Monday, November 5, 2012

Eagles and Ninjas

The first day back on standard time was a shock to my system. For some reason I didn't sleep at all last night. I woke up and went out to get the newspaper in the driveway.  I am convinced that sleeping leaves an envelope of warmth around your body that is specifically designed to allow you to get the newspaper comfortably in any weather, even if you are still in your jammies. (Not that I wear jammies.  I would never admit to wearing jammies.)

The envelope of warm wears off after you read the sports section.  I dressed what I thought was appropriately for 42 degree weather. (In New England this is known as tanning weather. Here in the mid-Atlantic it is considered arctic.) I missed by about 5 degrees.  Of course, a sensible person would have gone back in the house and put on more clothing. That would be someone other than me.  Putting more clothing on would be like asking for directions. It just isn't done. Better to be miserable for an hour than delayed for five minutes.

The headwind didn't help a whole lot, I suppose.  I saw the hoppy guy (a runner who seems to have a stiff knee) and Nancy Duley, an early morning rider who always seems to be going home instead of to work. Nancy probably told her boss she's veloworking. All bosses should allow veloworking.  It's great for morale.

At the Belle Haven nest, I spotted the bald eagle. On recent mornings, he has been perched in the branches well above the nest. This morning he was in the nest itself with a stick in his beak, winterizing for raptors.

The stretch of the ride in from the airport to Rosslyn was harsh. Little Nellie and I slogged along into an unprotected headwind. My toes were not happy.  My hands were okay though. I was wearing mittens.  They work much better than winter bicycling gloves. They are also useful if a snow storm hits while riding your bike, but only if its good packing snow.

The ride home was much more enjoyable.  About a block from my office, I encountered the Bike Arlington bike light giveaway.  A volunteer added little blinkie lights to the front and rear of Little Nellie. I was also given two reflective straps that I put on my wrists so that I could give hand signals and be seen.  I was a rolling Christmas tree.  In addition to the two blinkies and the two wrist straps Little Nellie and I had:
  • pedal reflectors
  • reflective ankle straps
  • a reflective tab on the back of each shoe
  • reflective white sidewalls on the tires
  • a front bicycle reflector
  • a red blinkie on the seat post
  • a red reflective ankle strap on the seat post
  • a big white reflective spot on the front of the handlebar bag, the back of the saddle bag, and the front and back of each rear pannier. 
  • a reflective strap on the back of my helmet holding another red blinkie light
  • a Light and Motion Stella headlight on the front of my helmet
  • a yellow reflective Bike Arlington vest
Simply put, only a blind person could miss me.

I set off on the Mount Vernon Trail. It was dark. I was a-blinkin'. My headlight was on. A jogger approached with no reflective material or lights on. I missed him. People like this are called ninjas. A mile or so later I missed another. Then another. Then another. I crossed over Four Mile Run just south of the airport. A couple of bicyclists had pulled over to the side of the trail at the far end of the bridge.

A short time later Shawn, one of the two cyclists, rode by me and told me that the other cyclist had hit a ninja.

In Minnesota this is called thinning the herd.

I hope I don't hit a ninja this winter. If you are walking or running on a trail or street after dark, don't be a ninja.

When I arrived home, Mrs. Rootchopper was getting out of her car. She told me it could be in the twenties in the morning.

I may have to wear my jammies to work.

1 comment:

  1. I worship my lobster gloves. Hadn't thought of jammies. BRILLIANT!