I had minor surgery, which sidelined me for 3 weeks. Today was my first day back on “Sweet Baby” (my Surly Crosscheck) since riding off–road with the guys back in late-November.
I recently bought an Adidas windstopper outershell with a hood that accommodates a helmet. I was excited to road test it. I get cold easily so I had on a short sleeve base layer, my long sleeve Black Women Bike Jersey and my new outershell. I forgot my gloves. I was freezing during the walk from my condo to my bike, so I was a little concerned I didn’t have on enough layers.
My trip started from home. I rode Pennyslvania Ave SE towards the Sousa Bridge. DDOT was repaving the I-295 N on-ramp from Pennsylvania Ave SE, which backed up westbound traffic all the way to 30th St SE. I flew passed the cars and buses. Going across the bridge, the eastbound traffic was backed up as far as the eye could see. Oh well, not my problem. By the time I got to the Bridge, I was nice an toasty in my new fancy coat.
I cut across Barney Circle to hop on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail west bank, or whatever DDOT is calling it these days. Passed a big man (like 6’3’, 250 lbs) walking with a little dog (a terrier or something like that). The contrast made me laugh. From the trail I cut across the RFK Parking lot , then took the right lane on Benning Road NE westbound like I owned it. Made the right on 17th St and headed down to Bladensburg Road.
After making the right on Bladensburg Road NE, I took right travel lane like I had balls of steel. At some point reality hit me that I don’t have balls and no parts of me are made of steel, so I got my hindparts on the sidewalk. DDOT really needs to make the sidewalks on Bladensburg wider. When I got to the bridge passed New York Ave, there was no room for my bike and me around a utility pole in the sidewalk.
From Bladensburg I made the left up Queens Chapel Road. I thought Ward 7 had hills. Good grief. “Fortunately” it’s a short (yet steep) hill. I was burning up by the time I got to the top. I took 22nd to Franklin St to Mills St NE. By the time I got to the top of Mills at Rhode Island Ave NE I had to unzip the pits of my coat to get some cool air. I arrived at WACIF (Washington Area Community Investment Fund) to handle some paperwork for the business. Since there are no bike racks outside of WACIF, “Sweet Baby” chilled in the lobby.
Next stop was a on-site meeting for a project at 12th and Varnum St NE. It was a pretty quick ride up 22nd St to South Dakota to Taylor to 12th to Varnum St NE. I rode to the right on the road, but gave myself 3 feet from the parked cars. The motorists were patient and some even gave me a friendly wave. I passed a few pedestrians who wished me “Merry Christmas”. One older lady on 12th St NE said she was praying for me.
After my meeting I headed over to The Big Hunt on Connecticut Ave to meet with the New Belgium Brewing Company Tour de Fat Car Traders (say that 5 times fast) from Durham and Boise. A side note, I got “Sweet Baby” by trading in my car at the inaugural DC Tour de Fat in June of this year. From 12th and Varnum St NE, I took 12th to Taylor St NE. I went east on Taylor up a LONG. STEEP. HILL. I made it about half way before I got off to walk the bike up the hill. That hill is so steep even walking was making my calves tight. When I got to the top I needed a water and oxygen break. Riding down the hill on Harewood made going up Taylor worth the effort. Took Michigan across to Columbia Rd NW. Why doesn’t Columbia Rd NW have bike lanes? Anywho.
I made the left on 11th St and was happy to have bike lanes for the first time in my cross city trek. At the intersection of 11th and Harvard a cyclist shoaled me. He then proceeded to run all the lights on 11th St. At Florida a second cyclists shoaled me. I checked my back to make sure someone didn’t put a “Shoal Me” note on my back. I abided by all the traffic laws while they both weaved through intersection. I caught up to BOTH of them at 11th and S St NW. They put their life in danger for no reason.
Took S Street to 15th St cycle track. I road 15th St down to R St. The southbound lane was full of leaves and clay-like mud. Who’s responsible for keeping the cycle tracks clean? I took R Street to Connecticut Ave NW. In my second crazy move for the day I rode down Connecticut. Instead of going around the circle I biked through it to my destination on the south side.
After a beer with my fellow car-traders it was time to head home. I have no idea of the exact route, but I ended up in the L St cycle track. This was my first time riding it and I have mixed emotions. I like the dedicated lane for cyclists, however, there is something slightly unnerving about being on the left of the cars. I wasn’t scared (because I have balls of steel… oh yeah… I don’t), but I’d prefer to be on the right of the cars. I took the L St cycle track to 15th St cycle track to Pennsylvania Ave cycle track. On Pennsylvania Ave I encountered 3 cyclists: 1 salmon, and 2 ninjas. One of the ninjas ran the light and almost got wiped out by a tour bus. You would think he learned his lesson, right? Nope. He ran the light at 9th St too.
When I got to 7th St and Pennsylvania Ave NW there was a 36 bus in the distance. I figured I had biked the good fight for the day, so why not take the bus the rest of the way home. I put “Sweet Baby” on the front of the bus, patted myself on the back for a great ride, and enjoyed my warm surroundings. That is, until we got to Pennsylvania and 6th St SE. Traffic came to a halt. It took us 10 minutes to go from 6th St to 8th St SE. Seeing only break lights, I decided to say goodbye to the warm bus and bike the rest of the way home.
I passed 7 buses from Eastern Market to the Sousa Bridge. Once I got to the bridge I figured I’d beat all the buses to the top of the hill. I biked up Pennsylvania Ave SE eastbound S L O W L Y. The 39, the bus I passed that was the furthest east, beat me to the top of the hill by 30 seconds. My neighbor who was on the 39 bus that was right in front of the 36 bus that I was on got home 30 minutes after me.
According to googlemaps, my total bike excursion was 20 miles (this doesn’t include the bus leg of my trip). My legs hate me right now. I’m thinking bubble bath and a good night sleep is in order.