The beginning of autumn generally signals prime biking season, with cooler temperatures and clear skies. So it’s no wonder that this week was filled with bike activity.
On Monday I had signed up to help build bikes for DC school children. “Build” would be an overstatement of my abilities, but I was assured that no technical skills would be needed. Organized by Revolution Cycles in Arlington, I rode in still-darkness to arrive at the shop by 7 a.m., in time to be transported by van with other volunteers and Revolution staff to the D.C. Public Schools surplus equipment warehouse in NE Washington.
|Pallets and pallets of bikes in boxes|
It turns out I need not have worried about technical skills. The big job for Monday was getting 400 balance bikes out of their boxes and removing the Styrofoam and so forth, then breaking down the boxes for recycling. The somewhat more skilled among us greased the seat stems and did a few other very minor assembly tasks. The unskilled like myself then transported the finished bikes to a remote area of the warehouse – which took more time that one might imagine. The most skilled volunteers actually assembled 16” and 20” bikes – about 150 of them, in addition to the 400 balance bikes.
|Assembling the balance bikes|
Although it was a beautifully cool day outdoors, the inside of the warehouse was steamy and the large fans that made the temperatures just barely tolerable were painfully loud. But the camaraderie of the volunteers made up for these hardships. That said, I learned that I am not cut out for assembly line work. The repetitive hand movements and lifting, lifting, lifting of the small bikes put quite a strain on my aging body.
|This isn't even all the bikes!|
Still, I’m glad I helped, since all kids should get a chance to learn to ride a bike!
Tuesday I had taken the “car-free day pledge.” I felt like a bit of a cheater, since many of my days, maybe most of my days, are car-free. Also – I was fortunate with the weather, which was clear and crisp. With my trailer I rode to the pick-up spot for my weekly share of vegetables fresh from the farm. It’s just over two miles and I have picked them up by bike nearly every week this season. After taking them home to unload, I rode to the yoga studio for my weekly treat of a gentle Feldenkrais class. Aside from walking the dogs in the morning, those were my only trips of the day.
Wednesday was the Jewish Day of Atonement, or, as the Cycling Yogi has led me to think of it, at-one-ment. I don’t participate in organized services of any kind, but I do believe in having a day for fasting and contemplation. I dropped my dogs at the groomer and headed out to GreatFalls, where I spent the morning walking and enjoying the beauty of rushing river, falling leaf, and ancient rock. I stopped at a farm market on the way back and got pots of mums for my front yard and bright, cut flowers for my living room. The autumnal shades of red, gold, and orange lift my heart and there is something about the tangy scent of marigolds that I find immensely pleasant.
Thursday I planned a big biking circuit. I rode over Chain Bridge to the Capital Crescent Trail, which I took to Dorset Street. This put me a short distance from my dentist’s office, where I was scheduled for a cleaning. I happened to glance at the Washington Post while I was waiting and saw an article about the DC plan to have all second graders learn to ride bikes. There were photos of some of the larger bikes the volunteers assembled this week.
I had planned a few errands in NW Washington – but unfortunately had not checked the public library’s hours. They don’t open until 1 p.m. on Thursdays – so I was unable to procure the book I wanted. I rambled around a bit and picked up a carryout lunch, which I then took to the grounds of the Levine School of Music where I take a singing class. I enjoyed lunch in the shade of a tree. After class, I returned home via Rock Creek Park, which I am getting more familiar with. My circuit totaled 21 miles, which felt like a good day’s ride. The weather stayed mercifully cool.
So fall already has ushered in many happy pedaling miles. Stay tuned, as the official coffeeneuring season is about to kick off next weekend.