Day 3 on PBP, with Felkerino and Jon.

  • August

I already wrote about PBP and its significance to this year’s cycling, but I didn’t mention the fun we had ticking off the miles with Jon Gardner. His seemingly endless energy and good humor made PBP just that much better. I also like this photo because Day 3 of PBP was such a gorgeous day, full of sun, and we all were in such good moods as we had passed the halfway point of the ride the day before. It was a perfect day to ride.

September – 50 States Ride and Blogger Meetups

  • September

After PBP, I ratcheted way back on the mileage and signed up for the 50 States Ride, which is put on by the Washington Area Bicycling Association. Fellow blogger and commuter Rootchopper also participated (and did all of it, not the 40-state version I completed). I really like the 50 States Ride, provided I can do it on my own terms, that is, take shortcuts and alternative routes when I feel like it.

Felkerino took this picture of Rootchopper and me just before the ride start. In 2011 I’ve met several cyclists, commuters, and bloggers through writing Chasing Mailboxes. That’s been a real treat.

October – Coffeeneuring and Single Speeds

  • October

October was all about coffeeneuring. I LOVED IT, and thank you thank you thank you to everybody who participated in the Coffeeneuring Challenge! I refined my coffee palate, explored new coffee destinations, and learned about places other people go coffeeneuring, too.

This fall was also all about the single speeds. Felkerino purchased and built up a SimpleOne frame from Rivendell. He meticulously researched and subsequently purchased the perfect bags for it, and started riding it everywhere. I accompanied him on my Quickbeam, which does not have such a meticulous setup, but has a couple of good non-matching bags on it. We both love our Rivendell single speeds. No thinking required, except for the steering and braking part, and they fit us perfectly.

November – Dirt Road Riding on the dSogn

  • November

November was all about the Rawland dSogn. I took my Rawland out on some bumpy rides down the C&O Canal Towpath. We are so lucky to have the C&O. You ride a few miles and suddenly it’s difficult to tell that you actually live in a hustling asphalt-filled city.

The Rawland was made for dirt, and with the disc brakes, it doesn’t even get that dirty. Felkerino and I also met up with fellow D.C. Randonneurs Chuck, Crista, and George to ride a dirt road populaire for which the Rawlands were perfect. I like this shot, which was taken by Felkerino, because of the way the road you can see the road stretching out. Roads like that are so pretty (or intimidating!). We enjoyed being on our “fat tire” bikes that day.

December – Danger Pandas and Santa Hats

  • December

Did you think I could let a whole year pass without some love for the panda shot? Impossible! I took panda shots throughout the year, but this pre-work danger panda practice session is one of my favorites.

And that’s it. My year in review in three parts is finally concluded. Thanks for taking the virtual trip through the year with me. Happy New Year, everyone!

2011 in Review: All Bike Rides Lead to Paris Brest Paris

Now that 2011 is coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the year, as many people do. For me, 2011 was all about Paris Brest Paris, not just because of the event itself, but also because of all the careful planning and diligent pedaling it took to get there.

In early 2010, Felkerino and I decided that we would attempt to ride the 2011 edition of Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) together on tandem. As part of our preparation, we rode the Endless Mountains 1000K in 2010 to give us a good pre-PBP challenge and to see how we might fare on a ride close to PBP distance. While we finished Endless Mountains well within the time limit, I finished with a lot of knee pain and fatigue. I worried about how my body would withstand PBP, an event 125 miles longer than the one I’d just completed.

To build up my strength, I added more weight training and core conditioning to my weekly workout routine. Felkerino and I developed a 2011 cycling plan that had us riding around 1,700 miles from January to March. Ed likes to say the randonneuring season begins the day after the Winter Solstice, and at least this year, he was right. We dragged ourselves outside in the cold and dark, sometimes finishing in the cold and dark, to make sure we developed a strong cycling base.

Through the brevets and the Super Randonneur series (late March through June), we continued to increase our long miles. When not riding brevets, we would do weekend training rides to build our endurance. During June and July, we logged four overnight cycling trips (in addition to the 600K) and completed over 1,000 miles each month. Since June and July are such awesome cycling months, that wasn’t hard to do, except that our household projects and laundry suffered.

About four weeks before PBP, we began to taper and did not worry about logging any big miles until the event itself.

Our plan worked extremely well for us. Endless Mountains proved to be a fine training ground for PBP. The craggy Pennsylvania terrain built up my legs and my confidence. The brevets and our steady buildup of miles until August made me comfortable with spending lots of time on the bike. Before dawn, during the day, after dark… I was ready to be in the saddle.

When PBP arrived in mid-August, we were physically and mentally prepared. I remember going to bike inspection, getting our photo taken, and feeling like life was perfect. I couldn’t stop smiling and I was so proud to be with Felkerino and all of the other randonneurs.

And fortunately, we both arrived in France in good health and with snappy legs. The weather cooperated (for the most part), and we had no major mechanicals. My stomach held up and I had an excellent appetite throughout the ride. Even though we were on the clock, we were able to keep a decent cushion between our ride and the cutoff times. We even got sleep each night!

When Ed and I crossed the PBP finish line, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and happiness. Everything had come together.

And how could I forget the most important thing– we had such great companions and support along the way. Endless Mountains, the brevets, our weekend rides, PBP… we seldom rode alone. Laughs, smiles, stories, and shared moments of randonneur loopiness with our friends kept the miles rolling, and made all our rides that much better. The virtual company from the Tweets, blog comments, and messages that we received while out riding motivated and encouraged us. Thanks to all of you for being part of our 2011 adventures.

Happy Randonneurmas Link Love

Hope everybody is doing well as we head into the holiday weekend. I’m currently drying out from an evening rain ride that was more than I bargained for. Now please do not make any remarks in the comment section if you claim to be one of those people who just loves riding in the rain. That is, unless you want to help me wash my now-dirty bicycle :).

Bicycle Ornament from my friend Courtney

OK, back to what I really am here to post about. LINKS!

  • Winter Solstice 200K. Our very own Bill Beck and Chip Adams ventured out Wednesday evening for a Winter Solstice permanent. They started at 7 p.m. and finished at around 5:30 a.m. These are what I like to call “concept rides,” i.e., they sound great to me in concept, but pulling them off is a different matter. They did it and it looks like they had fun, too, judging by the ride description and the photos.
  • Reporting Road Rage. Local blogger, Pedal ‘n Purl, endured an awful altercation with a driver this week, and smartly reported it to the police. Thankfully, she is ok, but still rotten to read about these kinds of things happening on our streets.
  • 2011 Through the Lens of an Endurance Athlete. The amazing Jill Homer reflects on the last 12 months in photos. Both an ultra-cyclist and ultra-runner, her photos and reflections from the year captivated me.
  • Bicycle Art.  I stumbled across the cycling artwork of Magical Octopus this week. I enjoy the quirky illustrations and captions, and hope you do, too.
  • Embracing the Suck. In Over Your Head interviewed Leo Babauta about his experience at a running-based endurance event (the Goruck Challenge). I saw parallels to randonneuring.  I also found the discussion about the need (or not) for goal-setting thought-provoking.
  • Reflections on Randonneuring. Iron Rider looks back on some of the people he’s gotten to know through randonneuring the past couple of years, and what he learned from them about being a randonneur.

Time to sign off and wrap a few presents. Happy Randonneurmas, everybody, and thanks for reading!

Famous D.C. Bike Blogger Rendezvous (Tales from the Sharrows)!

Do you live in the Washington, D.C., area and did you commute on Tuesday? Yowza, was the weather nice or what!? I love commute days like this. Low winds, temps going into the 50s, and sane traffic flow. Gotta appreciate those days.

Did you know that famous local bike blogger and tweep, @sharrowsDC, is selling buttons featuring his Tales From the Sharrows logo to raise money for the Washington Area Bicycling Association? It’s true! For five dollars, this great button can be yours and you will be contributing to an excellent cause. These buttons also give you extra street cred when you are out riding around, AND if you wear it while traveling, people will know you are a D.C.-area cyclist. Or at the very least, they will know that you read and support a D.C.-area cycling blog! I wore mine at the office, and a few people asked about or complimented my new fancy suit jacket button. So you see? These buttons make you more popular at work! Oh, and they would also make excellent stocking stuffers for your resident D.C. bike commuter/scenester.

Tales From the Sharrows buttons

Guess what? Both Felkerino and I purchased buttons (unbeknownst to each other), but Felkerino’s arrived intact and I received an empty envelope due to some post office snafu. Instead of asking for a new mailing of the buttons, @sharrowsDC and I arranged a morning bike commute button rendezvous at Swing’s coffee. It was great fun to see @sharrowsDC and talk bikes and bike advocacy for a little bit. I loved getting my buttons, too. As you can see above, they are quite nice and the logo is clever.

Bloggers unite: Me, @sharrowsDC, and Felkerino

If I had a logo, do you know what it would look like? It would look like this. No, I have no professional (or even amateur) art training.

chasing mailboxes logo

Do you know that @sharrowsDC also wrote about meeting up with us on his blog? He did, and you can read about it here!

Did you know that today is #CyclingCapTuesday? It is! Felkerino and I rode into our favorite pre-work destination and bike commute button rendezvous spot sporting our Little Package cycling caps.

#CyclingCapTuesday

Did you know that Swings makes fantastic coffee? They do! Felkerino and our friends Lane and Eric happily slurped coffee and chatted the pre-work time away.

And you know what else? @sharrowsDC is such good energy. It really got my day off to an excellent start to meet up with friends and a famous cycling blogger before starting my workday.

What kind of day was my Tuesday? A very good day.

P.S. Did you notice I started all my paragraphs with questions? Yup! Don’t worry, I won’t be doing that on a regular basis. I just felt interrogative today.

Century Ride, Burley Trailer, and Santa Hats

Even though the holidays are quickly closing in on us, Felkerino and I made a joint escape from our chores on Saturday to do a century ride. We then made up for our day at play by doing car-free errands on Sunday, including a few with the Burley trailer.

Crofton, Maryland, Century Ride

Saturday, Felkerino and I met up with Mike B., fellow D.C. Randonneur and Severna Park Peloton member, for a 97-mile jaunt out of Crofton, Maryland. Course description: rolling; no mountains; a few busy suburban roads; and several quiet, rolling, wooded sections. Overall, it was a great ride considering it started from such a built up area.

Out and about with Mike B.

Although the weather people filled our heads with hopeful lies of sunny skies and mid-forties, the temperatures stayed in the 30s all day, and the sun popped out for maybe the last hour of our ride. For most of the day, it was pretty much cloudy and cold, but not that awful cold where as soon as you stop you immediately freeze. No, it was that less severe cold where if you are off the bike for more than fifteen minutes, you wonder why you bothered since your hands and toes will have to go through their painful retingling warmup process.

My only gaffe of the day was showing up helmet-less. Oops. That didn’t bother me too much, but I could tell that Felkerino was not letting me go far without one. Fortunately, due to the holidays Kmart opened their doors at 6 a.m. (6 a.m.? That’s crazy! But not if you need a helmet for a bike ride!)

Kmart was only two miles away so we pedaled there to pick out a hopefully-not-too-nerdy helmet. Mike encouraged me to pick a SpongeBob helmet, but (unfortunately?) those did not come in adult sizes and I ended up with a sturdy Schwinn helmet that was not too awful. Good enough to get me through the ride.

Mike put together an excellent writeup of our outing over at Chesapeake Sailor so I’ll leave him to give the details of our day, including the fantastic Severna Park Peleton holiday party later that evening! Felkerino’s photos of the party are here. It was a fine day on the bike and Mike B. is great riding company!

December riding may be cold, but it can also be beautiful. People decorate their homes, barns, and fences. My personal favorite is the wreath on ye olde barn, and I spent a good part of the day trying to get some ride-by shots of the few we passed. Unfortunately, they were either too far away for me to snap a good shot or I was too slow on the draw. This was my best barn with wreath photo:

Mike B. and the festive barn

My full set of pics are over at my flickr site. Felkerino took shots, too, but no flickr sitings of them as of yet.

Righteous Grocery Shopping with the Burley trailer

Sunday, Felkerino and I made it out for another righteous grocery run with the Burley Nomad trailer. That thing is awesome, except that its right wheel kept falling off early in the ride because it was not screwed down tightly enough. That was sort of exciting. We’d ride along and then I’d here this “KRR!” KRRRKKKK” scraping noise and catch a glimpse of Felkerino stopping with the wheel somewhere off in the vicinity. Great.

The second time it happened, a nice passerby picked it up for us, and told Ed that she didn’t want “Santa to lose his sleigh.” Ed and I have been wearing our Santa helmets cover this month, and it’s really engendering some positive feedback.

Felkerino in the Santa hat

How do you make a Santa helmet cover? Go to your nearest Santa hat store, buy a four dollar polyester Santa hat, and yank it down as hard as you can over your helmet. It will either break or eventually fit. Ours both did the latter.

Because they are a thick poly, they get a little hot, making them ideal for either shorter rides or cold December days.

Back to the Burley trailer. We figured out we really had to screw that wheel in tight and the rest of our trip passed uneventfully. We filled up the trailer with three heavy bags of groceries and rode the six miles back home to unload them and revel in how awesome we were to go grocery shopping on our bikes.

Righteous grocery shopping with the Burley

On the return from the grocery store, we passed by Arlington Cemetery, where Wreaths Across America had placed wreaths along the graves.

Arlington National Cemetery. Wreaths Across America: Remember, Honor, and Teach.

It was a lovely weekend of solid training miles (training for what, I’m not sure), errand running, and a little holiday excitement and sight-seeing.

Friday Link Love

Whew! What a fast and busy week. It must be the season, especially that Randonneurmas! Nevertheless, I have a few things to share.

Sunrise at Chesapeake Beach (c) Dan Oldale

  • Red Light Running: Remember last week’s link to a study about Red Light Running? Broads of the Beltway explained her experience and approach to being a cyclist in urban traffic. I can relate.
  • Maid of the Bike: Porta-John found a mysterious D.C. newspaper piece from 1896 called Maid of the Bike. What the back story is, we’ll never know. I’m so glad to see Porta-John sharing this local vintage treasure.
  • Bike touring is the best! I took a virtual journey with While Out Riding as they spent some time in Joshua Tree National Park. What an amazing place. This post made me want to make sure I return there someday, this time with my bicycle.
  • Sometimes bike touring is not the best! I love this reflection from Path Less Pedaled about being in the middle of a coast-to-coast cycling trip and feeling like you don’t want to turn the pedals anymore. What keeps you going?
  • Bike touring IS the best! Give a Bike  just finished their year-long exploration of all 50 states. Pretty amazing. They did a beautiful job of capturing their journey, and I particularly liked the staged state sign photos.

In case you can’t tell, I’d rather be bike touring than bike commuting. For now, though, the commuting and weekend adventures will have to do. Enjoy the weekend, everybody, and try not to eat too many sweets (like I did) at those holiday parties!!

The 12 Days of Randonneurmas

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be dedicating some time to working with my blogging associate, Felkerino, over at The Daily Randonneur.

Only 29 Days to buy Santa’s Cookies!

Felkerino and I are partnering to celebrate the fourth year of Randonneurmas, that holiday time before the holidays where we spotlight twelve of our favorite randonneuring things. Over the years, we’ve begun to develop a fine catalog of Randonneurmas gifts for cyclists and randonneurs.

Randonneurmas can help you select a thoughtful gift for that special cycling someone in your life, and if you ride a bike, why not treat yourself to a Randonneurmas gift, too. Many of the items we feature are less expensive than a tank of gas, more fun than an oil change, and practical for the dedicated cyclist.

Santa hat = Extra festive + extra nice drivers

Randonneurmas isn’t only about buying cycling-related stuff (though that is a part of it, I confess!). It’s also about celebrating the space that randonneuring and cycling holds in your life.

Please check it out, and I hope you enjoy reading the 12 Days of Randonneurmas as much as Felkerino and I enjoy celebrating and featuring it on The Daily Randonneur.

Ahhh… Beautiful December Commutes

As I rode home in the December chill with my hands throbbing and my toes fading to numb, I thought about how much I love winter commuting in D.C. The short days and cold weather combine to noticeably reduce the bike and pedestrian traffic, leaving only the stalwart year-round riders out on the roads and paths.

Today was a gorgeous round trip commute. This morning Felkerino and I went for a pre-work lap around Hains Point and spied one of the bald eagles that hangs out there in the winter. Welcome back.

Serious winter commuters are we

The Lincoln Memorial and the Kennedy Center cast bright reflections into the Potomac River as I rode around this evening. The trails leading out of the  city were quiet, giving me plenty of time to enjoy the clear night.

As I rode along the river I saw the pinhole lights of the planes all neatly lined up to make their descent into National Airport.

The riders I passed or that passed me exhibited politeness and good front and rear illumination. Somebody even smiled at me! I pedaled home via the “new” Maine Avenue, reveling in the smooth new asphalt and the widened sidewalk. I was in bike commute heaven.

Washington, D.C., is a good city for winter commuting. The weather hardly ever makes the roads unrideable, and it is unusual to have perilous road conditions for any significant amount of time. If we get snow, it tends to melt pretty quickly in the city. Yeah, it gets cold, but temperatures rarely sink into or below the ‘teens (I hope I have not jinxed us with that comment).

Organizations like WABA have worked to make D.C. a better place for bike commuting and the District Department of Transportation has responded. That is reflected in some of the areas I ride like Maine Avenue, where the city replaced the 4-foot-wide multi-use sidewalk with a new 14-foot-wide trail. Of course, there is always more to do to make D.C. a cyclists’ paradise (e.g., no cars inside the Beltway), but in the meantime I’ll make do with these tangible bike-friendly improvements to our city.

All that jostled around in my noggin as my nose ran and I cycled my way through the city. And just as my hands stopped throbbing and my feet warmed up, I was home, and I ran inside to write to you about this beautiful day on the bike.

Weekend Bike Rides: Coffeeneuring, Cupcake Commuting, and a Noodle

Congratulations to all the people who ventured out for the decidedly difficult Woodbine Wallop! Something about getting up in the dark in sub-freezing weather and riding 128 miles with 12,000 feet of cumulative climb had me sleeping in on Saturday morning. You all are tough!

Felkerino and I chose more leisurely outings this weekend. Here’s the roundup.

Coffeeneuring with Felkerino

Coffeeneuring and a Miracle on Maine Avenue

Our Saturday took us to Boccato in Old Town, for a coffeeneuring meetup with our friend Lane. I had my first flat white (finally!) and it was incredible. Well done, Boccato. Felkerino and I both rode our Rivendell single speeds, and made our way out of the District via Maine Avenue.

The Maine Avenue reconstruction is nearing completion. It’s a Christmas miracle! Felkerino and I were able to take Maine Avenue both exiting and entering the city.

It’s taken months, but I think this project will actually improve bike commuting in this part of the city. The sidewalk is significantly wider, which has lessened the street real estate, but I’m hoping the narrower street means there will be only one traffic lane, which would leave ample space for cyclists to be on the road, too. Fingers crossed.

New and improved Maine Avenue in SW

Cupcake Commuting at The Sweet Lobby

Later in the day, I made a stop at The Sweet Lobby in Barracks Row to try their cupcakes. It wasn’t enough to coffeeneur. I wanted to cupcake commute, too. I ordered two, one vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing and another that was strawberry. As soon as I saw the box, I knew my cupcakes would be in trouble.

Sweet Lobby cupcake box. High on aesthetic, low on function.

The woman who helped me said that, even if the cupcakes did arrive home in a mess, they would still taste great. I appreciated her honesty, and after purchasing my treats I stuffed them into my Carradice.

Cupcakes in the Carradice. Good luck, buddies.

After a two-mile ride over the bumpy D.C. streets, I opened my box of treasure.

Sweet Lobby Cupcake Commute: One for two.

Strawberry cupcake, disheveled, but still quite edible

Not one to let presentation deter me, I proceeded to snack. The Sweet Lobby lady was right. The cupcakes were rich and satisfying. Feeling generous, I even shared (a little) with Felkerino.

Sunday Noodle Ride to Poolesville, Maryland

Since we only rode 20 miles on Saturday, we had to get out for a longer Sunday ride so I could burn off my Saturday cupcakes. I’m out of practice on these winter rides so Felkerino and I waited until the sun rose and the temperatures were above freezing before venturing out. We met up again with Lane and made our way out for coffee in Potomac and lunch in Poolesville, Maryland.

It was a pretty day to be out. Calm winds, bright sun and blue skies, and temperatures that eventually made it into the forties.

Sunday Ride to Poolesville

During the cooler parts of the ride (e.g., setting off again after having taken a break off the bike), I wore my Santa hat as helmet cover. I got a couple of “Hey, it’s Santa,” comments and felt totally complimented when a little girl told me that she liked my hat.

Our Poolesville noodle was nothing epic, just under 80 miles on familiar roads, but it was a good welcome to winter ride that hopefully toughened us up and acclimated us a little bit to the colder temperatures that I believe are here to stay for a while.