Two days off the bike left me feeling antsy. Lucky for me it was warm and sunny with temperatures in the mid 70s this morning.
It was a balmy 43 degrees outside and I ain't talking no centigrade here, Mister.
It may be that my antsiness (if that is even a word) was also the result of eating the three taco platter at Cactus Cantina last night. The platter was preceded by two Dos Equis (would that make it Quatro Equis?) and a heaping helping of chips and salsa.
The mailman brought a check and, since I changed jobs, I no longer have a branch next to my office. This means I have to make a special trip anytime I need to use my bank.
Need to make a trip, feeling taco tummy, and need to ride my bike? Hmmm.......
I know, I'll ride to the bank! (I'm effin' brilliant, I tell ya.)
Unfortunately the only bank branch open near my house is in a Safeway on US 1, a six lane highway that eats bicycles. I could go all snarly on why my bank is in a grocery store ("The ATM is right over there sir, next to the fish sticks.") but, instead, I'll accept reality and go cash my check.
Of course, with cold temps and a decent breeze it took some time to figure out the right mix of clothing. 20 minutes later I was out the door. I felt fine standing still but once I got rolling into the wind, I was a little uncomfortable. No worries. I'll warm up, eventually,
The trip to the bank involved cutting through the drive through at a drug store, weaving into and out of access roads and finally dodging busy folks with shopping carts loaded to the max with turkeys and fixins.
Once my banking was done, I decided to try and intercept my friend Crystal's ride in Northeast DC. This ride which was dubbed HubsNPubs would traverse 15 miles of busy city streets and visit 3 microbreweries. The noon start was located about 25 miles away. I decided to join the festivities at the first brewery, Chocolate City Brewing on 8th Street NE.
I would enter DC in the southwest quadrant, ride north to the northwest quadrant and cut due east to reach the northeast quadrant. I would rely on my superb sense of direction rather than a map. I would get seriously lost in NE DC in about one hour's time. I rode to 8th Street NE which was interrupted by the campus of Gallaudet University. So I rode around campus to the east, then north, then west, and ended up climbing a bitch of a hill in traffic. This was not a lot of fun I finally made it 9th Street NE where I reached a T.
I took 9th Street NE north through an industrial area that included the postal facility where anthrax was discovered, as well as a bunch of warehouses and big box stores. This is not on any guided tours of the city, I'll have you know. Then around a roundabout, up another hill and stop. Time to check a map. I was doing pretty good. Only about 15 blocks to go. Well, I finally made it to 8th Street NE and saw about six cyclists heading my way. This must be Crystal's group. Nope. Uh oh. I mean how many people ride bikes on this sketchy street anyway. About a quarter mile later I saw what looked like 50 bikes locked up and down some chain link fences.
Crystal's ride was a cycling extravaganza. Before I could lock my bike, a horde of young folks came out of an adjacent building and started fiddling with the bikes. Crystal, Kevin, Ted, John, and Ryan, Friday Coffee Clubbers one and all, were among the throng. I was soon to meet Kevin's wife Rachel and John's wife Kate.
I hopped on Big Nellie and rode off with the group. We headed east to DC Brau. Five miles later, after a car with FOP plates cut me off, we entered a strip mall parking lot and rode down a hill to the back of the buildings. The parking lot was packed. There was barely enough room for our bikes. Undeterred we entered the building and started drinking some free samples of beer. DC breweries are not allowed to serve beer for sale on site so we settled for three ounce tastes. I had a whopping total of nine ounces of beer over the course of an hour leaving me wanting only one thing: a bloody proper pint!
Some of the riders took a tour. I decided against it. I was enjoying the people watching. It was interesting to see the people with jugs called growlers. They'd pay to get them filled up then walk out cradling their jugs like they were made of gold. My precious.
When John and Kate decided to head home, I joined them. I had already ridden 25 miles and it was a long way back to my place in Virginia. John led us down Bladensburg Road which is normally very busy. Today, though, the traffic was light. Bladensburg Road ends at Maryland Avenue which heads southwest through Capitol Hill. As we approached the Capitol the houses were nicer. We rode past lovely row houses, mostly brick, three and four stories tall. John and Kate bid me farewell about a half mile from the Capitol and I continued on, eventually picking up the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack on the far side of Capitol Hill.
I took a left on 15th Street and traffic was a mess. Constitution Avenue which runs the length of the National Mall was closed at the Washington Monument. As I crossed it I could see thousand of people walking in a five-abreast formation toward me, eventually amassing at a stage set up on the monument grounds. I didn't find out what this was but there must have been tens of thousands of people involved. Note to marchers: you need a better press agent.
I rode across the river on the 14th Street Bridge and took the Mount Vernon Trail home. I was expecting a tailwind but the wind had changed direction and I found myself riding into a headwind. Two headwinds days should not be allowed. I am pretty sure this is caused by a vast right wind conspiracy.
I made it home with little effort by around 4 o'clock. I rode 19 miles on nine ounces of beer. DC Brau should market their IPA as an energy drink, I think. If I attached a growler of the stuff to my back, I could probably ride forever.
Check here for Keviin's ride report and here for Crystal's.