While biking to work today I had an epiphany. And by epiphany I mean the kind of realization that arrives with the clarity afforded by a near death experience.
Because that is in fact what I experienced.
In less than ten minutes.
There was the guy who roared through a red light at the Key Bridge M Street intersection. There was the woman who did a no-look pull out from her parking spot (and almost took out the car ahead of me as well). The final one happened a mere hundred meters from the entrance to my work when some shitwit in a Land Rover (an oldie but a goodie: What is the difference between a Land Rover and a hedgehog? With a hedgehog the pricks are on the outside) roared out of the parking spot where he’d just been dropping off his his over-privileged ankle-biter at the snooty private high school down the road with such velocity that he careered into the oncoming lane of traffic. As my brother would say, obviously running late for his meeting of Arseholes Anonymous.
People in this area love to debate with either mild jocularity or spittle-flinging fury (depending on whether the conversation is around the water cooler or over the Internet (more about that in a moment)) whether DC, Maryland or Virginia drivers are the worst in the region. However this is basically like debating which is worse: a serial killer, a cannibal serial killer, or a necrophiliac cannibal serial killer.
Only five weeks have passed since one of the most significant protest events ever to have graced Washington DC’s National Mall. Already it seems like it happened millennia ago. Which, of course, is all part of the President Pennywise strategy, a tactic honed during the campaign. Start each day with some new outrage against decency and pretty soon people will not only have trouble recalling the past, they won’t want to. They will voluntarily give up the act of memory because it is too confusing and painful.
But I’ve been thinking about the Women’s March again recently and, contra the Pennywise strategy, found myself recalling something I’d forgotten. That my experience of that day was intimately connected with the fact that in among everything else that was going on, it was for me also a biking event.
Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before.
And yes, before anyone points out the obvious, I’m mixing my REM references.
My partner and I often talk about our Bike Mojo. But it occurred to me recently that we use “mojo” in a different way than most people. When people talk about their mojo they are using it to describe a skill or ability. Whether you are claiming to be an awesome playuh with the opposite sex or an awesome player of the guitar, talking about your mojo conveys something about your flash and dash.
But for us mojo connotes in part our enjoyment of an activity, but also our desire for the activity in the first place. So we’ll often have a conversation about how one or other of us has “lost their Bike Mojo.” That doesn’t just mean that we don’t feel like biking, it means that when we do go biking, we don’t enjoy it. The weather might be great, the road might roll accommodatingly, the wind might be always at our backs. . .but there’s no delight. No joy.
My Bike Mojo has taken a few serious hits recently.
Posted in Bike Rides, Life Cycling, Life, and Other Ephemera
Tagged African American history, Alexandria Virginia, biking, Civil War, cycling, Freedman's Cemetery Memorial, memorials, Mount Vernon Bike Trail
Hey, buddy! Next time get the one with cupholders! Photo by tejvanphotos (Creative Commons License).
Now here’s a fun way to spice up your fall biking. . .assuming that fall ever does decide to put in an appearance in our region. Mary G., a local randonneur (well, technically, randonneuse because, you know, the French are sticklers for that sort of thing) has just published the rules for her 6th Annual Coffeeneuring challenge. In a nutshell, this involves biking to seven different coffee shops over the next seven weeks, documenting the adventure, and then sending the results in for a small (a very small: no one is going to retire to Aruba on this one) prize. Rides can be as long or as short as you like, coffee can be good or bad.
Kit ‘n Kish 600k
Now kids, gather round while your jolly Uncle Mark dispenses some sage wisdom about how to lead a virtuous life. . .and how to be a successful randonneur. The key thing you gotta remember is this: stay clear of poop.
- Avoid other people’s poop.
- Don’t poop on other people.
- Don’t poop on yourself.
If you can manage those three things, your odds of finishing a long ride, and the long ride of life, go up dramatically.
It has been a strange year, randonneuring wise, and a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that it is a Paris-Brest-Paris year. This 1200k ride is the equivalent of the World Championships of randonneuring. It only comes around every 4 years, and you have to ride a complete Super Randonneur series (a 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k) the year before to ensure your registration, and then ride another in the same calendar year to qualify. Thousands of riders from all around the world meet in Paris in August to try and complete the ride from Paris to the coast and back in 90 hours (or less; there are other time categories for the genuinely insane). Quite a few people from our local club were participating but I was not among them.
Posted in Bike Rides, Life Cycling, Randonneuring
Tagged Ames, bicycling, cycling, Infrastructure, Iowa, Iowa Biking, Madison, Midwest, Roading, Upper Midwest, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Biking
A Road to Somewhere
I spend a great deal of my biking life doing one of three things: commuting, training, or participating in events. While those activities are often singularly enjoyable, what they all lack is another primary source of cycle-related pleasure: exploration. Perhaps inspired by my recent sojourn in New Zealand where my partner and I did a lot of exploring by bike, I’ve been trying to throw in a few more exploratory rides myself.