Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Deer in December!

I was biking home one night recently. I was using a new bike light (handlebar mounted), due to my NiteRider light having been sent in for repair. The new bike light is bright enough (though not as bright as the NiteRider light). The one advantage of my other light is that it is mounted on my helmet, so wherever I turn my head, light shines on whatever I need to see. One time last winter, I heard some rustling in the leaves on my left. I turned my head, and my headlight showed a beautiful red fox running across an open area in the park I was riding through.

The bike path I ride on parallels the George Washington Parkway. On this particular night, I'm riding along, and all of a sudden I hear clopping of HOOVES on the pavement! It took me a second to figure out what the hooves could be....and then I realized it was DEER hooves, and it was coming in my direction! I hit the brakes because I didn't know if the deer was going to see me or not, and I surely did not want to be broadsided! A second later, a big deer stood about 20 feet in front of me and stared at me and my headlight. Then it turned and leaped away into the darkness. I sighed a sigh of relief, knowing both he and I had been spared getting hit. Sure did give me a slight heart attack though!

(P.S. I didn't take the picture above - just found it on the internet to attach to my story.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I saw this dead fella on my way to work the other day - right in the middle of the path. Big sucker, ain't he? Sometimes when I'm riding home these dark autumn nights, I can hear the rats running in the grass and underbrush near the bike path - glad I don't see them!

On the other hand, there is beauty in the night also - here's a nice shot of the Monument and the Moonlight. Washington, D.C. is a pretty city at night, with the various memorials lit.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Autumn Leaves

Autumn has arrived and the leaves are at their peak. It's a nice time to ride with the cooler and more comfortable days - a nice change from the heat and humidity. The shorter daylight hours is an adjustment, but I have a good biking light to lead me through the darkness, along with a reflective vest and rear blinking light. It's kind of fun to ride in the dark - you feel "cloaked" and safe in a way.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rains from Ernesto

September started out quite rainy, with Tropical Storm Ernesto blowing into town. This picture was taken a day or so afterwards, showing the "residue" that gets pushed up out of the river and next to the bike path. Sometimes large trees get knocked down and block the path and you have to navigate your way around them. On the day of the storm, I biked to work, in the light rain, and it wasn't bad. I locked my bike in the bike cage, and hung my rain gear in there, to dry. I've done this every time it's rained the past 13 years. In the evening, the winds had picked up to 30-45 mph, and rains were heavy. I went downstairs to the bike cage to bike home, and saw with disbelief, that my Gortex (i.e., expensive!!) rain gear was GONE! I couldn't believe it...that someone would do such a thing on the nastiest night of the year! HOW RUDE!! I did have an extra set of rain gear at the office, but the night before, I had brought that rain jacket home, due to possible rain...and then I decided to leave it at home that morning, as I didn't want extra stuff to carry. So I had the rain pants at work, but that wasn't going to help my upper body, especially my head, and the rain and temperatures outside were on the cool side. I went over to the drug store to see if they had a cheap poncho I could buy -- no luck, they had sold their last one. I could take the subway home, but couldn't get on there with my bike til after 7 p.m., and even then, I'd have to bike many miles home. As I stood in the office lobby, wondering what to do, a man in my office walked by, on his way to the garage to drive home. I told him what happened and he had pity on me and gave me a ride home! I live in the complete opposite direction (40 miles away) from his home, so this was a very nice gesture! We had a nice chat on the way, and I was very grateful, needless to say! So, over the weekend, I bought new new Gortex gear, and now keep it by my desk after I ride in the rain, so it is in my eyesight. So, again, I live and learn, and won't be hanging it to dry in the bike cage. I guess I've just been very trusting all these years, and my luck finally ran out...out into the rain!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Sting of Summer...

Ah, what a nice pair of sunglasses, eh? Except I wasn't wearing them on my ride home from work the other night. Actually, I stopped wearing sunglasses a few years ago - and just got used to riding without them - it was one less thing to tote around. Anyway, I was tooting along, minding my own business, when a big fat bee came right at me and hit and stung me on my right eyelid!! OUCH!!!! I stopped and got off the path - boy did it hurt! It felt like someone had taken a pool cue stick and hit me right on my eye! I took my waterbottle which had been in the freezer at work, and applied it to my eyelid, but it didn't do much. I could see the stinger on my eyelid. I decided to head into Old Towne Alexandria, a mile or two ahead, and call my roommate to see if she could come pick me up. I am allergic to bees, and my eyelid and the area around it was quickly becoming puffy. I stopped at a drugstore on the way to see what the pharmacist would recommend taking. They said to get some Benadryl and then see a doctor, as it looked like it was getting worse. At this point, my eye was quite swollen, along with my upper lip becoming numb, and my hands and feet getting an itchy rash. So my roommate picked me up and we headed right over to the medical center for a doctor to take a look. They gave me an ice pack to apply, and then some medicine to take away the swelling and rash, along with prescriptions to get filled. I took the next day off from work, because when I woke up, my eye was still pretty swollen and was only a thin slit to peer out of.

So, the moral of the story is to wear protective eyewear, even if you don't think you need to. You never know what you'll run into!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Branches & Bridges

It's July in D.C., and that means the pretty crepe myrtle trees bloom. They come in various colors of white, lavender, and pink. Nice to see their pretty blossoms - sort of like a last "hurrah" for summertime. Here's a picture of some bright pink ones located off of the Mt. Vernon Trail I ride on each workday.

Also, this month, the massive Woodrow Wilson Bridge project opened up its first span of lanes, and the traffic was diverted onto it from the deteriorating 1960's old bridge. The new bridge was built taller than the old one, so that the drawbridge won't have to open as often.
The construction crews recently built a bike path detour, to avert cyclists from going under the old portion that they are currently tearing down. The detour is a bit out of the way, but in exchange, you get real close to the large beautiful arches.

So, it's been neat to see the different phases coming along and sort of "be a part" of it!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bike to Work Day 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006 was Bike To Work Day, and what great weather we had!! Last year, we had a cold and drizzily day, and when I pulled up to the pit-stop in Old Towne Alexandria, there were only a few people there. This time, I was happily surprised to see a good size gathering (as you can see from the bottom photo)! I spent a little time chatting with my bicycle mechanic, Bill, from Spokes, Etc., and then with the "Biker Boys" (Jack and Greg) who heartily commute year-round.

Then it was on to the big rally in downtown (photo at top) held at the Freedom Plaza. It's always neat to see how many people are there! This year, I heard that 6,200 bicyclists registered and rode their bike to work! This was the largest gathering in the country, according to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association! There are bagels to be eaten and short speeches given by local biking-related officials. When I finally head to my office, I'm all jazzed up about bicycling to work (as if I need more enthusiasm!).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Springtime in D.C.

Spring is finally here and we are enjoying blue skies, warmer breezes and beautiful flowers and budding trees. All the color is an "assault on the senses" in a way, after a somewhat long, dreary, colorless winter. There are pretty tulips and colorful dogwood trees, not to mention the snow-like, famous Cherry Blossoms! It's too bad Spring doesn't last very long...compared to the long hot and humid Summer days...but we will enjoy each and every lovely day, as if we were relishing gourmet ice cream!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Come On Spring!

It's March, but it'll be a while longer before we see more Spring-like temperatures. But, I can't complain, since the winter really wasn't that bad. Here's a photo taken of the first snow on the bike path back in December. It was beautiful. My mountain bike moved through the snow easily. I really have the BEST commute in town! :)