18 April 2013

Bike Commute Fun Facts

Since I got home from Tucson, I've been doing a fair amount of bike commuting because suddenly spring has arrived (NOT meant to rub in the nice weather - but camp buddies Julia, Sarah, Melissa, and Jen's - maybe consider a move out east? Just saying.)

I feel super lucky to have a pretty scenic bike commute route that is mostly on the bike path until I get into the city. And I'm always thankful to be on my bike (especially when riding parallel to the GW Parkway and all the traffic is stopped for 1+ miles as cars try to merge onto 395N and I breeze right by). Here are a few random bike commute facts:

- On my route, I pass by a dog park, a river, a wastewater treatment plant (ick), an airport, a highway, the Jefferson Memorial, the Tidal Basin, the Washington Monument, the National Mall, the Smithsonian, the Capitol, and Union Station. And an ice cream truck.

- Whenever I bike past the airport and hear the planes taking off, it makes me think of the final scene in L'Auberge Espagnole when the main character is running down the runway, saying that his story of the rest of his life began when his plane took off for his study abroad trip. That final scene is one of my favorites in that movie.

- It never fails, I always have a headwind when I bike down the Mt. Vernon Trail. In the morning, the headwind is coming down from the Northwest and in the evening, from the Southeast. Sigh.

- I've been doing a terrible job at adjusting my nutrition for the 20+ extra daily miles from my commute. Without fail, I've bonked on my ride when I'm about three miles from home. It always happens right near a bakery and I can smell the fresh bread and NEED SOME RIGHT NOW.

- During my bike commute, I've been focusing on not coasting as often and keeping my legs moving. Sometimes, this feels harder than it should.

- I would say I obey traffic laws 99% of the time. The one rule I tend to break is riding on the sidewalk in DC when it serves me well in getting ahead of traffic.

- I've figured out where I need to have a mini time trial along the Mall to make traffic lights before they turn red. In the mornings I TT past the Air and Space Museum and typically make the light just as it is turning yellow. In the afternoon, I TT past the National Galleries of Art and it is hit or miss if I make the light. I'm starting to measure my fitness against how often I make certain lights.

- After 7pm, it seems like all of the traffic light patterns change and I get grumpy. After 7pm, nothing works like clockwork the way it does before 7pm. All the more reason to leave work on time.

- When the cherry blossoms disappear, so do the tourists. Where do they all go?? The Tidal Basin is EMPTY and it's as though they were all abducted by aliens.

- There is always a cop standing at the corner of Louisiana Ave and New Jersey Ave. I don't know what he does, he isn't directing traffic. Maybe he is guarding the Capitol? Or maybe he is on the lookout for errant bikers who run red lights.

- I talk aloud to myself when I bike. Half the time I don't realize I'm doing this.

- It makes my day when I see one of my friends during my bike commute.

- When I'm within a 10-block radius of work, I do not flip the bird to cars or cuss at them when they swerve into the bike lane. You never know when one of your colleagues might be walking by (OR they might be behind the wheel of that car you just flipped off).

- I've been using my Ironman France backpack as a commuter bag lately and a few people have asked me about the race. It's a nice conversation-starter.

- I never, ever listen to headphones when I ride. I do sometimes wish I had a portable radio for my bike, though.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I'll look for you out there.

To tell the truth, I dislike the smell of that little waterway between the path and the runway just north of National a lot more than I dislike the treatment plant. I don't go that far on my commute, but I do run up there from work pretty regularly. But have you seen the guy fly fishing in the wastewater outfall yet. I bet that's where the fish are, but I hope he doesn't eat any of them.

Oh - and the wind! I ride 2x/ week (I only go in to the office 2x/ week) and until the last 2 weeks every single day there was a stiff headwind on the way home, like insanely stiff, like 10 minutes more to get home 13 miles than it takes to get in. Hoping that it was all due to the weird jet stream we had this winter and it is done now.