Thursday, December 16, 2010

First Snow of the Winter

Sorry for the non-posting in November - - it was a quiet month...and that's a good thing, since wintertime can bring more weather to deal with. Like today, we're getting our first real snow...they're predicting 1-3 inches, depending on your location. I swapped out my regular mountain bike tires on the mountain bike and put the studded tires back on. You feel kinda silly riding with studded tires on dry pavement....but the snow started about 10 a.m., and since it's been pretty cold lately, the snow is sticking quickly. So I'll be thankful for the studded tires when I get off work.

There's a bike commuter guy who I pass often, and in the winter, I call him "Stud Man" because you can hear the studs on his tires as he rolls by. :) I saw a number of other guys on the path this morning with their road bikes, and thought that they will have a little trouble tonight when they head home....but me and Stud Man will make it with no problems. :)

The Ride Home:

Since this is my first winter at my new place, I wasn't sure what to expect for the winter's ride home, as far as sidewalks being cleared, etc. I was pleasantly surprised to see, as I approached the Crystal City bike tunnel, that the path had been plowed and salted to the pavement! So that made it easy going up the hill on the other side of the tunnel into Crystal City. :) Since there is a train line that a lot of people take, and there are a lot of pedestrians for the various office buildings along the streets there, the sidewalks were immaculately cleared and salted. MUCH better than riding on the road for a little bit. When I came up to the Air Force Memorial area, the sidewalks were totally cleared there too...and also along the way to my apartment building! How nice! What great service! So the bike path and 14th Street Bridge were the only places with 3-4 inches of snow to contend with, and that wasn't too bad. It took me a few minutes to get my "snow legs" back, and getting my balance and loosen up on the handlebars as I ride. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Danger Will Robinson!

On my commuting route, there's a part where the path goes through a short curved tunnel, underneath a railroad line (like this picture). The path leading down into the tunnel is fairly steep, and there is a speed limit sign posted right next to the entrance of the tunnel, stating 5 m.p.h.
I doubt anyone goes that speed through there, especially coming down that steep hill. Since both sides of the tunnel are blind entrances, I always ring my bell as I come down the hill (with hands on brakes), just in case someone comes tearing through the tunnel the opposite way (as some people do, to try and get a jump on coming up the steep hill).

Anyway, as I approach the other side of the tunnel, there's a lady jogger ahead of me. We enter the tunnel, and as we do, I hear some kids yelling "Oh - - WHOA!!!" and whooping and hollering, sounding like they were coming down that steep hill. As the lady jogger and I came through the tunnel, I looked up and saw two kids riding piggyback on a BMX bike, tearing down the hill towards us. The kid piloting the bike goes off the path a bit and onto the grass, but then veers back onto the path at nearly the last second. Good thing, otherwise they would have SLAMMED into the outside part of the tunnel wall...and NEITHER had a helmet on. We turned and watched them fly into the tunnel on the wrong side of the tunnel (thank God there wasn't another cyclist or jogger coming through there!). They got a few feet along but then hit the side of the tunnel wall, their bodies scraping along til they managed to stop. Ouch!!

The lady jogger and I just looked at each other and she said, "KIDS!!!" :) ha. Yea, the things you do as a kid! :) We were both amazed that they didn't really have a serious accident!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bianchi Man Cometh!

There are regular bike commuters that I see every day at the same spot at the same time. One of them I nicknamed "Bianchi Man". :) He has a classic torquoise-colored Bianchi hybrid bike. He should be a model for Bianchi bikes because he is SO decked out in a matching Bianchi jersey, shorts, helmet matches the biking gloves and even socks that have the various colors of the Bianchi trademark! :) I wonder each time, do you only have ONE set of clothes like this? Because I see him in these SAME clothes EVERY time….and don't the clothes get stinky? (especially when we had the hot weather….). I went online to see if there were other Bianchi jerseys…and there are. Maybe Mr. Bianchi Man will get a different Bianchi-style design for his birthday or Christmas. :)

I have probably 10-15 different biking jerseys that I can wear. Variety is the spice of life... Fortunately, I don't sweat much, so I can get away with wearing the same jersey for a few days at least, before I have to trade it for another one. I've gotten many compliments on my jerseys through the years…. :) There's a story behind most of my jerseys - - places I've visited, bike event tours I've done, or they're just plain wearable art. :) Plus, some jerseys are thin, and good for the hot weather. Others are more thick, for cooler weather. So, it helps to have different kinds...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Mr. Crayfish!

On my previous commuting route, the bike path has several boardwalks that cross marshy areas. I always wondered what kind of creatures were in the waters (good thing it's not Florida, because gators could be there!). My biking friend Reba told me one day, that she had seen a big red crayfish on the bike path soon after crossing a boardwalk. The crayfish had traveled a bit down the path away from the marsh, and must have been pissed off, because he would stand there and wave his big pinchers at bikers and joggers alike - trying to pick a fight! I remember one morning, I came upon a lady jogger who had stopped and was peering down at Mr. Crayfish, and trying to understand why he was there and why he was trying to pinch a foot or bike tire! :) So we stood there and chatted about Mr. Crayfish as people went by with quizzical looks on their face and then they'd look down and see this pissed off crayfish! :) ha.

Well, one day, I guess Mr. Crayfish must have irritated someone pretty badly because on my ride home, I passed a red FLAT spot on the path - - all you could see was a bunch of little broken pieces of red shell....... Awww..... Too bad.... :( I don't know if a biker or pedestrian had taken him on, but he was no more.....

Last night, we had a big summer storm blow into town. Perhaps the wind and rain kicked up the marshy waters, and a crayfish decided to come out and see what the commotion was.... Thus, this Washington Post photo that was in the paper this morning. :) Hope this crayfish picks his fights wisely...but he's not starting out very well, trying to cross the Parkway and taking on the cars!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

New Month - New Commute Route

This month finds me with a new bike commuting route....passing by the beautiful Air Force Memorial. I bid goodbye to the "Honking Hill" I used to have to climb everyday, though I still have a little bit of a hill to go up and down, but the downhill speed has been reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph. Also, the mileage is not as impressive...only 7.5 miles each way now, which takes me about 40 minutes to cover (instead of about an hour for the previous commute). But it's nice after many years of a longer commute, to have a shorter commute, and more free time at home in the mornings and evenings. :) I'm in a little more of a congested area traffic-wise, but for the most part, the cars give me room on the road. The area I live in has the things I need: easy access to the bike trail, a bike repair shop within an outdoor retail store, and a grocery store. Also, the apartment complex has a free shuttle that runs to the nearby subway stop during the rush hours...which will come in handy whenever I don't happen to ride (which is rare!). So life is pretty sweet now. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

It Once Was Lost.....

It was a warm and muggy morning for today's ride into work. As I came to the stop light at 15th Street by the Tidal Basin, I happened to look to my right, and something on the ground caught my eye. It was a black bicycle pannier...all by its lonesome.....without its rightful owner..... I leaned over and picked it up and attached it to my bike rack. There were two other bike commuters in front of me at the light - I was kind of surprised they hadn't seen the pannier laying there - but maybe if you're concentrating on the traffic and the light, you're not looking around too much...besides it was sort of a small pannier.

When I got to my desk at work, I slowly started to investigate the innards of the pannier, hoping I wouldn't have to "snoop" too much to find the owner's name and contact information. I first came across an office identification belonged to a lady, and she was an attorney with the Department of Justice. I looked in the first compartment, where there was a large envelope containing trip information that she and her husband had signed up for - - I think a kayak trip on the Amazon! Wow. Inside that envelope was her passport....and the form she had filled out for the trip - which fortunately contained her work and home numbers. I called the work number and got her voicemail. I waited maybe 10 minutes, and checked the bag again, and saw her Blackberry in there. It had a screensaver on it that said it was a government-issued Blackberry, and if it was found, to call a certain telephone number - so I did, and the guy I spoke with gave me another work number for this lady. When I called it, I think I got her secretary, so I explained the reason I was calling. She said yes, the lady had realized she had lost her pannier after she had gotten to work, and took a cab back home (not too far from where I live), to see if the pannier was there and then had the cab driver drive her bike route on the street, to see if they could find it. Of course, part of her bike commute is on a bike path, so the cab couldn't go on that.... When she got back to work, she got my message, and you should have heard how RELIEVED she sounded!! :) She sounded like she was going to cry! So, we arranged for her to come by and pick it up at noon at my office. She shook my hand a couple of times when we met, and was SO happy to have her bag back. She said the bike had fallen over sometime during her commute (maybe she had propped it up when making a stop at a store), and it had loosened the pannier from the rack. So I was happy to have been the one to find and return it. As I've mentioned in this blog before, I've lost stuff before and know how panicked you get when this situation comes's NOT fun!!

I went out for a walk at lunchtime, and when I came back, there was a cute little bouquet of flowers waiting at my desk! The note was from the lady, and said, "Thank You For Restoring My Life!" :) Awww...that was nice of her.... :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Absent on Bike to Work Day :(

Well, for the first time in many years that I can remember, I will NOT be attending Bike to Work Day! What in the world would keep me from attending?? Well, actually the question should be "WHERE" in the world....because on Bike to Work Day, May 21, I will be somewhere out in the Italian countryside, on an organized bike tour across Italy - - from Venice to Pisa! :) So, hey, will someone take my place with the thousands of bikers on that day? Eat a bagel or banana for me, and I will have some Gelato for you! :) Ciao!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

No Fooling! :)

Today's April Fool's Day - but no one was fooled when they walked among the Cherry Blossoms in D.C. - the blossoms were absolutely beautiful! :) There's something about seeing the blossoms - - they're so white, so delicate, so beautiful against a bright blue sky... I just wish they lasted longer... It's like being in Heaven for a short while. There are two great times to be in D.C. - the Spring and Autumn. :) Winter and Summer can be somewhat long and difficult - - too cold and too hot. But in the Spring and Autumn, you can enjoy long walks outside without being uncomfortable, and your eyes feast on the beauty of nature. I love biking to work during the Cherry Blossom time, because even though there are lots of tourists milling about, I never have to worry about finding a place to park. I can pull up anywhere and lean my bike against a tree or pole. I can take my time rolling along, not having to deal with someone right behind me who wants me to go. I can stop as many times as I want, whenever I see a photo I want to take. It just makes it so more enjoyable and easy. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Springing Forth! :)

Here's my bike along some Forsythia - one of the first things that bloom in the Spring. :) I'm always happy to see Spring come - - especially all the COLORS that I see! It's like I've been living in black & white in the winter, and then Spring comes, and we move into TECHNICOLOR! :) It's a sight for sore eyes, and I just drink it all in. And it's wonderful to start wearing lighter clothes and not be freezing. Spring certainly is a time to celebrate! Yea! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Well, this winter has turned out to be the SNOWIEST winter in 100 years in Washington, D.C.!! We've gotten a number of big snowfalls this month. Fortunately, I missed a few of them when I went out of town to Warm, Sunny, San Diego for a week. :) When I came back, there was about 20 inches on the ground, and that afternoon it snowed another couple of feet. As a result, the bike path hasn't been available to ride on for most of this month.
:( It would be nice if the Park Service would plow the bike path... In fact, my biking friend Reba said we should have organized on the internet a "snow shovel party" and had all interested walkers, joggers and bicyclists show up with their shovels and unearth the bike path! :) I know there would be lots of people who exercise that would WANT to have their path back!

On a good note, I saw a BUNCH of robins flying around the neighborhood this morning. :) It looked like a "Robin Reunion"! :) And I noticed some trees in front of my office building that are getting some buds on their branches. :) So, hopefully it won't be long before Spring. :)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ice Circles

Last weekend, some wickedly cold air came around (wind chill was a few degrees above zero), and as a result, part of the Potomac River froze up. As I was riding across the 14th Street Bridge, I looked down over the railing and saw that the ice had somehow formed into various circles. It looked a little like a moonscape. Pretty cool. As the week wore on, the river slowly has been unthawing, and now there are large broken up ice slabs near the circles. Since the Potomac River doesn't freeze up every year, all these artistic shapes are fun to stop and look at. :) (Thanks again to Reba for her great photo!).