While it’s true that special clothing is not required for riding a bicycle, sometimes a particular article of clothing can make a ride that much better, especially a long ride like a brevet or fleche.
During Team Table for Five’s fleche ride last month, one of my teammates and I got to talking about what we had chosen to wear on our ride. We kept referring to our wardrobe choices as clothes we reserved for “special rides.”
It’s a great time to be a cyclist in D.C. The city has a flourishing Capital Bikeshare program, bike lanes are being installed in various parts of the city, and Metro’s prices have gone up so much that commuting seems like a prudent thing to do.
But that’s not all. Twitter and the local blogs are bonding the D.C. commute and cycling community together more than ever before.
Let’s take our friend and tweep, @sharrowsDC (aka Brian). How many of you have seen this guy, read his blog, followed his tweets, or noticed his buttons around town? Of course you have!
This past Friday, the D.C. area celebrated Bike to Work Day. We had perfect sunny weather and only a hint of cool air in the morning so lots and lots of people (over 12,000, according to some reports) took advantage of the bike holiday. I don’t know how those numbers compare to the regular commute crowd, but it seems reasonable to say that a sponsored Bike to Work Day draws a lot more people than a regular bike to work day.
For the past month or so, the National Park Service has kindly placed a brightly lit sign on the northeast side of Potomac Park (by Hains Point) that “encourages” cyclists to stop at intersections.
Specifically it says this:
“Bicyclists must obey traffic LAWS.”
For a while, the Park Police were stopping cyclists who rode through the stops without even pausing or putting a foot down, but it seems they’ve now taken a break from that and left the sign as the primary reminder.
I was not too annoyed with this sign at first. It’s probably a good reminder to cyclists that we should be taking care at intersections. However, the longer the sign has sat there, the more irritated I’ve become.
The past couple of days I’ve made sure to carry or wear those essential items I want to have on hand for rainy days. One of the most basic things I make sure to carry is my rain jacket.
The rain jacket that has kept me dry and comfy in dreary weather over the past few years of riding is my Gore Tex Path Paclite jacket, made by Gore Bike Wear. I’ve used it in downpours, steady rain, and the occasional shower.
The past two weekends, Felkerino and I put the brevet cards aside to enjoy some excellent training rides. As you may know, I like to qualify weekend non-brevet cycling as “training.” It’s like a doctor’s note that excuses me from my household responsibilities.
While lots of people laud the greatness of flat pedals, I’m not normally a flat pedals person. I love riding with SPD pedals. The bright snap they make as I clip in, pulling up on the pedal stroke, and the little tick on the pavement when I dismount and walk purposefully to my final destination. I love it.
Usually I wear Sidi’s as my cycling footwear of choice, but when it comes to spring and warm summer days, I like to wear more ventilated shoes. Otherwise, my feet get SO HOT!
Last summer, I picked up a pair of the Keen Commuter Cycling Sandals and have since been using them regularly as my spring and summer commuting footwear.
Since 2009, I’ve regularly carried a camera with me. Like the other essentials in my purse/pannier, I never know when I might need it.
Seeing Bill Beck (king of the randopaparazzi!) and Felkerino‘s ride photos inspired me to start taking my own camera on brevets and other rides. Yes, Felkerino and I are regularly on the same bike, but the way we see and photo the ride often varies.
For example, Felkerino is good about getting pre-ride shots. I’m happy to just be awake and upright before a ride begins. He also loves the brevet panda. I consider it one of his signature shots. See Exhibit A.