Almost two weeks have passed since Felkerino and I were last turning our tandem wheels through Idaho and Montana. This bike tour, combined with my recent work travels, really helped me appreciate my Washington, D.C., home.
The District is bikeable and diverse. Career prospects are good. Over the last decade more and more people have moved into the city proper, and chosen bikes as their main form of transport.
This has led to improved bike infrastructure (not perfect, but better!) and provided opportunities for local businesses and restaurants who can cater to these residents. Travels have taught me that this is not a given in all places.
Usually I end our summer bike tours with a sense of sadness or a wish that life on the road would continue, but not this time. Unlike past trips, I thought our tour lasted just long enough and I welcomed the return to life in the District.
While for some, life inside the Beltway is a subject of constant grousing, I’ve realized that D.C. has become a comfortable home base for Felkerino and me.
The readily available resources within walking and cycling distance spoil me, and sleeping in my own bed and 24-hour access to a washing machine have been a real treat. Life here is good.
I miss aspects of the road, though. My windowless office brings a longing for the outdoors, and the bright sun’s rays on my cheeks and neck. I miss the gradual rise of daily temperatures and the freedom of sweating up and not wearing deodorant.
I love that dusty sweaty odor that builds up on my body and absorbs into my clothing over a full day of riding. It’s refreshing to breathe in the smell of a day outside, the scent of physical effort.
During our bike tour, every site was new. It takes energy to always be wandering through new terrain, but it’s also exciting. We began many days in rural areas. Now it’s a 30-mile ride from the built-up city to the countryside, and almost all of the paths between here and there are familiar.
Mostly, I miss riding our tandem on the open road. For now, we’ve ditched our minimalist touring setup for full commute panniers and short rides here and there. We’re tending to business like the flat tire on the Quickbeam that I kept procrastinating (thanks for that, Felkerino).
Oh, and planning future tour. We’re doing that too. I tend to drift into the post-tour funk, but Felkerino wards it off by thinking ahead. He likes to keep the anticipation of the open road within reach. I married a dreamer, which is a good antidote for the unexpected post-tour letdown.