Monday, November 28, 2011

A tale of danger, adversity, and triumph!

Apparently the weather in Northern Virginia decided to turn into late spring while Scott and I were enjoying time with the entire family at my aunt's cabin in North Carolina. Happily, the streak has continued since our return and I was able to take Rose out for a leisure ride on Sunday.

I pointed her towards Reston with the intention of checking out a bike shop in Reston Town Center. It's been quite a while -- well over a year -- since I last visited RTC and I've never been through there on a bike. It was quite fun pedaling through a pseudo city center with tall buildings and lots of foot traffic. I got to experience the phenomenon of being completely invisible to pedestrians. They'd look up and down the street, checking for cars, and step right out in front of me. Awesome. The bike shop visit was just as awesome. I admit I wasn't being terribly fair to them by showing up in a flowery top and skirt, but I was wearing my bike gloves and had just locked up my bike right outside the front window. I wandered the store for five minutes or so and was completely ignored by the sales clerks who were much more interested in tending to the lycra-clad men. There wasn't anything in that store which I couldn't procure from my beloved Spokes, so no love lost.

After that experiment, I pedaled back down to the W&OD and figured I'd explore a few more neighborhoods closer to home, but as I got to the top of the Fairfax County Parkway overpass, I stopped to sip a little water and took a look at the Ffx Co Pkwy trail. When in the car, we're usually driving south to see friends or go shopping; we hardly ever have a need to take the parkway north. And with that consideration in mind, I turned around and hopped on the northbound leg of the FCPT. (I don't know if anybody else calls it that, but I don't want to spell out the entire name over and again.)

The crossing at Elden was a little dicey and I hopped off the bike and walked the crosswalks. Beyond that there were only a few at-grade crossing with wide open rolling hills which I happily careened down with a huge-@ss grin on my face. After a few miles, I reached Rte 7/Leesburg Pike and had to figure out how to get from there to Sterling proper. Happily, there was a pedestrian path on the bridge and I was able to make it to the other side of 7 without incident. Unfortunately, the path on the other side of 7 emptied into a neighborhood of cul-de-sacs which then emptied back onto 7 but further east. There was no way to get across the Parkway and no way to head home on the west-bound side of 7. I needed to go about half a mile to get onto Dranesville Road and there was no apparent way to get there and I was NOT going to ride my bike on a six-lane divided road with 45 or 55mph (I can't remember what it is through there, but it hardly matters since everyone speeds) traffic. I whipped out the phone and examined a map of the area and discovered a path on the east-bound side of 7. Hooray!

The path wasn't in great shape, but any port in a storm, you know? I crossed Dranesville safely and opted to ride the sidewalk (I know, I know) until I realized that the road had bike lanes. Whoo hoo! Of course, I was on the road for only one block, but I soaked up as much bike lane goodness as I possibly could. Then I was finally back in my stomping grounds, if a couple miles north of my house.

I was tiring out as I was about fourteen miles into my ride and the mountains hills in that part of town are deceptively steep and/or long. I started craving grapes which meant I'd have to stop at the grocery store on the way home. But I was tired. Silly girl, just stop at the store; there's no sense in going home and driving a mile and a half. I couldn't argue with that and stopped for grapes. And salad fixings. And milk. And cereal. And soup. And ice cream, for good measure.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm not so good at spatial... things? My mantra is "it'll fit!" and it usually does, but there's some pretty creative real life Tetris that has to happen in the process. Did I also mention that the only portage I had on my bike was my front basket and rear rack and my little Po Campo purse? After spending a good ten minutes arranging and rearranging groceries and taking the cereal bag out of its cardboard box and bungee'ing a couple of things to the rack, I set off. The overfull basket wobbled and creaked and I had a terrible vision of the brackets snapping just as I crossed the boulevard spilling groceries and me into oncoming traffic.

I pulled over and reassessed my portage set-up. I removed the groceries from the rack and used the hooks on the basket to attach it to the rack. I knew those hooks wouldn't hold the basket in place when I hit the first bump and I bungeed the ever-loving heck out of that basket. I stuffed the other groceries into the bag and hoped for the best. With my purse attached to the handlebars and my bike listing ever so slightly to port, I headed home.

Fully loaded.

By this point, I was pretty wiped out and my middle gears were becoming too hard to operate. I downshifted just before the entrance to my street and threw my chain. Really? Really really? Thankfully, I almost always have a handkerchief in my purse and it did a fairly good job of cleaning off the chain grease so I didn't accidentally smear it all over my clothes.

The upside of being in a lower gear when I hit my neighborhood meant that the steep hill was MUCH easier to climb and I arrived at home without being completely out of breath and shattered. Which is good since after unloading the groceries, I had to take my husband to urgent care for a tetanus shot to counter the rusty nail he landed against while goofing around during a parkour-esque run. (We drove and he's okay. Amputation wasn't necessary.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

A week of not riding

All driving and no cycling makes Melanie Suzanne a cranky girl. I was too worn out by the weekend's activities to ride to work Monday. Then the weather on Tuesday kept me off the bike. It's not that I'm afraid I'll melt in the drizzle and rain; I'm terrified of crashing because of wet pavement. I've mentioned the ramp of the western side of the Route 28 overpass as being pretty darn steep. It's steep enough that I could not consistently ride up until a little over a month ago. It's steep enough that I can coast for 1/3 of a mile from the base (unless there's a 20mph headwind). I also have a pretty steep hill leaving my neighborhood that has me riding the brakes every day, but that's mostly because I want to be ready when a car invariably backs out of its parking spot and into the drive lane. I'm also pretty accident prone; luckily, only one crash has put me in the ER.

Oh yeah, I was writing a litany of why I didn't bike. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday all had dental and hair appointments which were not easily or safely accessible via bike. Okay, one hair appointment, one teeth cleaning, and one braces-tightening (ouch) which, unfortunately, could not all be stacked on the same day. And the weather was SO GOOD, too. Saturday was an SCA event and Sunday was a Cirque du Soliel show. A whole week of not biking. And this week doesn't look much better what with our trip to my aunt's cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. Her cabin is in a fantastically picturesque area with rutted gravel roads and one paved road with no shoulders and sharp drop-offs. Did you see the part above about accident prone? Yeah...

However, I am carrying my Schwinn cruiser (and helmet and accessories) to the mountains to give to my sister. I might sneak out for a quick ride and see if the roads really are that treacherous. Hopefully, the closest emergency room isn't two hours away in Asheville or Chattanooga.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


For grins, I decided to compare my vehicle and bike commute times and distances. I've been tracking my bike commute mileage and time via the MapMyRide app on my phone and for this experiment I tracked the time and distance from unlocking the bike at the bike rack to dismount in Scott 's parking space. For the vehicle commute, I used the stopwatch function on my phone to track my time from unlocking the truck to turning it off at the destination and the truck's odometer to track distance from parking space to parking space.

Bike Commute
Time to/from work: average 25m 20s
Distance: 4.77 miles

Truck Commute
Time to work: 14m 28s (huh. I've always thought it was only 10 minutes.)
Time from work: 20m 30s (huh. I've always thought it was at least 30 minutes.)
Distance: 5.0 miles

There are a couple of surprising results. If you'd asked me before this comparison, I would have assured you that the bike route was a longer distance. How could it not be? I have to swing way north of the direct (vehicular) route to the campus, but then again, the bike route is more diagonal than the right angles of the vehicle route.

The most surprising, to me anyway, results have nothing to do with the comparison between modes of transportation. Both drive times were completely different from what I've assumed them to be. And that twenty minute drive home? A solid ten minutes of that drive is spent sitting at stop lights. I didn't think to time lights on the drive in, but I tend to hit more greens in the morning.

What does all this SCIENCE mean? Not much, in the grand scheme of things. It takes more time to bike -- but not that much more -- and then I need a cool-off period after locking up the bike (and before facing people) that isn't necessary after driving. On the other hand, I'm pretty much guaranteed fifty minutes of physical activity when I don't drive the truck. Despite saving time with the truck, I don't really do anything special with those extra fifteen minutes and I'm usually crabbier after driving in evening traffic.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Social engagement

My friend Co. hosted a Lia Sophia party this afternoon (like Tupperware or Partylite, but jewelry) and I'd been going back and forth mentally on whether I'd drive or bike. As of this morning I was still pretty tired and sore from yesterday's excursion and, for the first time ever, I was not excited about the prospect of riding. The overpass bridges between my house in Sterling and hers in Reston are steep and I was afraid of the mile of playing in traffic I'd have to do between trail and her neighborhood. However, as I showered and dressed my enthusiasm perked back up and I felt jazzed by the challenge of trying something new.

My ensemble of heels, tights, skirt, tank, and bolero (I stowed my cardigan in my bag so it wouldn't be all sweaty) garnered a few stares along the route. I felt so prissy and girly with a bag in my basket and dinging my bell to alert pedestrians I was passing. The overpasses weren't nearly so tough today; probably because I was taking it nice and slow to keep the sweating to a minimum. The playing in traffic part of the trip wasn't nearly as scary as I'd feared it would be, either. Co. and everybody else in attendance at the party were amazed that I'd ridden my bike the 7.5 miles there, and in dressy clothes. Hee!

The first part of the ride home held a bit of excitement, mostly because I had forgotten the number of turn lanes to get onto the street that would take me to the trail and I wound up in the leftmost left turn lane. At the top of the lane, too, with cars stacked up next to me and behind me. Interestingly, I was faster off the line than the truck in the lane to my right. After making that turn and determining that the right lane was open, I signaled and moved over. The car that had patiently stayed behind me continued past at a polite and non-threatening speed. Bless.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful except for being startled by three does leaping across the trail just after I'd crossed the county line. Apparently I have a preferred expletive for deer crossings because it's the same word I used Thursday night.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Achievement unlocked: Epic Ride! (for me, anyway)

I set a (what seemed at the time) pie-in-the-sky goal for myself when I started biking in May: ride from my house to Washington, D.C. Yesterday, I got it into my head that I wanted to try biking to Rosslyn but I felt a little daunted by the twenty-five mile one-way route. Scott begged off from the ride because he had a lot of work-work to do this weekend. A ha! He could come and rescue me at the end of my ride.

This morning I decided that if I felt strong enough when I got to Rosslyn, I'd continue on down to Gravelly Point Park, where we'd started the costume ride in DC a few weeks ago. Scott agreed to pick me up wherever my travels took me and after packing my basket with snacks, a light jacket, and iPod with external speaker holder thingie (in case I got lonely and needed musical accompaniment), I was off.

The ride from Sterling to Reston felt especially difficult; I'm not sure why. I took a quick break at a trail side gazebo and guzzled a little water while exchanging my fleece gloves for my regular fingerless gloves. The ride from Reston to Vienna and on to Falls Church was easier and I kept a pretty good pace of spinning. After crossing Rte 7 in Falls Church, I stopped in a little park and snacked, hydrated, a gave Scott an update of my whereabouts.

Falls Church park

I knew that I would eventually jump off the W&OD Trail and jump onto the Custis Trail, but I wasn't sure where that would happen. I passed a confusing sign before the W&OD dumped me onto a residential street. I'd remembered seeing that part of the trail on the map last night, but I couldn't remember if that was before or after the intersection. Smart phone and intarwebs to the rescue! The answer: continue on the W&OD for another mile or so. As luck would have it, I misread the next sign and actually did go in the wrong direction at the intersection of trails, but my niggling doubt kicked in only a couple dozen feet after the intersection and, after turning around, I was back on the right route.

To Downtown

Custis Trail

This was my first time on the Custis and it hugs up against I-66 with lots of ups and downs to go over or under road crossings. There are LOTS of blind corners and more than once I would call out "passing on your left" to a pedestrian and then follow up with "oops, no, not yet" as another cyclist popped up from around the blind corner.

Custis curve

There are a couple of road crossings at grade in Rosslyn, but they all have lights, some of which are bike specific lights. Cool!

I elected not to take the Key Bridge into Georgetown and continued on the trail down a switch-backy ramp to a small trail- and river-side parking lot which opened onto the Mount Vernon trail. Before continuing south, I turned around and rode off-road for a bit under the ramp and along the river until I found a clear spot where I could snap a photo of Georgetown.


My spidey sense wasn't going off, but I kept thinking that I was going to get mugged or stumble across a drug deal and be murdered. Luckily, neither happened and I skedaddled back to the relative safety of the populated trail. I phoned Scott to tell him I felt great and that I was continuing on the Mount Vernon Trail to Alexandria. He said he was leaving and would meet me at Gravelly Point.

Mt Vernon Trail

Of course I couldn't resist snapping photos of the District skyline.


Speaking of not resisting, I decided that since I SO CLOSE, I had to jump onto the 14th Street Bridge and pop across to DC for just a couple of minutes. A tourist a the Jefferson Memorial was kind enough to snap photographic evidence of my achievement.


And with that, I made the final leg of my journey back to Virginia and down to the park. Three hours (to the minute) after leaving home, I was sitting on a picnic table twenty-nine miles from home and snapping photos of planes landing at Reagan National.

Reagan National landing

Scott picked me up fifteen minutes later and I basked in the happiness and pride of achieving a goal I'd set for myself six short months ago. Maybe in another six months I'll be able to ride the trails back home.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Everyone knows it's Windy

Good gracious, the wind was high this morning. It felt like there was a head-wind in every direction -- although, I can't vouch for the east because that's the one direction I don't travel on the morning commute. I couldn't coast much. Even down the Rte 28 overpass which normally lets me build up enough speed to coast 1/3 of a mile... nothing: I was at a near standstill at the bottom of the hill. I struggled all the way to the campus and I haven't felt so physically exhausted since my first few rides back in May.

I got pelted in a shower of pine needles while exiting my neighborhood. That was a new experience. Sunglasses as eye-protection, for the win. Also? The fingerless arm warmers kept my forearms comfy and cozy in the wind chill. I'm still looking for leg/knee warmer with good reviews. I may just break down and pull out the long-johns for wearing under jeans. If nothing else, I won't need to run the space heater under my desk all day.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


It was full dark again when I left work tonight but I felt little fear with my trusty head- and tail-lights and blinky lights and reflectors and near-fluorescent jacket. Rawr. Traffic was a breeze and I got an appreciative up-and-down look and smile from a cute guy in the SUV next to me at the stoplight. Oh yeah, the plaid skirt, red tights, and red heels got me a LOT more attention than jeans or lycra ever have. Heh.

Once on the trail, I tried not to let the feeling of isolation get to me. I've been able to follow another female cyclist most of the way to Pacific the last two nights, but she wasn't around tonight. I got a little mesmerized by the moon but quickly put my attention back on the trail and made myself not ride ahead of my light.

I'm so glad I remembered to do that since a ghostly, deer-shaped form appeared at the farthest reach of my illumination in one of the darkest parts of the trail. I dinged my bell a few times and the doe startled and jumped off the trail. Unfortunately, a second doe jumped onto the trail. I think my scream scared that one off.

I passed a couple of west-bound commuters further up the trail and hollered "deer ahead!" I didn't hear any screams or crashes, so I guess everyone got past the danger successfully.

There was one semi-casualty this evening, though. I hit a speed bump too fast in the neighborhood across the street and wound up ripping one of the rivets which holds my Basil Mirte's hooks. I heard a grinding crunching sound behind me and the bike shuddered and skidded. I thought I'd popped my rear tire. Nope. The poor, overloaded bag had shifted down and back and the corner was caught in my back spokes. I wasn't happy about that, but at least I didn't have to change a tire for the first time in the dark or walk my bike the quarter mile home. I limped over the other speed bumps (good lord, there are a lot of them in our neighborhood!) and got home without further incident. I should be able to put in a new rivet to fix my bag. I hope so anyway. In the meantime, I'll just use my Basil Shopper as my glove compartment/trunk.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Ride-by voting

Swinging by my polling place on the way to work added two miles and 15 minutes to my commute. I got to park my bike right next to the entrance to the polling place which allowed me to completely miss the gauntlet of candidates and/or their volunteers waving papers in my face. Score!

The trail is pretty empty of commuters between 8:20 and 8:40. I don't know if it was lateness of the morning rush or if the other folks are using cars now that it's getting dark so early and getting colder in the mornings and after the sun goes down.

I don't mind the cold; although, I need to add arm and knee warmers on the mornings I don't wear a jacket (yes, yes, the jacket doesn't help the knees). My shirt today has 3/4-length sleeves and my lower arms got a little windburned. My knees get the brunt of the cold air in either jeans or leggings, and I want to be good to my knees because, as the song goes, I'll miss them when they're gone. I had to remove my scarf when I voted, and I tucked the warm gloves in my pannier when I stopped at the light for Waxpool. In the Too Much Information column, I'm going to start wearing a workout bra for the commute because wearing a damp-from-sweat bra throughout the workday sucks.

I haven't ridden in the cold and wet and I most likely won't. But maybe I'll try it once, just to see. Sometimes, I'm too curious for my own good (or Scott's comfort).

Monday, November 07, 2011

Night riding

Tonight's commute was my first planned ride in the dark and it was pretty darn awesome (and safe, thanks to my new headlight and the nearly fluorescent jacket Scott got me). The sun was just setting as I left the campus and the trees at the corner of Waxpool and Smiths Switch were ablaze in shades of reds and oranges. I spotted three does grazing next to the trees. Thankfully, they left me alone and I returned the favor. Traffic wasn't any worse than any other day and I felt pretty comfortable while on the surface streets. I actually felt safer in the dark than I did in this morning's fog.

As soon as I hit the trail and was surrounded by trees, the temperature dropped noticeably. Interestingly, when I crossed the County Parkway overpass, the air temperature shot back up and then dropped again on the other side of the street.

I've never been on the trail at night and it was fun seeing the lit-up backyards of the houses along the trail. So pretty. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's commute and Wednesday's and maybe Thursday's (if it's not raining) and so on and so forth.

Cycling along the C&O

This Sunday, T. and I ventured over to the Maryland side of Great Falls and biked along the C&O Canal for an hour or so.

We had no time constraint (other than the setting sun) and took our time pedaling north and enjoying the post-peak scenery.

We found a camping area at Lock 21 and took a few photos of the Potomac, the waterfall of the lock, and the waterfall of the spillway down to the Potomac. On the way back south, I spotted a Great Blue Heron squatting on a stump across the canal.

We also spotted some mallards paddling about the canal. The three drakes' heads were brilliant green. The one hen in their company was drab, of course. It constantly amuses me that the female of our species is the more flamboyant sex, aside from drag queens.

After passing the information building, we pedaled south a bit further and found a boardwalk leading to an observation deck. I figured that boardwalk would dump us right onto the deck like on the Virginia side of the falls. Nope. It was about a half-mile hike (okay, not exactly a hike since the boardwalk was fairly flat and easily navigable) and I snapped lots of photos of small falls and gorges and rocks. And my own shadow.

And the views from the observation deck? Totally worth the walk. Not quite as spectacular as the Virginia side, but still pretty darn cool.

About this time, I remembered that we had left our bikes unlocked and, even worse, I'd left my pannier (containing car keys and WALLET) the rack. I had horrific visions of my poor Rose being snatched, or even worse, the pannier being grabbed. I practically ran back to the bikes and, to my great relief, found them and my pannier completely unmolested. In fact, several other unlocked bikes had joined our happy little trust corner. Phew!

T. eventually finished taking photos and joined me for a very short jaunt further south. The path was choked with pedestrians and I didn't feel safe (for myself or them) riding through them. T. was starting to tire out and the sun was getting lower and lower in the trees. Time to head back to the parking lot and pack up for the trip home.

Scott and I will have to go up and explore the trail on our bikes. He's never taken the northern route and I'd like to go further afield and find out what lies ahead. I'd also like to go south when there are less people to dodge.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Another experiement with biking in real clothes

It's been nippy in the mornings this week (32F Wed, 39F Thu, 46F Fri) and I decided to ride in regular clothes and give the Lady Cyclist thing another try.

On Wednesday, I wore jeans, cami, cardigan, SmartWool socks, loafers, wool cap, heavy gloves, and a light jacket. I was chilly when I left home, but quite sweaty when I got to work. Stupid overpasses (although, I am grateful not to cross many streets at grade) and the two long, steady inclines just before I get to the campus. Plus, while the hat kept my ears toasty, it trapped too much heat for the rest of my head. My hair was soaked and I kept the hat on until I could spend a fair amount of time in the "privacy" of my cube. Thank goodness I keep a dish towel in my drawer. The ride home in 60F was lovely with the jacket, heavy gloves, and hat stowed in my pannier. I swung up the access path along Pacific to visit the bank and Ulta which gave my legs a rest before tacking my nemesis: the Rte 28 overpass. Clothes were soaked when I got home, but that's okay.

On Thursday, I wore jeans, long-sleeved shirt, SmartWool socks, boots, Buff (to cover my ears), heavy gloves, and a light jacket. My arms were chilly when I left home, but I warmed up quickly. I'm starting to figure out where I can coast and using that to my advantage. I also unbuttoned most of my coat (kept my neck covered) to cool off while playing in traffic during the last mile of my commute. My clothes were mostly dry when I parked the bike, but my hair under the Buff was soaked. *sigh* The afternoon commute was nearly as delicious as the day before, minus the side trip for shopping and plus throwing my chain at the top of the Rte 28 overpass; my clothes were soaked and streaked with chain grease when I got home. I made sure to transfer the baggie of wet wipes from another bag into my pannier for the next post-chain throw clean-up.

I'm making this bike commuting thing sound like fun, aren't I? No really, it is! Plus, if I remember to grab my external speaker thingie for my iPod, I can listen to music or podcasts on the commute. (I am not going to wear earphones while on the bike.)

For Friday, I realized that my third and last pair of jeans was in the hamper. Oh noes! I didn't want to wear my light-colored cotton slacks because they might show super embarrassing sweat spots. I've got to get more dark colored pants. What I did find was the skirt that I wore as part of my cheerleader costume. I picked the orange and white triangles out of the gores, and with the addition of a black cami, black leggings, multi-colored SmartWool socks, black boots, white & black cardigan, and a red scarf I was set to be an elegant-ish Lady Cyclist commuter.

The elegance mostly worked. At least I managed not to get my red lipstick on my cheek, chin, or forehead (which is a total win). My face was flushed and damp, but my clothes were dry. The hair? Well, the hair is going to continue being a problem, but if I get it cut into a choppier style which lets me just shake my head and go, it will be less of a problem. Biking in a skirt? So. Much. Fun. Plus, there was no flashing of an unsuspecting public, whoo hoo!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Halloween Costume Ride

On Sunday, Scott and I donned our costumes (Seattle biker and cheerleader, respectively) and slogged through horrific traffic (due to road closures for the Marine Corps Marathon) to Gravelly Point Park where we joined the Bike Me DC! group for an in-costume ride through the streets of DC. Happily, the sun was out, the temperature wasn't bad considering the snow storm the day before, and everyone was in high spirits.We had to have a group picture before setting off, of course.The crew

We rode up the Mount Vernon Trail...
On the trail

...and across the 14th Street Bridge...
14th St Bridge

...and on up to the Jefferson Memorial.

Our leader, "Charlie Brown", wanted us to carry our bikes up the steps so we could get a group picture in front of Jefferson. The rest of the group rebelled because 1) his was the lightest bike in the group and we were too lazy to lug our heavier bikes all the way up there, and 2) we didn't want to tangle with park police. If you squint, you can see "Chuck" in the yellow shirt just right of center goading us to join him.

From there we tried riding the path along the Mall, but there were just too many people out and about to do that safely or responsibly. After a quick debate, we took to the streets and left the foot paths for the pedestrians. I was keeping an eye out for cars coming up behind and possible doorings ahead and did not snap any photos of the Smithsonian museums nor the colorful foliage.

Next up on the tour was the Capitol.

We crossed the Mall and snapped a few group shoots in front of the building.
Capitol crew

Because we had to wait so long for other group members to arrive (yay, DC traffic), we had to skedaddle back to our origin point so we could make our reservation for the after-ride party. I accidentally snapped a photo of the 1st quarter of the cue sheet (which wound up being the only part of our tour we completed).
Cue sheet

We took to the surface streets again, this time much faster. A few in our group, including our fearless leader, race a lot and really kicked up the speed. We were mostly able to congregate back up at stop lights. Again, no photos because I was keeping an eye on cars behind and car doors ahead and flying along with the pace-setters.

When we got back on the bridge, I did chance a couple overhead and over-shoulder shots of Rosslyn...

...and DC.

Obligatory panda.

I really enjoyed biking in a skirt. I mean, I bike in my Ruu-Muus all the time, but those feel like workout clothes. This skirt was actual real life clothing (albeit altered with appliqued orange and white triangles). I also liked my zip-tied orange pom-poms as streamers despite the left one occasionally covering my rear view mirror.

I asked Scott how he liked biking in a skirt (he wore a Utilikilt) and he said it was "an interesting sensation". He also wore bike tights underneath for warmth and propriety. :)

The party afterwards at the Shirlington Bungalow Billiards was a lot of fun and we got to know everybody a little better. Our fearless leader says he's working on a "lost cherry blossom" ride for next spring. We won't ride around the Tidal Basin because that will be way too mobbed with tourists; instead we'll bike around Northwest (yay. hills. please, oh please let's not bike up [or DOWN!] Wisconsin Avenue.). Can't wait!