Top of the Town

I’ve been meaning to write you about my new daily escape through the city – from the lowest part of D.C. to the top of the town. It’s a 7.5-mile contraflow endeavor that takes me out of the heart of the city to a residential tentacle.

Since beginning this commute, I’ve felt a novel joy about morning city riding. On occasion, I’ll spontaneously start singing to myself, blissfully thankful for the daily ride up quiet streets.

The first time it happened I caught myself and laughed. What is this joy about a morning ride to work? Last year at this time, my commute often seemed its own kind of tedious labor.

My new ride includes a steady 3-plus mile ascent from Georgetown to parts near American University. After I learned that this would be my new daily route, envisioning riding it every day seemed a daunting prospect. Felkerino looked at me when I shared my doubts. “You ride your bike everywhere, Mary.”

So of course, I ride my bike up the hill. I love the hill, I hate the hill. To date, it’s never effortless to reach the top of this hill, but in the end, I love the hill.

It teaches me persistence. Keep pedaling, you can do it. Every day it teaches me patience. Keep pedaling, you’ll get there. Every day I learn a little more about my own strength. Keep pedaling, you’ll be a different rider over time.

The ride to the top of the town isn’t terribly long, but its distance is enough to lift me away from troubles of the day. It draws my focus inward – to my hands on the bars and to the occasional flip of the bar ends. My quads and hips engage, and I sense the changes in my breath as the hill continues to rise.

The city’s form lays out beneath my wheels. “I am this tall,” it says to me. Yes, I see. I feel how tall you are.

I’ve been meaning to to write you about this personally significant – yet generally inconsequential – development.

My top of the town rides re-energized my fitness, rekindled my affection for moving about the city on two wheels, and renewed my love for the bike.


  1. you inspire me. i just traded in my jamis bicycle for a KHS trike, as my balance has been horrible and my knee strength even more horrible, both, since meniscus surgery in december. i’m having such difficulty pedaling, i feel discouraged. but you say, keep pedaling. i trust you. i believe your words.


  2. Nice post! Also nice to see another Bike Friday Tikit being put to good use. I still love mine (though I do also now own a Brompton) and was sad to hear they discontinued them earlier this year.


  3. Great post. Inspires me to get out there and ride. However, I work at home, so there will be no bike commuting. Thanks for sharing. Be careful and keep pedaling .


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