Friday, December 23, 2011

A Suitable Ending

Today was it. The finale. My last bike commute of 2011.  It's number 145 which, as it turns out, is exactly how many I did last year.  I nearly blew the whole day by almost sleeping through the alarm this morning.  That's what the winter solstice will do to your body clock.

I was groggy when the ride started and the weak pre-dawn light wasn't helping any.  The weatherman said it would be in the 40s with a stiff, steady headwind in excess of 20 miles per hour.  I don't think the weatherman bothered to step outside however. It was nearly 50 and the wind was intermittent gusting occasionally to 15.  Since I listened to the weatherman, I was overdressed.  Of course, any reasonable person would have stopped and shed a layer, but not me. I was already late getting to what was certain to be an unproductive workday. 

Belle and Alex Salute My Last Commute of 2011
I passed up a chance at my 20th sunrise photo of the year and cranked away. Then I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. Alex and Belle, the two bald eagles that nest along the Parkway on the Belle Haven golf course, were back.  They were perched high up in their tree, busily fluffing up their feathers. I haven't seen the two of them since early spring so this was a real treat.  Unfortunately, my little camera isn't really up to the task of wildlife photography but I gave it a go anyway.

I left work a few hours early and rode home in bright sunshine for the first time in a long while. The forecast from this morning finally came true and I had a very helpful 20 mile per hour tailwind for nearly the entire ride. Along the way, I spotted several great blue herons and a kingfisher (I think) along the Potomac. Of course, my camera totally failed me with these smaller birds.  (I think I've dropped it a few too many times.) Since I normally ride home in the dark, the water fowl were a welcome sight.

Outdoor Art Gallery at the Christmas Attic
Old Town had a couple of fun surprises. The Christmas Attic is a store that sells Christmas stuff year round. This time of year, of course, is their time to shine. For some reason, they had artwork arranged up and down the outside of their old brick building on South Union Street. Each work was numbered so I think they were for sale.  By the way, if you are into model trains, the Christmas Attic has one inside that runs just above the top of your head.  It's a fun place to shop.

Carrying on past the shopping district, my brain had shifted to let's get home and get warm mode. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something moving and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature man on a bicycle.  Who needs reindeer anyway?

Santa on a Bike

And so ends my year of bike commuting. 3 bikes. 2 destinations (L'Enfant Plaza in DC and Rosslyn in VA). 145 days.  Over 4,000 miles. No wonder I'm tired....


  1. :) Good post, John! :) Yep, it was a lovely day for a ride to/from work, huh? :) NOW the FUN starts for others! (ice, snow, sleet, below freezing temps.....). :) Ho ho ho!! :)

  2. I love that you got the advent calendar art outside of that Old Town store. Cool!

  3. MG, what an idiot I am. Of course, it's an advent calendar. (My wife made one out of a quilt.) I will surely be excommunicated or kicked out of the retired altar boy association!