It’s been a dramatic couple of days here. High winds, rain, and perpetual monitoring of the Weather Channel with one eye while looking apprehensively out the window with the other as tropical storm Sandy pelted our region.
Fortunately, the area where I reside did not lose power and damage to our immediate area does not appear to be too bad.
As I’ve been reading through the tweets and blogs, I see that even though everybody has to follow the same 15 rules to be an official finisher, people have still customized the challenge and their coffeeneuring rides.
Seldom does a commute not involve some kind of trade-off. Bike commuters are often dealing with compromises, and my sense of safety is often one of those.
Take yesterday, for example. I had to run an errand out in Bethesda. The first half of it had to be via car (Booooo. That’s a compromise already!). However, the second half of the errand I was able to use my bike. So bike I did.
I had two route options for my return trip back into the District of Columbia from Bethesda, Maryland.
1. Take Capital Crescent Trail to the trail by the Kennedy Center (almost ten miles car-free!) and home; or
2. Ride Massachusetts Avenue (a main road in D.C.) back to Adams Morgan and home.
At first, it seems like a no-brainer. Take the Capital Crescent Trail!
Not so fast. I began my return trip at 8:30 at night. That changes things.
With the shades of fall intensely pulsing through our area, Felkerino and I decided we better get out for a good autumn ride before showers or windy days wrested the brilliant leaves from the trees.
We looked at the Saturday forecast, which indicated overnight temperatures would not be bitingly cold. Sun was also predicted, with the day warming from mid-40s up to the mid-60s.
That’s my kind of fall riding! Felkerino convinced a couple of friends to join us and we spent the day riding the dirt roads around the Middleburg, Virginia, area. It was a great reprieve from the pavement and a rare treat to ride enveloped in the peak of autumn’s colors.
Most days, riding my bike is one of the most pleasurable activities of my day. Fresh air, exercise, breeze on my face, and pride in my mode of transport abound.
Every once in a while, though, something happens to disrupt these moments of reverie. Like yesterday, for example, when I was riding to dinner with a couple of friends. We approached a stoplight and a driver rolled down the window of his car to yell out, “Get on the sidewalk!”
Upon hearing these words, righteous indignation coursed through my body. It enraged me to hear a driver advise me to “Get on the sidewalk!” when we have just as much right to be on the road as he does.
Today I’m talking commute basics, as somebody recently asked me what to keep in mind when making the transition to bike commuting. It took me back to when I dusted off my old Ross mountain bike and said to myself, “Metro no more. I’m going to make this bike commute thing happen.” Happily, it wasn’t a tough transition to make, but it was a change to my personal transportation system that took time to refine and become routine.
Now that I’ve adjusted, it’s hard to imagine a time when I relied on metro or car more than my bicycle as my primary form of transportation.
For those considering bike commuting, this post discusses the the basic gear I purchased and the adaptations I made to bike commute. Everyone develops their own systems over time, and this is my basic rundown.