Thoughts While Cycling

  • This year we never got that March day described in William Wordsworth’s “To My Sister”:

It is the first mild day of March:
Each minute sweeter than before
The redbreast sings from the tall larch
That stands beside our door.

Even today, oohed and ahhed about by the TV weather people, it was sunny and 55˚, six degrees under the average for the date.  Granted it was pleasant enough, largely because the wind was not sharp and cold out of the northwest, as it has been most of the month.  But it was hardly a “mild day,” and there has not been one yet.

  • Easter weekend has brought out a new, annoying walking style on the W&OD.  Apparently a number of local families have friends visiting, because yesterday and today I encountered groups of six to fifteen walkers, strolling along in echelons of 2×3 to 5×3, all talking and gesturing.  Three abreast is more than the trail can handle on one side, especially if one of them is a wide load.  So the group overhangs, making it hard to see around them to verify that it’s safe to pass.
  • I’ve had a couple of brief conversations on the trail the last couple of days.  Usually I like to push it enough so that talk doesn’t come easy very much, and so I don’t like to converse because it entails riding too slowly.  But these guys each needed some directions, and I was glad to oblige.  One was from Bethesda, doing a long loop from Rosslyn out to the Custis and then back in to Rosslyn, to catch the Capital Crescent Trail home.
  • Of course this time of year another reason I don’t like trail companions is that my face is a mess of sorts, with my hyperactive sinus.  Not a pretty sight, I’m guessing.
  • To give another idea of how cold it’s been, much to my surprise there were Spring Peepers singing today!  There must have been a whole contingent that thought it was just too cold and raw to mate back in early March.  They were the smart ones.  If Darwinian theory holds, this population should be more numerous and prosperous over the next couple of hundred years.  We’ll have to hang around to find out.
  • On my way back home today I had a tailwind. I can’t say how much more rewarding that makes a long ride like my trek out to Ashburn.  All the effort of riding into the wind for 18 miles pays off.
  • As I pulled up to the light at Maple Avenue coming back, I noticed the rider ahead of me was a blonde woman.  She was riding an old red Giant bike whose aluminum frame was a really clumsy no-nonsense design, with big lumpy welds.  Looked like a 50/39 crank.  Custom saddle.  She was wearing a sort of rose-pink jacket, and her calf-length tights had a Pearl Izumi logo strategically placed on the left rear.  “Well,” I thought, “the landscape has improved.  I’m going to regret it when we get to the hill and I have to pass her.”  Got to the bottom of the hill.   She rode me right off her wheel.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

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