January: Every January a group of folks that I went to grad school with hold a Secret Santa party. Paulie, a die hard bike commuter who rode the 50 States Ride with me (see September below), had quite a bit of fun. I think he needs to trim the eyebrows a bit more frequently though. He gets bonus points for the sweater.
March: March is prom season. On my way home from work I came upon a series of signs along the Mount Vernon Trail. They were created and placed by this lovely young student from Georgetown Visitation. She was asking her boyfriend Charlie to the prom. He'd have been an idiot to say "no". Burma Shave.
April: I volunteered to help with Earth Day festivities at work. I was the bicycle guy, handing out bike maps and informational brochures on Bike to Work Day and Capital Bikeshare. We gave away one one-year CaBi membership. The poster I am holding is of the Ride a Bike stamp that comes with the set of Earth Day stamps. (I don't think you can purchase them separately though.) I shared a table with the walking lady. She told me she'd ride to work but she thought it was too dangerous. My wife proved her wrong (see May).
May: The plan was for me to drive to Saratoga Springs NY, pack a car with my son's stuff, and ride my bike back to DC. The week before my wife was run over by an SUV as she walked across a street near our home. The tour was canceled. I drove back with my son. This was what the inside of our Mitsubishi Lancer (dubbed the Millenium Falcon) as we left his dorm.
June: For the last couple of years, I have had to reduce the miles I ride on Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent, because of a condition called Morton's Neuroma. A nerve between my fourth and middle toes would get inflamed after about 1 hour of riding. The pain felt like I had stepped on a nail. The solution (so far) has been to keep my toes from squeezing together. That has been accomplished using this toe separation thingie, looser shoes, and a donut-shaped device I wear while sleeping. The combination of the three seems to have worked. I can now ride much longer than before.
July: Here I stand with my old friend Steve Fisher. We went to school together for ten years (8th grade through college at BU). You may recognize him from the film Hellboy in which he has his faced sucked off by a monster. He was also Dr. Jekyll in VanHelsing. In that movie, he plunges from the top of a castle and dies. A couple of years ago Steve contracted a form of strep, the same kind that killed Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. Unlike Henson, Steve immediately sought medical treatment. He spent months in a medically induced coma, but the good doctors of Prague, where he lives, pulled him through. Fortunately, the Czech Republic has national health care. If he had lived in the US, he'd be destitute from all his medical bills. Unfortunately, the ordeal resulted in amputations of fingers and both his legs. His friend Tim Jones who took this picture outside restaurant in Loudonville, NY, rallied support for Steve via emails and a remarkable website called Caring Bridge. Very long story short, Steve is happy as hell to be alive. Steve and Tim both write humor blogs which I highly recommend.
August: My friend Charmaine (in foreground at left) told me about some velomobiles that were riding from Portland, Oregon to DC. We met them as they entered Georgetown and followed them to the finish line at Georgetown Hospital. I expected these machines to be slow in the city, but they kept up with the cars on Wisconsin Avenue, even while climbing a long hill. The riders were a motley crew (you'd be motley too if you were cooped up in one of these babies for a month) but they were sure happy when they rolled to a stop at the end of their epic journey.
September: My friend Florencia convinced me to come out of retirement and ride the 50 States Ride in DC for the fourth time. The ride is 65 miles long and includes a segment on each of the streets named for a US state. It is not for the faint of lung. The ride takes you to every corner of the city, and, boy, is it hilly. Here, Veronica, a 50 States rookie, and Jeff, a veteran, raise their classes in a toast with Paulie and me at the after party at the Grill from Ipanema in Adams Morgan. As you can tell from the smiles, we had a blast.
October: I am guaranteed to see something odd during my bike commute around Halloween time. This year was no exception. I have no idea how this poodle was dyed orange, but it certainly stopped me in my tracks.
November: My friend Florencia has many talents besides cycling. One of them is acroyoga. I rode into DC to see her do her thing in Meridian Hill Park. She makes it look so easy, but you have to be in some kind of good shape to do this. In addition to acroyogis, the park had slack liners (tight rope walkers), hula hoopers, and musicians. I felt like I had fallen in with a bunch of runaways from Cirque du Soleil.
December: I rode to DC to meet up with Charmaine and spent a day hanging out with a bunch of festive folks dressed up in various Christmas costumes. The event, called Santarchy, is held annually in many cities across the US. One group of DC revelers were dressed in Star Wars costumes, including this woman who I call Darth on the Mall.
So that's the 12 pix of 2011. Happy New Year.