Randonnesia Strikes on the Mother of All 300Ks

“We’re too blessed to be depressed,” a church sign at mile 70 read. Our riding group of three shared a chuckle. We had just climbed Wolf Gap, Mill Gap, and were en route to more gaps and roads with words like “church” and “mountain” in their names. The path ahead gave us pause. Continue reading Randonnesia Strikes on the Mother of All 300Ks

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Women BikeDC With Jackie N. Bike to Live! Part 2

We’re back for the second part of the Women BikeDC interview with Jackie N. of Capitol Hill. Did you miss Part 1? Don’t worry, you can find it here.

Today’s questions cover what it’s like to be a woman who rides, and we also talk about the Jackie’s bikes as well her favorite gear.

What do you think prevents women from riding a bike? Continue reading Women BikeDC With Jackie N. Bike to Live! Part 2

Women BikeDC With Jackie N. Bike to Live! Part 1

This week I’m launching a new set of interviews featuring some of the women who live and ride in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Women BikeDC series delves into the experiences and perspectives of women who ride around the Washington, D.C., area and explores how the city can improve as a cycling-friendly environment. While bicycles are not exactly the focus of these conversations, there is also some discussion of bikes and gear.

Because the interviews cover such a variety of areas, I’ve divided each of them into two parts.

Our first Women BikeDC interview is with Jackie N., an avid mountain biker and transportation cyclist who currently resides in Capitol Hill. Thank you, Jackie, for leading off our series and for sharing your cycling story with us.


Tell me a little about yourself and when you started riding. Continue reading Women BikeDC With Jackie N. Bike to Live! Part 1

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CycleStuff, Father Christmas Doesn’t Do Drops. A father-daughter chat on a bike ride.
Self-Deprecation and the Female Cyclist. Machines for Freedom writes about why women cyclists put themselves down and how it can affect their riding.
Ironjen and Muskrat, Our Walk in the Woods. A formerly D.C.-based couple who also ride bikes are tackling the Appalachian Trail this year. They just made it through Georgia.

Shadow heart and Quickbeam

Do What You Love? Urban Adventure League considers the way his work at a hostel in Portland has changed over the years in light of the emergence of alternate forms of lodging, and ponders what’s next.
Semi-Rad shares 11 Truths About Riding Bicycles.
Ghost Bikes. Mashable remembers riders we’ve lost.

What’s Your Favorite Brevet Distance?

Four years ago, I interviewed 12 randonneurs from different parts of the country about randonneuring. One of the questions I asked them was, “What is your favorite distance of the Super Randonneur series (200, 300, 400, 600K) and why?”

With this year’s Super Randonneur series in full swing, I’ve been pondering this question again in my own mind and took a new look at their responses. Continue reading What’s Your Favorite Brevet Distance?

Week Three of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.

Bicycling is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in a city. As riders, we easily exchange hellos with others on our route. We feel the bumps of the road, see flowers bloom and fall, and watch the waves of people (and buses, did I mention buses?) come and go through the District.

Thanks to everybody who has been following along with this year’s 30 Days of Biking photo and poetry project. April rides have been so rewarding, allowing me to seek out both new and familiar writers while also exploring my city.

Last year, 30 Days of Biking helped renew my interest in urban cycling, and that  carried through into this year. The city is such a dynamic place, changing under our noses if we pay any attention.

Day 15
Bells. A time to turn
for home. But now you
pretend to listen to a
piano in the window of
the music store. Songs
shine at the corners of
your eyes. Whether to
turn another corner is
the sadness.
–Donald W. Baker, Waiting
Day 16


Hoy viene a mi la damisela soledad
con pamela, impertinentes y botón
de amapola en el oleaje de sus vuelos.
Hoy la voluble señorita es amistad
y acaricia finalmente el corazón
con su más delgado pétalo de hielo.
Por eso hoy
gentilmente te convido a pasear
por el patio, hasta el florido pabellón
de aquel árbol que plantaron los abuelos.
Hoy el ensueño es como el musgo en el brocal
dibujando los abismos de un amor
melancólico, sutil, pálido cielo.
–Silvio Rodríguez, Oh Melancolía
Day 17


although he had no sense of being on a journey,
such memories made him realize how far he had
traveled, which, in turn, made him ask how he
would look back on the person he was now, this
person who seemed so substantial. These images, it
was like looking at a book of old photographs,
recognizing a forehead, the narrow chin, and
perhaps recalling the story of an older second
cousin, how he had left long ago to try his luck in
Argentina or Australia. And he saw that he was
becoming like such a person, that the day might
arrive when he would look back on his present self
as on a distant relative who had drifted off into
uncharted lands.
–Stephen Dobyns, [Over a cup of coffee]
Day 18
Slowly, slowly wisdom gathers:
Golden dust in the afternoon,
Somewhere between the sun and me,
Sometimes so near that I can see,
Yet never settling, late or soon.
Would that it did, and a rug of gold
Spread west of me a mile or more:
Not large, but so that I might lie
Face up, between the earth and sky,
And know what none has known before.
–Mark Van Doren, Slowly, Slowly Wisdom Gathers
Day 19


I am dying to be written about in your diary
and my self-involvement extends to endless
photographs of my eye makeup, which might be described
as “signature.” FYI I prefer a fine brush to a pen.
What can be said about slush, about the corners cut when cleaning
the fridge. What can be said about what is considered
to be ordinary. Crucially, love is a desire
to be a witness and be witnessed, how you might skate
past the provisional. If the house were burning down
I would rescue all the photographs
–Amy Key, Announcement and Next Steps
Day 20


The song is drink, is color. Come now, taste
what the world has to offer. When you eat
you will know that music comes in guises—
bold of crepe myrtle, sweet of daffodil—
beyond sound, guises they never told you
could be true. And they aren’t. Except they are
so real now, this spring, you know them, taste them.
–Camille T. Dungy, What to Eat, What to Drink, and What to Leave for Poison
Day 21


Did I say I was a creature
of habit?
I meant the opposite.
I meant behavior
is a pile of clothes
I might or might not wear.
Before all the sowing and reaping
could go on for centuries,
before the calendar,
I must have been convinced
that my movements
were both mandated
and blessed.
–Rae Armantrout, Life’s Work

Experience: a Randonneur’s Frenemy

This weekend, Felkerino and I rode our first official brevet of 2015, the D.C. Randonneurs 300K out of Frederick, Maryland. I was feeling pretty lackluster about the whole thing, but the forecast indicated spectacular conditions, leaving us no excuses to skip out on a ride in the countryside with rando buddies. Continue reading Experience: a Randonneur’s Frenemy


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