thoughtful. entertaining. random.

Month: February 2013

frying the day

Yup, it’s Friday.

I’m thankful for that, because this work week has been dreadful.

All I can say is that I’m glad my new headphones (some extremely brightly colored Urban Beats that I bought last week at TJ Maxx) have excellent sound isolation, because the din of my office has been loud, negative in tone, and (for my co-workers, at least) quite counterproductive. Yes, there were some dramatic developments at my office, but that happens in all offices at some point – I’ve seen it before. I have my job to do, and the noise doesn’t help, so the headphones are a godsend.

That said, I’m looking forward to the weekend. There are plenty of things to do around the house (including trying to find room for another much-needed chest of drawers), and tomorrow’s predicted rainy weather will be conducive to that. On Sunday, I’ll ride the bike, and hopefully will be able to catch three great bands from Iceland down at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. I may watch some (or all) of the Oscars (I’ve seen all five of the “Best Animated Feature” nominees, and four of the nine “Best Picture” nominees).

Above all, I’ll recharge. Recharging is good.

moving right along

A few random musings – not necessarily something like sprite’s “Three Beautiful Things,” but simply a few random bits of reflection.


En route to my “Coffee” control in the 2013 Errandonnée, I had a less-than-excellent interaction with another motorist. He had been boxed out of his lane on Massachusetts Avenue NW, impeded by a taxi that had decided to idle along the curb.

The motorist – a construction worker driving a white van with Maryland tags – tried to pull out in front of me im my lane, not signaling his lane change, simply barging into my lane. I let out a little toot of my horn to let him know that, without a signal, I had no idea of his intent, and wanted him to know that any additional movement of his van would result in a collision.

The horn set this guy off. He rolled down his window and started to unleash a series of F-bombs my way. I tried to wave him off with a small smile, but he was full of steam. I then rolled down my window, and mentioned that a turn signal would have diffused this entire situation.

The result? More F-bombs.

He unleashed a total of 19 – I counted – and I once again, without unleashing a single expletive, mentioned that the turn signal was a courteous thing to do when changing lanes (as well as the legal thing to do). He got out of his van and stood in the path of my car – not a huge deal, as the traffic was heavy and the signals were slow to change, but still not a reassuring position. I asked him to let it go, as we both had places to be.

Then he let forth words that I remember verbatim: “I’m going to fucking murder all you cyclists.”

Charming. And scary. I tweeted out a preemptive apology to other cyclists (my bike was on the roof of the car, as I was headed to Bowie to meet a friend for my “Coffee” ride). Simply having my bike with me (atop the car) made me “the enemy,” which is frightening. This man’s vocabulary was very limited, and I understand that he was not in a great mood (nor was I after my interaction with him). But his reaction shows me that cyclists are still personae non grata to quite a few people on the road.


A cyclist crashed into me on the way home the other night. It was dark, and I had my full complement of lights, rode legally in my lane, signaling all turns and stops, stopping at intersections, engaging positively with other road users (mostly drivers).

The other guy was riding on and off the sidewalk, earbuds planted firmly in his ears, darting around cars by switching lanes, and running all stop signs, all without any lights or reflectors on his vintage 1970-something road bike. The rider was in his mid to late 20s, by my estimate. We had made brief eye contact a few minutes earlier, at 32nd Street and R Streets NW.

As I turned left onto Q Street NW from 28th Street, having stopped at the intersection, waiting for other cars to take their turns. As I rounded the turn, this other cyclist passed to my left, blowing through the stop sign, and clipping my rear wheel. He ran headlong into a parked car.

I stopped to see that he was OK. He’d been bruised, and was angry at me for not noticing him. I proceded to tell him that he was in the wrong in many ways (running stop signs, wearing earbuds, riding in the wrong lane, no lights at night), and the he really should be more careful if he wants to live to see his 30th birthday (OK, I wasn’t that harsh, but I did get him a stern reprimand for being a dumb ass).

Note I haven’t mentioned the fact that, landing head first, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. It took him a minute or two to get his bearings.

The plus: a pedestrian commended me for riding by the letter of the law. I mentioned that it works well in building cyclist relations in a part of town where folks treasure their precious, expensive cars.


OK, this has been a downer, thus far, so let’s look at a positive.

sprite decided to test all of the “fairy lights” (i.e. Christmas lights) we had in The Burrow, and she found that a very long strand that we had written off were, in fact, quite intact. I strung them up around the perimeter of our living room, and the glow is a nice, warm, pink blanket over the room. Hooray!

Sure, there were other things that went on this week, but these were the most notable, and the ones that I felt like writing about.

the errandonnee: wrapping it all up

Today is the last day to log miles and trips for the 2013 Errandonn̩e Рeek! Given I still had a few controls to make, I had to find a way to multitask.

Fortunately, I found the perfect solution: do a lunch run to Whole Foods, book in hand, and pick up some post-work provisions at the same time. It is an elegant – and efficient – solution to this particular problem.

Riding up 37th Street NW toward Glover Park:

Heading north on 37th Street

Welcome to Glover Park:

Welcome to Glover Park

A favorite bit of street art on Hall Place NW:

Street art on Hall Place NW

Parked at the bike rack at Whole Foods in Glover Park, next to the rain barrel display:

Bike and rain barrels

My haul for the Personal Care & Health category: three beers (yes, Mary G. says they count!) and one skyr!

The haul: three beers and one skyr

My lunch, my second Coffee control, and my Library/Reading control, a fun book on artisan cheesemaking in the U.S. From this book, I learned that most cheeses, prior to the rise of industrial dairies in the 1930s and 1940s, was done by women at small farms – and that most of the new, artisan cheesemakers are women who are reclaiming the practice.

Lunch, coffee, book

So, that wraps up the 2013 Errandonnée. Here are the totals:

Total errandonee mileage to date: 137.5
Total controls: 9 categories, 13 controls (Work Commute [x2], Breakfast/Lunch [x2], Dinner, Grocery Store [x2], Bike Shop, Wild Card, Coffee [x2], Library/Reading, Personal Care & Health)

the errandonnee: a wild card and 61.2 miles for coffee

It’s getting down to the wire with the 2013 Errandonnée, so I put in two long rides this weekend that contained, oddly enough, errands!

Saturday I got together with my friends, Chris, Jonathan, and Ed, to ride our bikes from Riley’s Lock out to Sugarloaf Mountain, with a rest stop in Dickerson at their small convenience store – a nice, 52.1 mile round trip.

I’d like to count this as a Personal Care & Health ride, if only because it took me to the snow – and anybody who knows me knows that a winter without any snow makes me bitter and grumpy, so this could count as a mental health destination. But I’ll field it as a Wild Card entry, just to keep things even with Mary G. 😉

Ready to roll from Riley’s Lock. I left on my rear fender due to the damp roads (I figured it made me a nicer riding companion, not spraying my friends with road gunk):

Ready to roll from Riley's Lock

Jonathan and Ed prepping to roll after a cocoa break at the store:

Jonathan and Ed

Sugarloaf has tinges of snow on its flanks!

Snowy Sugarloaf in the distance

Snow on the leaves of the shrubbery as I climb Sugarloaf:

Snowy shubbery

Snow at the high traverse between East and West Lots:

Snowy traverse

Sunday was too cold and blustery for a good bike day, so yesterday’s Presidents Day holiday was the other long riding day. It was also a great day to get my Coffee control taken care of.

Jonathan and I met at Allen Pond Park in Bowie, MD, to roll an easygoing, 61.2 mile route to North Beach, along Chesapeake Bay. Our coffee destination was Sweet Sue’s, where the coffee is excellent and baked goods are sublime. I even wore my new socks (thanks, sprite!) to celebrate this sunny day ride:


We enjoyed a mellow ride through the beautiful country in Anne Arundel and Calvert Counties. Here’s Jonathan taking a pull:

Jonathan takes a pull

I decided to smile for the camera, too:

Self portrait while riding

My bike wanted an “in motion” picture, too, as I glided downhill:

The cockpit

As we approach North Beach, I dig out the iPhone and don’t notice that the lens has misted up in my pocket. Thus, this “Streisand filter” shot of Jonathan:

Jonathan's Streisand shot

We pull up to Sweet Sue’s and… IT’S CLOSED! We didn’t realize they were closed on Mondays. So we rolled up to Rose Haven, to Honey’s Harvest.

Honey's Harvest

The deli

This place used to be a crummy, dirty, poorly-stocked convenience store, but it recently found new owners who renovated the place, revamped the menu, and made it quite lovely. I had a coffee, along with a cinnamon scone and a honey-laden Greek yogurt:

The bounty

After 25 minutes of R&R at Honey’s Harvest, we got back on the bikes for the return to Bowie. Along the way, I took advantage of the extremely clear air to snap a picture of one of my favorite views, over Fairhaven toward the eastern shore:

Looking at the eastern shore

We rode through more woods:

Jonathan rides through the woods

I also snapped a shot of this “clean one-owner” house near Deale:

The clean one-owner

What a lovely way to get a cup of joe! 😉

I need to crunch to get my 12 tasks (though I have all 7 controls) finished by end-of-day tomorrow, but I think I’ll make it.

Total errandonee mileage to date: 134.3
Total controls: 7 (Work Commute [x2], Breakfast/Lunch [x2], Dinner, Grocery Store [x2], Bike Shop, Wild Card, Coffee)

the errandonnee: a bit of shopping and dining

After my early morning run to Heller’s, my third day of acting errandonneuring involved some shopping and some dining.

The first order of business was a post-work run up to Rodman’s in Friendship Heights to pick up a few missing pieces of sprite’s birthday present, as well as some provisions for a dinner and movie party that takes place tonight.

The rush hour traffic on Wisconsin Ave NW is thick, and not particularly friendly to cyclists:

Rush hour traffic on Wisconsin Ave NW

My bike outside of Rodman’s (which is a great place to find imported food products, as well as wine, beer, and other yummy things):

The Rudi Projekt outside of Rodman's

The provisions: tea and chocolates for sprite, mustard for the house larder, and some yummy beers for me (including two from Epic Brewing: 825 State Porter and Brainless Imperial IPA):


Stopped by HTO on the way back home to price some locking wheel skewers for my mountain bike (it may soon see more use as a daily commuter with less-than-reliable parking). Didn’t buy, but nice to see what’s out there:


Riding back down Wisconsin Ave, back toward downtown, with far less traffic (and less sunlight):

Wisconsin Ave at Tenleytown

Much heavier traffic on Mass Ave, just past Observatory Circle. This was painful:

Traffic jam on Mass Ave

sprite chose to have dinner at Pete’s Apizza, DC’s best pizza place, and while we took the bus to Mt. Pleasant, we rode Capital Bikeshare back. Note sprite’s petticoat – very fun:

sprite on CaBi

Total errandonee mileage to date: 26.0
Total controls: 5 (Work Commute, Breakfast/Lunch, Dinner, Grocery Store, Bike Shop)

the errandonnee: fetching a birthday breakfast

Another day, another errand – thus more errandonneuring!

Today, February 14th, is sprite’s birthday! Hooray! So I wanted to give her a breakfast that would make the start of her day extra special. Given she wasn’t wowed by Zeke’s Donutz, I went for what I consider to be the standard-bearer in great donuts here in DC: Heller’s Bakery

So before sprite got out of bed, I was out the door, riding to Mount Pleasant to pick up some fresh, donutty goodness for my love:

Riding the bike lane NE on Columbia Road. The lane, while far from smooth, is far, far better than its previous, two-lane, mixed traffic configuration. However, you still see a lot of delivery vehicles block the lane at various times during the day.

Riding the Columbia Road bike lane

The intersection of 18th and Columbia. The McDonalds on the right, across 18th, is still being repaired after a Subaru decided to try drive-thru service a couple months ago.

18th and Columbia

There is finally some movement on the renovation/addition to the old Ontario Theatre space. Back when the theatre was a performance space (before my time in DC), it hosted David Bowie, during his Ziggy Stardust phase.

Ontario Theatre demo

I arrived at Heller’s shortly after they opened, which meant the donuts were extra fresh and the selection was plentiful.

Heller's inside

The box contained the bounty: two glazed, two sprinkled, one sour cream, one chocolate over glazed, and one BIG apple fritter.

The box

Before I got back on the bike, I snapped this gratuitous self-portrait in a shiny car window:

Self-portrait in car window

Total errandonee mileage to date: 11.5
Total controls: 2 (Work Commute, Breakfast/Lunch)

the errandonnee: morning commute

As I wrote in a post on my daily commute over at Brian’s excellent Tales From The Sharrows back in May of last year.

However, as part of the Errandonnee, I’m logging a commute to work as one of the “to-do” tasks (actually, I’m logging the commute twice, using last night’s commute as one of two post-sunset tasks). And since photos are part of the requirement of task completion, here’s the (short) photoblog of my commute to work:

Traffic backed up halfway down the block between 27th and 28th on Q Street NW:

Damn that traffic jam!

The rope walk at Montrose Park in north Georgetown:

The rope walk at Montrose Park

the errandonnee: night ride #1

Last week, Mary G. put up a fun and unique cycling challenge: the “errandonnee.” The basic premise: run your errands, riding your bike, and chronicle the adventure by filling out an “errandonnee card” and snapping pictures of your journey.

The challenge started on Saturday, but I only got into the swing of it this week. My daily commute counts for one category, which is all well and good, but when I come home late, the night ride enters the fray. And that’s what I present here: my return commute, after sunset.

The view from Taft Bridge, looking down at the end of rush hour on Rock Creek Parkway:

Looking down on Rock Creek Parkway from Taft Bridge

Looking west at the moon and the last bits of twilight:

The sliver of the new moon, looking west across Taft Bridge

My bike’s handlebars, showing off my light, and looking at rush hour traffic heading northeast on Florida Ave NW (spot the cyclist):

The intersection of Florida Ave and R Streets NW

I’ll chronicle more #errandonneuring as I go along – stay tuned!

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