Why Bike to Work Day Matters

I used to grumble about Bike to Work Day. “People don’t need a special day to ride their bikes. Every day you work could be bike to work day,” I would self-righteously think. “Bike to Work Day? You mean, Friday?”

My feelings about bike commuting were somewhat in the realm of  “Back in my day, I  walked to school in five-feet high snow drifts wearing sandals, and I liked it!” Silliness. Continue reading “Why Bike to Work Day Matters”

Tulipmania

I suspected that I’d experience post-flèche fallout, and over the last two weeks I’ve been proven right. The energy expended from 24 straight hours without sleep, 232 miles of pedaling over sawtooth terrain from Pittsburgh to D.C., and rough overnight conditions complete with snow squalls took their toll on my body. Continue reading “Tulipmania”

Kidical Riding All Year Long: Freezing Saddles with Justin and Kid-D

I love showing KidD the sights, sounds, smells, and richness of the city by bike – and winter is no different. We see the huge Christmas wreaths at Union Station, we watch the daffodils come up by the Senate Park, and we see the water freeze “into ice!” at the Capitol Grounds. We learn to love tailwinds on the way home. We sing songs.

As we watch the world cruise by at 8 mph, KidD is a constant stream of vocabulary, naming colors, kinds of trucks, “doggies wearing coats,” and birds. Most importantly, we always arrive at our destination more awake and energized than when we left.
–Justin

Bicycling is for everyone, from kids to grownups, and the final installment of the Freezing Saddles series features the family bike riding duo of Justin and his two-and-a-half year old son, KidD. Continue reading “Kidical Riding All Year Long: Freezing Saddles with Justin and Kid-D”

On Beer Can Koozie Ear Warmers and Other Freezing Saddles Secrets: Winter Cycling with Kate

It is our secret that riding is so much more fun, and probably faster and less stressful than the alternatives! And that doesn’t even account for all the great winter days, when the sun is shining on the sparkly snow, or there is a fabulous sunset over the river, or a big moon rises as you pedal uphill to home. You don’t get to see … Continue reading On Beer Can Koozie Ear Warmers and Other Freezing Saddles Secrets: Winter Cycling with Kate

Peaceful, Meditative, Beautiful: Freezing Saddles with Ian

The colder it gets means fewer people are out on the paths and it can be incredibly peaceful. Imagine riding an empty bike trail on a cold morning as the sun rises right behind you. How can you have a bad day, when your days starts out like that?
Ian

Freezing Saddles rider and fellow year-round commuter, Ian, captures one of my favorite aspects of winter riding – the personal space gained, if only for a brief window of time. Continue reading “Peaceful, Meditative, Beautiful: Freezing Saddles with Ian”

Ready for Spring, But In the Meantime: A Freezing Saddles Chat With Lisa S.

Snow falls outside my window, coinciding perfectly with another Freezing Saddles & Winter Cycling talk with my friend Lisa S.

I met Lisa many years ago now, through randonneuring. We also used to be neighbors in the city for a time, but Lisa relocated so that she could have a longer commute. Okay, not for that, but as a result of moving, her commute IS longer!

Thanks so much, Lisa, for talking Freezing Saddles and winter cycling with me today. Tell me a little about your riding.

Continue reading “Ready for Spring, But In the Meantime: A Freezing Saddles Chat With Lisa S.”

From BikeDC to Missoula, MT: Freezing Saddles with Emma W.

One of the reasons I became interested in Freezing Saddles was thanks to all the posts of support made by Emma W. – who I interviewed this summer for my Women BikeDC series – on the Women & Bicycles Facebook group. She first exposed me to the idea that Freezing Saddles might embrace a larger group of riders than I initially thought.

Emma has since moved away from BikeDC, but she continues to participate in the Freezing Saddles challenge from her new home in Missoula. That’s right. The Missoula in Montana, a place that delivers winters distinct to those we usually experience in D.C. Continue reading “From BikeDC to Missoula, MT: Freezing Saddles with Emma W.”

Easier Than You Think! Freezing Saddles & Winter Cycling with Eric B.

The Freezing Saddles series rolls on with Eric – an astrophysicist, creator of 3-D-printer prosthetic hands, and of course, cyclist.

A fellow teammate of mine in the Bike Arlington Freezing Saddles competition, Eric says one of the keys to winter riding success is in keeping the hands and toes toasty. (He’s still working on a system for the toes so feel free to offer suggestions!)  Continue reading “Easier Than You Think! Freezing Saddles & Winter Cycling with Eric B.”

Winter Riding? Just Do It! A Freezing Saddles Talk with Caleb

As roads in the area continue to clear and forecasts indicate even more melting in the coming days, we’re back with another Freezing Saddles talk. Today’s edition features Caleb, a Friday Coffee Club regular who lives in Maryland and rides daily into the District– all year round.

Caleb is a proponent of the Keep It Simple Stupid principle for riding through the winter and, like Carol, includes helpful gear and bike tips for making winter it all work. Continue reading “Winter Riding? Just Do It! A Freezing Saddles Talk with Caleb”

What’s Stopping You? A Freezing Saddles Talk with Carol C.

As Washington, D.C. continues its major dig out from the weekend Snowzilla/MakeWinterGreatAgain storm (yeah, I know it’s not like this other places, believe me I know), I’m kicking off a new interview series about winter riding and the D.C.-area’s Freezing Saddles competition. I’m participating for the first time, and I wrote about that here.

My first interview is with Carol, who is also my Freezing Saddles teammate (Team 4: The Fourth Awakens!). Carol is a long-time transportation cyclist who rides year round and is participating in the Freezing Saddles competition for the third time. Thank you so much, Carol, for sharing your knowledge with us, and for starting us off. Continue reading “What’s Stopping You? A Freezing Saddles Talk with Carol C.”

New Year, New Me: Freezing Saddles

At the encouragement of my randonneur and real life spouse, I signed up for a D.C.-area winter cycling challenge called Freezing Saddles. Now in its fourth or fifth year, Freezing Saddles has woven itself into the fabric of the local cycling community, such that it feels like it has always been here.

The challenge began on January 1 and runs until the first day of spring on March 20– one of my favorite days! All participants are divided into teams of around 10 or so people. The full set of rules is here, and a shorter summary follows below: Continue reading “New Year, New Me: Freezing Saddles”

Hilly Billy Roubaix 2015 on Tandem: Operation Lump of Coal

Over the last three years, I have developed a hopeless crush on the Hilly Billy Roubaix. This 72-mile ride over unpaved state roads out of Morgantown, West Virginia, raises my heart rate and heightens my senses. Despite muddy roads and unrelenting steep gravel climbs and descents, I can’t stay away. Continue reading “Hilly Billy Roubaix 2015 on Tandem: Operation Lump of Coal”

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

Over the past month, I engaged in a personal challenge to ride my bike each day, take at least one picture during my ride, and find a poem that somehow encapsulated the day.

Poetry has always held a special place for me, but over the years our relationship became distant. I saw it as extra, even pretentious, and my reading shifted to consist mostly of non-fiction prose.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I pledged to 30 Days of Biking this month because it reminds me to see the novelty in the familiar routes I travel in Washington, D.C. I’m not a photographer, but over the years I have enjoyed having a camera at the ready to capture moments by bike. The bicycle is a lovely muse, and the flowering city in April a spectacular backdrop. Continue reading “Final Week of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.”

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

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

Day 8

Day 8 Capital Bikeshare

How it is fickle, leaving one alone to wander

the halls of the skull with the fluorescents
softly flickering. It rests on the head

like a bird nest, woven of twigs and tinsel
and awkward as soon as one stops to look.
That pile of fallen leaves drifting from

the brain to the fingertip burned on the stove,

to the grooves in that man’s voice
as he coos to his dog, blowing into the leaves

of books with moonlit opossums
and Chevrolets easing down the roads
of one’s bones.

–Joanie Mackowski, Consciousness Continue reading “Week Two of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.”