Monday, April 30, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 27, 28 & 29

Bit of a busy weekend, so not much of a chance (yet) to squeeze in any significant rides.

Day 27:

Had big plans to go to Friday Coffee Club and then ride Hains Point afterward. Instead I slept in. I was just exhausted after what seemed like a never ending week. I ended up riding to the 4P's and back after work instead.

Miles: 5

Day 28:
Another long day at work meant a short ride afterward. A simple ride around the block.

Miles: .55

Day 29: More of the same.

Miles: .55

I told you it wasn't going to be significant. I am hoping to end 30 Days of Biking tomorrow with a bang, though. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 27, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 26

I'm feeling a bit on the tired side today, plus I was saddled with things to do after work, so this was just a short ride. A shame, since it is a perfect night for a night-ride. But I need my beauty rest if I want to get up in time for Friday Coffee Club.

Just three laps around the block with Kermit.

In other news, did you know you can still send telegrams? The Boy should be grateful I didn't opt for the singing variety. Then again, his birthday is only a few days away...

Miles: 2.7
Rats spotted: 3

Thursday, April 26, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 25

Only 5 days left. Yikes, time is flying by.

Today's ride was an easy spin around Hains Point a few times. I took some notes Sharrows style so I could actually remember what I saw.

Scooter on Cycle Track, Fellow Cyclist Sympathy:

As per usual, I took the 15th St cycle track southbound. It was surprisingly empty of people. I must have missed the morning rush. It was, however, full of debris (thank you leaf & grass blowers) and potholes (DDOT-can I just report all of the cycle track as one giant pothole for potholeapalooza?). Uneventful though. That is until I got to the stretch between L & K St. Then I saw a jackass fellow citizen riding on a MOTOR scooter IN the cycle track. He even had the nerve to tell me to get out of the way (I was riding in the middle-ish due to aforementioned potholes). Are you kidding me? As I pulled up to the stop light at K, I encountered another lady cyclist who was shaking her head at the scooterist (that's a word), and we both grumped and griped about it until the light changed green, which was approximately 3 seconds later.

Hains Point Tour Buses:

The rest of my trip down to Hains Point was fairly quiet, probably due to my mad tourist-dodging skillz. Oh, I was held up for a bit when Secret Service stopped traffic due to a dignitary motorcade, but it was only for 5 minutes. No big deal.

As I rode around (and around and around) Hains Point, I couldn't help but notice there were far more buses than I've usually noticed. I don't know if it was because I was slightly later or if it was just coincidence, but it seemed packed with buses. School buses & charter buses. There weren't very many riders (or runners). Most of the time, I don't mind them. The drivers are usually patient and don't try stupid things. But this time, I got buzzed twice which was not pleasant. One was 25 feet from a stop sign! The driver actually tried to pass me (on one lane), then realized there was oncoming traffic so he tried to squeeze me into the curb. Why was he so eager to pass me? To get to the stop sign first, I suppose. How moronic. Anyway I showed him my "bird"; twice, even. By "bird", I meant the photo of the heron that I posted from my canal ride last week. Herons are neat birds. What did you think I meant?

It was sort of my "fault" I suppose because I gave him the room to do it. I should have just taken the entire lane and forced him to stay behind me for the entire 10 seconds until the stop sign. Silly me for thinking he had common sense. Anyway I saw a news crew out there, and I later saw an ABC7 tweet about a supposed "crackdown" on cyclist scofflaws there due to an increase in cyclist collisions (one of which apparently occurred that morning). I did not witness any such "crackdown" but then again, I find the easiest way to avoid getting tickets for running stop signs is to stop for them, especially in sight of any law enforcement folks. Odd how that works. Anyway I noticed that the other cyclists out there with me were also obeying the signs, and I'm not sure if that was due to the alleged "crackdown" or common sense. This had one memorable exception when a "roadie" attempted a most spectacular boneheaded move. A bus was slowly approaching the stop sign and he was behind the bus. The lane had narrowed down to one lane (and the bus took up 99% of it). Instead of simply waiting the 5 seconds for the bus to stop and then proceed, the roadie attempted to SQUEEZE by on the RIGHT, and when that became apparent it wouldn't work, he then very narrowly squeezed by on the left. Stupid, stupid, stupid. There was no way that driver could have seen him, since he was plainly in the blind spots. God help him had the bus decided to turn right. All for what? A few more seconds? I was literally holding my breath when I saw him pull that stunt. Please be careful & patient out there. It's really not worth it.

Anyway, that was it for scofflaw behavior. Everyone else got along just fine. I did see one unfortunate gal that clearly had not performed the "see thru" test on her bike shorts. Ladies & gents, check your shorts in the daylight! Unless you like that sort of thing. The dude drafting behind her sure did, I bet.

Other good news is that my back did not bother me at all. Maybe I've finally found the magical height for seat/stem.

Oh, and some ducks tried to bite my toes off.

They just walked right up to me.

Flooded sidewalk:

The river had gotten a little high after the other day's rain. Maybe that's why they felt so bold.

Sobbing Girl at 15th & E:

As I headed north on the cycle track to go back home, I noticed a female cyclist near the White House gate at 15th & E. The reason she caught my eye is because of her yellow reflective vest & panniered (also a word) bicycle. She gave the appearance of a knowledgeable & experienced cyclist. As I got closer and stopped at the red light, I could hear that she was extremely upset & basically sobbing. She looked physically okay and was talking animatedly with a secret service officer at the gatehouse. I have no idea what it was about but I did hear the phrase "almost hit"*. I figured one of two things probably happened (and this is pure conjecture)...

1. She got yelled at for being where she wasn't supposed to be. It's happened to all of us and it can be upsetting if you didn't mean any harm and were ignorant of the rules.

2. More likely, she ignored the signal light and was "almost hit" by a vehicle exiting/entering the gate and got upset when she was probably barked at for not obeying the signal. I see tons of tourists & non-tourists do this all the time. Many folks don't realize that it IS a working gate and traffic goes in & out and they just blithely stand/walk in front of it.

Either way, I felt bad for her because it is never fun being clearly upset in public and I hope she had a better day and is okay.

And that was my bike adventure for day 25. At least as far as my notes go. Anything that may have happened otherwise, I probably forgot.

*I will save my rant post about "almosts" another day. Nutshell version: if it "almost" happened, it didn't happen.

Miles: 24.2 (damn. I should have made it an even 25 miles for day 25)
Toes missing from duck maiming: none, thank goodness
Pollen, cut grass & bugs inhaled: all of them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 24

Another short ride to the store. I had planned a 40 mile hill ride...but I just wasn't feeling it today. Instead I rode to the store and bought toothpaste.

Tomorrow will be a better ride. I promise.

Mikes: .60

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 23

Another cold, miserable, wet day. It felt almost like winter again when I stepped outside. I was not happy. I went back inside and took a nap.

I needed to do my weekly grocery shopping so I figured I might as well ride my bike even though the store is just next door; I could use the bike to haul the groceries instead of carrying them. So I did.

Miles: .75
Chicken breasts purchased: 4
Impulse buy: Snickers

Sunday, April 22, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 20, 21 & 22

Sorry for the delay, it's been a busy week here.

Day 20 of 30 days of biking included Friday Coffee Club. I got up early and headed out. I rode Kermit the Hulk because I also wanted to get a few laps around Hains Point afterward.

I had a slight mechanical issue when my chain jumped off the cogs while I was crossing an intersection. I'm not sure what caused it because I wasn't shifting at the time. All I know is that suddenly I couldn't turn the cranks. I turned Kermit over to get a better look, and discovered that my chain had gotten caught between the front derailleur & the chainring. It had actually doubled up and that's why the cranks couldn't budge an inch. The chain was jammed pretty tight. After about 5 minutes, I finally figured out how to get the chain unjammed and was on my way again (with chain grease covered hands-I really need to bring a rag with me).

I was already running late, so when I got to the coffee shop everybody was just starting to head out. Oops! I said hello & bye and finished my coffee.

Then I rode to Hains Point and rode around in circles until my GPS said I had hit 20 miles (I already had ridden 5 to get there). I like Hains Point, but I do get bored with riding around it after awhile. There weren't very many people there, but those who were also riding around complimented Kermit as they went by.

My back was really bothering me and no amount of seat height adjustment was helping. I figured the stem would have to be raised a tad too. I made a note to stop by the shop soon because I don't know how to do that.

Shadow on Hains Point

Sitting along the riverside at Hains Point.

I stopped at the Juice Joint and had a wrap and carrot & spinach juice. Then went home.

Miles: 24.66
Bike grime consumed with the wrap: ugh
Protesters observed along the way: 5

Day 21 was much more mundane. I rode Kermit down to BicycleSPACE to drop him off to get everything straightened out with my chain issue & also to get the stem raised a bit. I also picked up a few essentials (bike degreaser, lube, honey stinger waffles & BikeSnobNYC's new book). Bike shop impulse buys can be dangerous. I almost walked out with a Brompton.

I used Capital Bikeshare to get back home. I'm really glad that DC has that system.

Miles: 6
Honey stinger waffles eaten: 1
Number of times I attempted the "Barnes Dance" at Chinatown: 0 (I don't understand it and just walked around the perimeter of the intersection like a doofus)

Day 22 is very much like yesterday, except I did it in the cold & pouring rain. I wore my Showers Pass rain gear & managed to stay perfectly dry from my neck down. Unfortunately I had nothing for my head and I soon got tired of the rain dripping into my face.

This was starting to seem like an attractive option: (source unknown)

I took Capitol Bikeshare downtown to the bike shop (Sunday churchers + Caps fans = traffic chaos) and retrieved Kermit. I managed to leave the shop without any impulse purchases but I knew I was forgetting something. Of course I didn't remember what it was until I got back home (a coffee cup holder for the work bike).

Miles: 6
Amount of rain in my helmet: 2 inches

Friday, April 20, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 19

After an evening of chore failure, I gave up. I was going to do a nice 30 minute ride around the neighborhood, but I was running out of time trying to get other stuff done.

Instead, I texted The Boy (who was working) to find out where he was and offered to meet up with him.

I set out on Kermit since I wanted to make sure all was well after his bath yesterday. I am getting much more comfortable & confident with riding on him now. I still think the stem needs to be raised just a tad; I adjusted the saddle height while I was on my canal ride and I thought I finally had it perfected, but riding it tonight still felt like it was just a bit too low. I will play with it more when I go for my ride at Hains Point tomorrow.

The Boy was only a few blocks away, which made for a very short ride. Still, I said hello & gave him a kiss (you can stop rolling your eyes now) and went back home.

Tomorrow is Friday Coffee Club, and even though I will be very sleepy, I still want to make it. Then it will be straight to Hains Point for a 20 mile ride.

Miles: 1.6 miles
Making The Boy's Partner Uncomfortable: Priceless

Thursday, April 19, 2012

#30daysofbiking: Day 18

Another quick post-work ride. The weather was pretty gloomy this morning so I opted to stay in bed instead. It was still chilly & rainy when I got home, so I just rode the work-horse around the block. Lame, I know. But it still counts.

Instead, I decided to make this a bike maintenance night instead. Kermit desperately needed all the gunk from yesterday's ride cleaned off, and the Work-Horse really needed a drivetrain cleaning.

I live in an apartment, so washing a bike can be a little tricky.

Into the bathtub you go...

I used the shower head attachment to rinse off the dust & dirt, and then just wiped the frame down with a rag. That got about 90% of the grime off (and into my tub. Ugh. Now I have to clean that too).

Then I put Kermit up on the bike stand and worked on the drivetrain a bit more thoroughly. I degreased & scrubbed the cassette & chain, let it dry and lubed the chain. All done!

Kermit went from this:

To this:

(soon he'll have his own parking spot on the wall)

Then it was the Work- Horse's turn. I didn't worry about scrubbing the frame or anything because I can hose it down at work (it does need it though). I focused on the drivetrain which was getting quite grimy. Wasn't too bad though because it cleaned up fairly quickly.

Then I topped off the tires of both bikes with air and voila. Clean(ish) bikes. I really should do this more regularly.

For the record, I used White Lightning Easy Clean spray degreaser(no idea where I picked it up); which uses some sort of voodoo to melt off grime instantly. It's soooo easy that it must use some sort of terrible environment-destroying chemical compound. Normally I use a diluted form of a degreaser like Simple Green with my chain cleaning tool, but I was out of that. The White Lightning worked perfectly...but I can see it getting expensive because I went through an entire can with just two bikes. Then I use Triflow to lube the chain.

Miles: .5
Movie watched while cleaning bikes: Flash Gordon
What does Flash Gordon do now? Professional hostage extractor. Seriously.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#30DaysofBiking: Day 17

I had an extra day off today thanks to Emancipation Day, I decided I wanted to get some miles in on Kermit the Hulk. I made a goal to ride 60 miles on the C&O Canal Towpath. My plan was to ride 30 miles out and 30 miles back (including the Rock Creek Trail).

It was a perfect day for it. Not too hot, humid or windy. The pollen was a little out of control, but that couldn't be avoided. I packed my new Po Campo bag with various forms of bike nutrition & wallet and off I went.

I sported my pink cycling cap for Cycling Cap Tuesday.

Fletcher's Cove. Sometime this year I'm going to rent a canoe or kayak.

They have pretty blue cruisers for rent.

The dusty towpath.

Great Falls. I've never actually been here before. It was awe-inspiring.

This bird tried to eat my face off.

Great Falls Tavern (with canal boat in the lock)

An operational lock (being operated).

The canal boat being guided out of the lock (notice the NPS guy keeping the boat off the wall).

I really wanted to see inside the boat.

Front view of Kermit (with Po Campo bag on handlebars)

Side view

This guy was checking out the canal too.

Then he flew away.

But not too far.

Lockhouse 22! This is on my to-do list too. It's restored to the 1830's era, which means no running water or electricity. The Boy is not enthused about staying here.

I wish the windows weren't shuttered so I could peek inside.

The rear of lockhouse 22. Fire pit & table.

The geese hissed at me when I went by. Quit taking up the whole path!

Lockhouse 10 :-)

The ride was perfect with one exception. I was heading back on the towpath, when 2 little yappy dogs darted out from the side of the towpath and ran straight at me. I had to emergency brake and almost crashed. Luckily I had the presence of mind to unclip and I ended up just fish tailing a bit. Still, it was really scary. Sure enough, I looked back and a guy was about 30 feet away. I yelled at him "are those your dogs", and all he answered was "yeah" and kept on walking. Not "sorry", not "my bad" not any sort of acknowledgement that his irresponsible behavior just nearly injured me and his dogs. That is poor pet ownership.

I dislike unleashed dogs on multi-use paths. Not only is it illegal, but it's unsafe-to other people and the dogs. But 90% of dog owners actually train their dogs to behave on a MUP and it's rarely a problem. They keep them CLOSE and they make them sit or stay when a runner or cyclist goes by. They don't let them wander all nilly willy all over the place with no supervision. The other 10% of dog owners need to be neutered themselves because they don't know how to train their dogs or can't be bothered. Those people need leashes.

Dogs are dogs and are going to do what dogs do: chase after things. It's up to the owners to deter that and keep their dogs safe. It is your job to supervise your pet. If a cyclist or your dog gets hurt in a collision, it is YOUR FAULT, not the dog's or the other person's. And I'm gonna be real-if it's a choice between me taking the brunt of the damage or your dog, it's gonna be your dog that loses. And that's too bad because that dog needs a better owner.

The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful and I made it back to DC just as it got dark (I was afraid of getting stuck on the towpath after dark since I had a late start).

When I got home, I noticed Kermit desperately needed a bath (and so did I).

Dirty bike!

I was covered in pollen, dust & dead bugs. Yuck! Still, it was worth it.

Miles: 62
Dead bugs consumed: thousands
Turtles spotted: 1
Turtles that came home with me: 0

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#30DaysofBiking: Day 16

Today's adventure involved biking to Nationals Stadium for a little baseball action. I had originally planned on just buying a game day grandstand ticket ($5), but when I mentioned on Twitter that I was going, a very kind follower mentioned that she had an extra ticket for a suite that I was welcome to use. Awesome.

I rode to Nats Park and had no issues with finding my way thanks to the ample & clear signage. The only snag I hit was on the Penn Ave bike lanes because they were blocked off in front of Freedom Plaza because of Emancipation Day activities. A quick detour around and all was good.

I pulled up to the Bike Valet and was relieved to see it wasn't quite full yet (but almost!). I was worried because I was a bit late and the outside racks were packed. But there was still a few spots open. I love the Bike Valet. So easy & convenient.

I picked up my ticket and found my way to the suite. WOW. You folks can keep your grandstand seats. I'm sticking with the fancy seats where I don't have to mingle with the common rabble. I had my own bathroom, refrigerator, television, microwave and cozy couches. Plus beer, soft drinks & hot dogs. I am a spoiled girl.

I'm really proud of myself because I managed to stick around for the whole game (I noticed a good 1/3 of the fans heading for the exits around the 7th inning. Traffic must be awful).

The Nats won, and I had a great time getting to know a fellow #BikeDC girl (and her coworkers).

Riding up to the Stadium:

Fancy seats:

Inside the suite:

It's not really baseball unless you have a hotdog:

If you squint, you can see the Presidents racing around.

On the way back I stopped at the Hirschhorn to see Song 1. Again. While I was there, I saw this blurry horse & carriage go by.

Overall, a perfect Spring evening.

Miles: 12
Hotdogs consumed: 1
Number of times I almost got taken out by a foul ball: 1

Monday, April 16, 2012

#30DaysofBiking: Day 14 & 15

I was so tired after work on Saturday that I couldn't muster the energy for a blog post about my ride. I got off work a little early, and had planned on riding to the Titanic Memorial to catch the last bit of the 100 year commemoration ceremony. Instead, I got a phone call from a friend with a minor emergency and ended up riding to see him instead. It turned out to be nothing, and I was in the Columbia Heights area so I stopped to check out a few places I haven't been to in awhile. (Wonderland Ballroom & Meridian Pint)

I didn't miss much.

Miles: 3

Yesterday was the Charity Bike Wash. I rode Betty out to the shop and got ready for 4 hours of filthy bike washing. It was a success. Folks started rolling in around 12:30 and we had a steady stream of bikes all the way to the end. We didn't even get a break. But it was a lot of fun, and we raised over $200 for the Unity Tour so that's awesome. That's about 20 bikes that we scrubbed. Next time, I will get more volunteers and bring along some music. Thank you to everyone that stopped by, and a big thank you to The Daily Rider for hosting us, and Finish Line for donating all of our bike scrubbing needs.

Our first customer:


Mir, hard at work.

Here I am (the back of me, anyway) working on a Raleigh. I have no idea why I have so many rags in my pockets.

People lining up:

(photos stolen from various sources)

Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a celebratory dinner at the Queen Vic, which is just down the street.

I found this:

And loved it. And drank a few more :-)

Then it was time to turn towards home.

Miles: 6ish. My iPhone died on the way home, so I'm not sure...
Yorkshire puddings consumed: 1
Number of times I had to shower to get all the bike grime off: 2

Friday, April 13, 2012

#30DaysofBiking: Day 13

Happy Friday the 13th! I managed (for once) to get up early and ride downtown to take part in #FridayCoffeeClub at M.E. Swings Coffee Co. This is a bike meet-up that's been going on for awhile, but I've never attended before because it's super early in the morning for me.

I actually had a dream that I woke up, got dressed and rode down to the coffee shop. I was a little aggrieved when I really did wake up and discovered that I was still in my bed. I was even more put-out when I saw the temperature reading of 45. Brrr.

Still, I got dressed and headed out. It was pretty early so the morning rush hour hadn't really gotten into gear yet. I took the 15th St cycle track to the White House and then swung over to the coffee shop. Very uneventful. Not even a single rude honk.

There was only one bike out front, so I knew I was early. It was a whopper of a bike though-with huge Surly balloon tires. It caught the attention of everyone passing by (ssshhh don't tell Betty but I think she was jealous). It belonged to someone I follow on twitter, so it was cool to meet them in the flesh.

I went inside and ordered myself a double americano and a muffin. Sure enough, more bikes appeared outside and folks trickled in. It was nice to see some familiar faces, meet some new ones & to put twitter names to real people.

M.E. Swings

Lot of bikes & people riding them!

Even the Zombies made an appearance. I think this Zombie was a little jealous that Bert had two arms.

It was a lot of fun and I look forward to attending again. I think I can get up early at least once a week ;-)

Miles: 4.6
Number of awesome people met: all of them
Number of hours to come down from caffeine high: 4

#30DaysofBiking: Day 12

Another late night, post-work ride. Didn't have a particular errand or destination in mind, so I just rode the 15th st cycle track to the White House and back. The problem with biking at this time of night is running into club/bar areas. I hate navigating around drunk people. I knew the cycle track would be pretty empty & quiet, and ditto downtown.

I always get paranoid when I stop at the White House at night. I feel like I'm being scrutinized by the Secret Service. Especially when I'm the only one there (which I was). It's silly, I know.

Somewhere in this really dark photo, you can see the White House. Just squint a bit.

The Old Executive Office Building.

I rode out the other side of Pennsylvania because I could hear Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" blasting from somewhere. Sure enough when I turned onto 17th, there was a bar with a large crowd in the front patio blasting music. I have no idea how they are able to get away with playing music so loud. Anyway, they all looked like undergrads and 90% were wearing some sort of sports garb, so it was definitely not my scene. I turned around and headed back home.

Miles: 4.75
Number of cyclists I saw without lights: 3
Number of secret service eyeing me suspiciously: too many

Thursday, April 12, 2012

#30DaysofBiking: Day 11

I was exhausted from my early training class today, and it's really cold outside. I knew I wasn't going to get a significant ride in, so decided to just ride to the grocery store a block away...which closed early for the night. Oh well.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another cold day, so we'll see how that goes.

Miles: .53
Late night snack cravings satisfied: NONE

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bike Wash this weekend! Photo contest!

I hope you guys are ready for the Big Bike Wash this Sunday! I am super excited because it looks like its going to be a lot of fun. For those that might not know about it:

Bring your bikes to The Daily Rider (1108 H St NE) this Sunday from Noon until 4pm for a thorough scrubbing. $10 per bike will get you a wash & lube (including chain). The money is to support The Police Unity Tour, which myself & my friend Mir, are riding in May. The Police Unity Tour raises money for the Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. We will be riding from Richmond, VA to Washington, DC from May 10th-May 12th.

Finish Line Products (they make all sorts of bike maintenance goodies) is helping to sponsor the Bike Wash. And that means...prizes!

First up is this nifty Bike Bucket:

Tweet or email me a photo of your "filthy" bike by 11:59pm (EST) Saturday. Include the hashtag #bikefilthy. The person with the "filthiest" bike will win this bucket! (please keep photos safe for work).

We've got some other stuff too, but I haven't figured out a good contest for it yet.

Anyway, you will definitely want to be at this event! What if you don't have a bike to wash, or you want a wash but don't have the cash? You can always volunteer to help us wash them! Shoot me an email if you want to help out!

Note: it will be a lot easier if you bring your bikes directly to the rear of the shop, rather than through the front door. There is alley access off of 11th St. We will have banners and signs up, so don't worry.

Also, we will be having a #BikeDC happy hour (yes I know there's no happy hours on Sundays. We do our own thing) after the wash. It will most likely be at Lil Miss Whiskey's since its right next door. So make sure you stick around for that!