Category Archives: Commute Reflections

Giving Thanks for Bike Rides

Ten years ago I began life as a daily bike rider, after years of mass transit and more driving than I care to remember.

My bike was my tour guide, encouraging me to explore and familiarize myself with the city.

Because of bike rides, I gained physical strength and confidence.

Surly LHT in DC
Surly LHT in DC

Through a friend of a friend I learned about the D.C. Randonneurs, and soon began clipping in with them on brevets and flèche rides.

The D.C. Randonneurs welcomed me, and their bike rides taught me that I was tougher than I knew and could ride more miles in one go than I ever imagined, in weather I previously considered un-rideable.

Trail Ridge Road, Colorado
Trail Ridge Road, Colorado

Because of my daily bike rides and weekend brevets, I began to feel a sense of belonging to the city and a connection to people that I hadn’t had during my initial years residing in Washington, D.C.

It was thanks to a bike ride– ten years ago– that I met my tandem and life partner, Felkerino. We rode 100 miles on our first date (my first time on a tandem), and we just kept on riding together.

Our bike rides have taken us to places I never imagined seeing, at least not from the perch of my saddle.

Igor and Felkerino at the Philly BIke Expo
Igor and Felkerino at the Philly BIke Expo

Through my daily rides in the city, I began meeting other local cyclists. I’ve shared good bike talk, friend talk, Friday Coffee Clubs, and miles of pedaling along with good #BikeDC friends.

Eunice and me: coffeeneuring
Eunice and me. #BikeDC meets #BikeNC through bikes rides and coffeeneuring

My bike rides inspired me to begin this blog and, later, to launch the Coffeeneuring Challenge and the Errandonnee.

These events, which are all about using your bike to go places, led the way for me to connect virtually with other bike riders, some of whom I have had the unexpected good fortune to meet in real life.

Self-confidence, fitness, friendship, camaraderie, laughs, and true love. I found them all through bike rides.

Potts Mountain, Virginia
Potts Mountain, Virginia

Happy Thanksgiving, bike rider buddies.

Hard Reset

I came over to this computer intending to write a Coffeeneuring Challenge update (entries due this Monday!), but instead I’m pondering other matters– small changes in my own life that have altered my daily routine and energy levels for the past few months.

One month ago– though it feels longer– I completed my second marathon of October, the Marine Corps Marathon. It was a stimulating event that turned out to tip my emotions and fitness into unexpected fatigue. I lost most of my enthusiasm for riding and running, and ate too much during the lull.

I fell out of balance, which sometimes happens to me after a period of intense activity.

In addition to post-marathon tireds, I had been interviewing for a new professional opportunity– turns out I can’t be a professional blogger and coffeeneur after all– and wasn’t aware of the ways this self-imposed pressure and commitment eats away personal energy.

Scheduling time for interviews, packaging and presenting one’s professional self to new people, the nerves before and after meetings– these all overlaid my daily routine for at least a couple of months.

Won't be taking this commute route much longer.
Won’t be taking this commute route much longer.

I’m now across the finish line of many goals I set this year: full Super Randonneur series; one spring marathon and two fall marathons, including one that I bookended with a mini-bike tour; a two-week Colorado bike tour; a 1000K brevet; and securing a new job. Invigorating and satisfying, yet tiring at times.

While not the most active person, the pursuit and accomplishment of these various endeavors wore steadily on me. Looking back, I know I could have done things to keep myself running a little better, but it’s ironic how losing one’s balance can create a situation where healthy choices about things like diet and sleep are not made. Instead I thrash unsteadily about, grind my teeth, munch on junk, and sleep poorly.

This week I’ve been working my way back to improved equilibrium, particularly as it relates to my food and sleep habits, and I’m feeling better.

I’m packing up my office, saying farewell to my current routine, and looking ahead to a new job and a different commute. I’m reading the rumblings that have begun about Paris-Brest-Paris, and I’m trying to figure out how I can make that happen in 2015.

I had so many programs running at once that a system crash was inevitable. Fortunately, I saved all my work so I can calmly drink a cup of coffee while the hard reset happens. To get everything going again will take effort and yeah, I’m a bit nervous, but also ready. I’m ready for change and this hard reset.

Thanks for reading. We now return to our regular schedule of coffeeneuring activities.

Chasing Mailboxes: The Pursuit of Something More

Where does your energy go? What do you choose to pursue? Does each day pass in a blur of routine, or do you save a sliver of time to wonder about the existence of something deeper? You don’t know what the something deeper is, exactly, and you are not convinced it is a thing.

You hold onto an optimistic belief that if you go out in the world, if you work out, read more, eat better, if you try and stretch yourself in some way, eventually you will find it. Your personal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The sense that your something deeper is out there helps you wake up each day.

Continue reading Chasing Mailboxes: The Pursuit of Something More

Bicycle as Escape

I never seem to tire of writing about bicycles. I love talking about them, dreaming about my next bike trip, figuring out the perfect bike commute setup, pondering the ins and outs of randonneuring… you get the idea.

This love of riding bikes led me to start Chasing Mailboxes. I was searching for an outlet to write more creatively, compared to the technical writing and editing I do in my work, and wanted to focus on a topic that I felt passionately about, but was not overly intimate.

Chasing Mailboxes is a platform to diary the sensations experienced while cycling. These may include moments of discomfort, jubilation, frustration, or even self-doubt. It’s remarkable how the simple act of riding a bicycle can serve as a petri dish for so many physical and emotional states. Continue reading Bicycle as Escape

“Bikes” All The Go: From 1904 to 2014

Two weeks ago, I attended “Pedaling Through History: A Look at Cycling Collections Across the Library of Congress,” a one-day exhibit at the Library of Congress. I learned about it via Rambling Rider so hat tip to her and all those fancy things people say.

Lady Cyclers

“Pedaling Through History” was a compact display full of ye olde treasure. Photos, illustrations, books, letters, sheet music, newspaper articles, trade publications, maps featuring bicycle-friendly routes, and movie clips  were some of the items shown. Continue reading “Bikes” All The Go: From 1904 to 2014

Washington, D.C. Bike Commute Scrapbook

Morning ride to American University. Many nice plants here.
Morning ride to American University. Many nice plants here.

What a week. Four sparkling summer days, top notch training, and a ride along with a friend on a couple of days, too. I celebrated the end of my Bike Friday Tikit field trips to Northwest D.C. with a photo safari on today’s ride home, in part to stretch out my time in the afternoon sun and also to remind me why I should travel this way again soon. Continue reading Washington, D.C. Bike Commute Scrapbook

@SharrowsDC Ride Along in #BikeDC

Photo by Felkerino
Photo by Felkerino

As a child, I spent part of my summer days taking swimming lessons. My sister and I would walk with Jeff, the neighbor boy, to the bus that would take us to our swimming lessons in the town seven miles down the road.

I did not like swimming lessons, but I enjoyed the walk to and from the bus. Jeff, Middle Gersemalina, and I would chat about the things little kids do and there was no hurry to get home, except that nagging hunger that often comes post-swimming.

The past two days Brian, aka @sharrowsDC, and I have commuted home together because I happen to be spending a few days in his neck of the work woods. Our rides reminded me of those walks home after swimming lessons. Relaxed and easy, a time to unwind after hours of doing something more structured. Continue reading @SharrowsDC Ride Along in #BikeDC

It’s The Worst Thing In The World…

To be a driver behind a cyclist.

image

Today is a bike tour rest day for Felkerino and me, and it coincided perfectly with an op-ed blowup in the Washington Post, which I am disappointed to admit is also my local paper. Continue reading It’s The Worst Thing In The World…