Posts Tagged ‘ commuting ’

Perfectly Windy Skies & Winter Biking

It’s starting to get cold. Fall has been mild – yesterday morning it was sixty degrees or something – but winter always comes eventually. Certainly the temperatures are dropping, but mostly I notice it in the brittle quality of the light and the relentless wind.

That’s the old post office tower – screw the Washington Monument, it’s the best view in DC, tell ’em Melissa sent you – and lately it’s been looking so ominous under the thin, pale winter sky.

A few weeks ago I was trucking my bike around and had this exchange with a friend –

"What are you going to do when it gets cold?"
"Wear a coat."
"Badass!"

Yes, yes, I’m very impressive. Except not really, because my non-bike option isn’t a car, it’s public transit and my own two feet. Bicycling warms up my core and gets me to my centrally heated destinations faster – nothing grueling or virtuous about it. I expect Farrah will help make this winter much easier than last.

Except, OMIGOD, the wind. I seem to be pushing into a headwind no matter which way I go.

There is one good hill on my commute, down in the morning and up in the afternoon, on the Capitol grounds. I have no concept of how steep or long this hill would seem to serious cyclists, but for me it is intense – when I first started, I figured out my old route through downtown specifically to avoid it. Now, I don’t have to walk, but I do sometimes drag myself up thinking all the way about either walking or dying. I guess some other times it is easy, and before I know it I’m exhilarated at the top, but the wind this past week or two has made those occasions more rare even as (I hope) I’m getting stronger.

From the top, you can see the Washington Monument rising into whatever skies the season brings. It’s a beautiful view every time, as long as I can breathe hard enough to get oxygen to my eyeballs.

I’d like to get the feeling on record, so that in a few months – when I’m coasting up like the terrifying Spandexed waifs on their skinny road bikes – I can look back and laugh.