Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trance Ride

I get into a trance when I bike commute. I’ve ridden to and from work so many times now that it’s automatic.  This morning , after a mile, following the white dot made by my headlight, I looked up and wondered “How did I get here?”  And I wasn’t even thinking of that Talking Heads song.

Back into my trance and soon I was on the Mount Vernon Trail. I glanced at the morning sky. It looked just like yesterday, a beautiful pre-dawn light show. I passed through Belle Haven Park and came out of my trance to glance up at the Belle Haven nest. For the third time in a week, a bald eagle was perched on a branch above the nest.

I pedaled past a blind man waiting for a bus in front of the Hunting Towers apartments. Do I call out my pass or not? I decided not and moved as far away from him as possible. Maybe the next time I’ll say “Good morning. Bike passing in front of you.” That seems long winded though.

I rode down to the underside of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Now that the MVT is reconstructed down to the river, I no longer cut under the bridge to take South Royal Street. I don’t miss the dance of the SUVs where the MVT cuts into the drop off line at Saint Mary’s School. So many of the parents seem oblivious to the bikes weaving among their cars, as if the bikes aren’t there every day. The knuckleheads who escort the kids from the cars need to stop the cars before the trail intersects the street. That way the kids, who are pretty oblivious due to their kidness, don’t step in front of a bike. When bikes hit people, bad things happen. When I was in grade school, a kid hit a little old lady walking home from church. The lady died. I think the kid was messed up in the head after that.

I stopped at King and Union Streets to marvel at the fact that the road was dry. This intersection routinely floods after storms.  The shop doorways all had sandbags in front of them. They know the water will eventually arrive.

Back on the MVT I re-enter my trance. I look up. “Hi, Rootchopper.” It’s Nancy Duley, a Mount Vernon area bike rider and self-professed recovering economist passing by. Like so many economists, she always seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Assume a compass...

Old Town Sandbags
I go back into my trance. I can’t seem to make any speed this morning. It doesn’t matter. The early morning light puts the monuments in half silhouette. Meet the Monuments. Good album. Do monuments wear Cuban boots?  The trance is strong with this one.



  1. Whatever you're on, bring some to #fridaycoffeeclub next week. Missed you this morning!

    1. Yeah, I ahd to trade in my coffee club and free bike lights tonight for a dental appointment. Driving in to work is almost surreal.

  2. That is extremely cool to have bald eagles nesting there!! I suppose they fish the Potomac? Do you know how many years there have been resident ... not these individuals, but as a species? Fabulous!

    1. I suspect that bald eagles have been prowling the Potomac since before Washington chopped down his cherry tree. The local population has grown noticeably in recent years. There was a mating pair across the Potomac on Rosalie Island. When the new I-95 bridge was built there, the contractor had an expert on bald eagles on staff.
      What's interesting about this latest bald eagle sighting is the fact that the Belle Haven nest, which was occupied by a mating pair, was abandoned earlier this year. Another mating pair set up shop about 2 miles further downriver right along the trail. They had at least 3 eaglets this year.
      We have lots of ospreys around here too, but they are punks compared to the bald eagles.