As I spend a beautiful weekend indoors nursing an irritated sciatic nerve, I
thought I'd write about my bike commute. My commuting route winds through
sleepy Washington DC suburban neighborhoods, down hill along a stream, across a
regional park and creek, up hill under an eight lane intestate highway, along a
major commuter artery where vehicles travel 40 miles per hour, through quiet
urban neighborhoods, and finally, 8 miles from home, onto the grounds of the
worlds 6th largest cathedral. Departing the house about 6:15am, I cycle in the
cool predawn air, passing a few joggers and mostly dark homes. After two and
half miles of peaceful suburban roads, I join a steady stream of cars. The
constant whine and hum of traffic quickens my pace. Three miles later I slip
onto quiet neighborhood streets as the sky brightens. Back on a six lane urban
road the cathedral beckons in the distance. I arrive invigorated for the day!
At 5:30pm, I reverse the route as I exercise away the days frustrations and
mistakes. The final two and a half miles to my house wind along a creek where
the roar of traffic grows fainter and dusk settles in as I give thanks for the
day as I spin contentedly toward home.
Since early April, I have made this ride exclusively on my rehabilitated
Romulus with albatross bars and a small Saddlesack. Nimble, quick and
comfortable, this bike is an extension of my body such that I feel I am in it
rather than riding on it. The shorter wheelbase and uptight riding position
puts me over the rear 35mm tire so I feel the road the way I would in a sports
car-a bit rough but in command.
I greet runners, walkers, and cyclists while marveling at how many respond in
the morning and how relatively few I encounter in the evening. Kindred souls
take to the road in the morning darkness.* I marvel at the politeness and
courteousness of most drivers. I wave a hand in thanks much more often than I
glare or gesture at an inattentive or aggressive driver. I try to put Mildred
Norman's words into action: "But, you see, I love people and I see the good in
them. And you're apt to reach what you see. The world is like a mirror: If you
smile at it, it smiles at you. I love to smile, and so in general, I definitely
receive smiles in return."
Fall's chill is creeping in, and I must layer more clothes. Soon I will be
carrying my work clothes while cycling in winter gear and changing at work.
To that end the Cheviot is built with rack and large Saddlesack, ready to take
over as my daily commuter until spring. The Romulus will get cleaned and
tuned-up to be ready for weekend adventures.
I placed my favorite photos from my 2016 Romulus commutes in a folder:
https://flickr.com/photos/86975051@N08/sets/72157674823367155 I will add more
as they occur.
The Cheviot is ready, and I look forward to the beauty of fall and winter
mornings. Cheviot photos here:
Safe cycling wishes to all,
*I love the early morning hours, yet I am not a morning person. Vocational
obligations and a loathing of heavy traffic get me out the door early on
weekdays, while weekends find me sleeping later.
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