Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Gearing Up for Summer

“You ride a lot, but you ride slow,” the mechanic said to me, as I picked up my bike after a much-needed tune up. He must have seen my face blanch as he quickly backpedaled explaining, “not like these racers.”

How could he tell, just from looking at my bike, I wondered. And the truth is, I do ride a lot, but I’m not very fast. My natural cycling cadence is leisurely and I’m rarely in a hurry. But here’s the thing: I’ve had this beautiful bike for three years and recently told the Cycling Yogi, “I feel like I wasted my money getting 18 gears, since I only ever use the 9 on the ‘easy’ chain ring.” Perhaps this granny-like cycling habit showed to the bicycle-whisperer who’d done my tune up. (By the way – a shout out is in order to Bike Club in Falls Church, which let me bring in the bike yesterday and had it done in 3 hours – a fortunate event, as it later turned out.)

So, with the lovely cool morning and newly spiffed-up bike, I went out this morning to ride from about mile 5 of the W&OD Trail out to Hunter Mill Road (about mile 15). The brakes were tight and the gears shifted smoothly like a brand new bike. And I decided to gear up, pushing the chain onto the larger ring. This was a good ride for my new experiment, as there is only one sizeable hill each direction. And to my delight, I was easily able to ride using the tougher gears – only slipping back to the smaller ring for the aforementioned hills.

On my ride home I got a phone call from my daughter, whose car started smoking on I-270. She arranged to have it towed to Rockville and I rearranged the two appointments I had for the week that required my car (one out in un-bike-friendly Fairfax and the other taking my two dogs to the vet). In a serendipitous bit of luck, as she was waiting for the tow truck some friends of hers spotted her on the road and drove her to her appointment in DC. Later in the afternoon, I drove to NW DC to give her my car to use until hers is fixed (which won’t be until Sunday).

Given the single-tracking nightmare on Metro, I decided to avoid it. I took a bike share from Friendship Heights to Rosslyn and, from there, took the ART bus home. The bike share is fine for the mostly-downhill portion of my ride, but having already cycled 25 miles by then, I could not face taking the heavy thing up the hill from Rosslyn. However, on a side note, I had just noticed the previous evening that a new bike share is now open at the East Falls Church Metro station – less than a mile from my house. I’m guessing that Orange and Silver Line Metro-hell helped speed up this long-awaited development.

Yay - at last a Bike Share station walking distance from home!

 So, given that I will be car-free for the next few days, I’m extra happy that I got my tune up done and that the weather is cooperating with mild temperatures and sunshine.

Speaking of mild temperatures and sunshine, here's a photo from Bike to Work Day 2016 - where I, once again, volunteered at Fresh  Bikes in Ballston, handing out T-shirts and raffle tickets. 

I was glad to get a new water bottle because, can you believe it, on one of the really hot days I was parked by Ballston mall and someone stole my 2015 Bike to Work Day water bottle off my bike - making for a thirsty ride home. Not cool, thief!!!

Stealing water on a hot day - NOT COOL!!!

And, making this blog a spring round-up - I was delighted to see a new bike work station installed outside the Tenley library - where I ride from time to time for a free viniyoga class.

Way to go DC!

Note my bike and backpack in the background
And now for some time on the foam roller...