Posted by: emilybybike | February 24, 2011

The Wrong Side of Bed

We all have those mornings – the mornings when from the moment you roll out of bed and nothing seems to go right. I’m not sure why, but I had one of those pit-in-your-stomach feelings when I got out of bed today, that something was just off, and while I tried to ignore it over my cereal and the morning news, that creeping feeling of things not quite being right in my little world wouldn’t shake. I started to pull together my things and organize my panniers for the ride in, when I noticed that the lights on the charger were out. Odd, I thought, as I knew I had plugged it in last night and seen that it was charging. So I checked, and sure enough, it was plugged in, however a connector cable from the charger pack to the battery had come lose, and the bike had stopped charging. I don’t know how it happened, but I think for now, I’m going to blame the kitten because she’s always up to trouble (she recently figured out how to open drawers – no joke) and demands attention consistently.

Okay, onto plan B, grab my backpack and cram the contents of two pannier bags into an old daypack and pedal in on the roadie. It was so nice yesterday afternoon, that I was determined to ride today and enjoy at least a little somewhat pleasant weather before cold and rain settle in later this evening (and no, the 10-day forecast isn’t too bike friendly either. Ugh).

Somehow I squeezed everything into my backpack (lunch, clothes, purse things, lock etc…) and was ready to roll. Sometimes packing to go by bike can be strategic – like today – I packed a skirt to wear at work, which is considerably lighter and takes up less space than pants – and part of the reason I think I fit everything so nicely in my backpack. Anyway, I digress… I’m out the door, practically on time and then the elevator doors don’t open. And it’s not that the elevator didn’t come, it came up to my floor, but the doors wouldn’t open more than maybe 2 inches. Maybe. Not even enough to jam a shoulder  and try to fight my way in to the elevator. So now what? I’m dressed and ready to ride to work, but have no easy way of even getting out of my apartment building. Answer: Stairs. Hoisted my bike onto my shoulder and loudly clomped down seven flights of stairs. The bright side here, is that at least if I had properly charged my commuter, it’s doubtful I would have been able to haul the 40+lb back-heavy bike  down seven flights of stairs without a potential disaster. Okay – silver lining 🙂

Feeling better and already warmed up from my unplanned stair-master session, I set out on the trail, hoping the sunshine and somewhat mild temperatures of yesterday would have cleared the trail from any remaining snow and ice. Boy was I wrong. It was clear sailing on the trail until just passed the Lyon Village Shopping Center, where the trail parallels I-66, there I came into several 20-50ft sections of pure ice.

Not talking crunchy snow here, or even somewhat passable ice patches, but long, wide sections where the snow had melted and frozen and melted and frozen to form an almost impassable sheet of ice. I was off the bike and walking, and while walking in road shoes normally can be awkward enough, add in ice and it’s a slippery situation. Thankfully I made it through without falling on my butt.

Back on the bike, I pedaled quick to try to make up lost time. Near Key Bridge I avoided another near backlog on the trail as just as I was passing the Marriott, a group of 30-40 school kids started walking out of the hotel lot and toward the city on the sidewalk / bike path. Realizing that I didn’t have a “excuse me please” bell on my road bike and the fact that most high-school kids can be pretty oblivious to the outside world, I skipped the curb and rode about 50-feet going the wrong way on Lee Highway, but thankfully the light was in my favor. Whew. Only 15 minutes in and today’s commute had already been quite the challenge.

A few more icy patches along the Rock Creek trail, however none as bad as those on the Custis trail. Ugh. But I made it safely and in one piece and that’s what matters. There’s a reason not everyone goes by bike, and it’s for days like this, when it’s not easy, when you have challenges, but you figure out ways around them and keep on pedaling. Here’s to hoping for a smoother commute home (I’m going up Clarendon Boulevard in the Bike Lane instead of attempting the trail again…) and getting into bed on the right side tonight!


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