Based on the scary weather reports I didn't think I'd be biking to work today. Superstorm Sandy wasn't all that bad except for lots of wind and rain. We lucked out. So here's today's tale:
My back hurt. I didn’t sleep a wink. I needed to get to work.
So began my 130th bike commute of the year.
It was supposed to be cold out so I broke out my long sleeve base layer that I haven’t worn since March. I put a t-shirt over that, then my gray Marmot Precip jacket. Then my Bike Arlington yellow reflective vest over that. On my head I wore a thin synthetic cap and a thick neck gaiter. I would have worn my Buff gaiter which is lighter weight but it has gone missing along with my cell phone.
Below the waste I had on mountain bike shorts and my Precip rain pants. My feet had on wool socks and my normal biking shoes. Bike Arlington reflective ankle bands finished the look. I had a red blinkie attached to a reflective strap on the back of my helmet and a Light and Motion Stella head light on the front.
My hands wore Performance insulated gloves with reflective finger tips. Putting all this crap on eats up ten minutes of my morning. I miss summer already. Despite my complaining, I was as warm and visible as was humanly possible.
About a quarter mile from my house I make a left turn, often with cars coming behind me. The road widens to add a left turn lane. Sometimes bad, bad cars use it to pass me. Not today though. I was a good boy and signaled my intent. Cars let me move over. Good cars. I began my turn. As I was about to complete the turn, an old white car blew by me on the left Bad, bad car. That’s right. I was turning left and was passed on the left. Those bikes are messing up traffic, aren’t they?
A mile and a half later I was turning left onto Fort Hunt Road from a side street. At this time of day, Fort Hunt Road is a busy commuter route. I only need to use it for 200 feet or so. As I approached my turn I looked right. All clear. I looked left and a bad, bad car was coming straight at me. I hadn’t left the side street! This bad, bad car decided to make a U-turn through me. He must have missed the yellow reflective vest, the yellow reflective leg bands, the white reflective stripe on my tires, the reflectors on my pedals, the reflective tab on the heel of my shoes, the reflectors on the front and back of my rear panniers, the reflector on my saddle bag, the reflector on my rear rack, the reflector on my handle bar bag, the reflective material on my gloves, the reflective band holding the blinking red light on the back of my helmet and the head light on my helmet. That poor, poor driver must be blind. I do hope he gets to an eye doctor soon.
Oh, the good news is he missed me.
Heeding warnings from fellow bike commuters, I rode gingerly trying to avoid slipping on all the wet leaves. The leaves weren’t the problem; the wet branches underneath the leaves were though. I slipped a bit here and there but never came close to falling. I slalomed around fallen branches when I could see them. When I didn’t they clattered on my fenders and frame. At one point my foot seemed to become entangled in my toe clip. I had lost a bolt and nut on one of the pedals an the toe clip was rotating randomly. Annoying but not life threatening.
I stopped to take pictures of the sunrise twice. I could have stopped many more times but I’d still be out there. I spotted a bald eagle stirring on a high branch near the Belle Haven nest.
|Almost sunrise at Dyke Marsh|
|Just a few minutes later close to Old Town|
I was expecting this to be a difficult commute after the storm, but it was actually pretty normal. My only complaint came from my cold toes. My feet got wet when I walked through the grass to get my bike out of the shed. Wet feet at 40 degrees are not good.
The ride home was uneventful. Except for the rescue activity at the river just north of the airport. Did somebody fall into the river? I didn't stick around to find out. I was expecting to see major flooding in Old Town Alexandria but there was none.
On the way home I usually take the Mount Vernon Trail farther south than the point that I get on it in the morning. This stretch of the trail was 1 1/4 of wet leaves. I took my time and didn't slip. There were so many leaves that I couldn't see the edges of the trail. This wasn't a problem because I've ridden the trail a few thousand times.
|Rescue near the Airport|
Once at home I started to search for my missing cell phone. I looked in the seat back bag on Big Nellie. The phone wasn't there but my Buff was. The Buff is the bestest piece of bike commuter clothing ever. It makes an excellent Christmas gift (hint!!!).
Later in the evening I found my black cell phone.On the drive to the Great Pumpkin Ride, It had fallen out of my fanny pack and between the seats of the all black interior of the Millennium Falcon (my son's car).
Despite the lack of sleep, I'd say it was a bike commuting success all the way around. On to November!!!