Posts Tagged ‘ DC ’

Weekend Adventures: Bike Rides, Shopping, Arrests, Cup Holder!

The winter doldrums finally broke and let me have a great weekend. My girlfriend and I went out on Friday and Saturday nights, spent all day Saturday and Sunday riding around having adventures, watched football, danced, ate every delicious thing. Adventures included, but were not limited to:

I finished mad Christmas shopping at Eastern Market and downtown. Besides being super productive, I got to see all sorts of things – like the cupcake truck!

Usually I regard random cupcake truck sightings as a sign from the universe that I am loved and deserve a cupcake – but I was full from lunch and opted to take a picture instead.

I also took a picture of some stranger’s super-sweet cruiser bike.

That decal on the top post says "Pabst Blue Ribbon." I love you and your bike, unknown hipster kid.

I had some surprisingly awesome customer service experiences. Usually when shopping in December I think of mall-related misery. When I entered the Ace Hardware on 5th street, the greeter asked me what I was looking for and, after directing me upstairs, muttered, "Coming upstairs for zip ties," into the radio at her neck. I was buoyed through the store on a current of charming employees saying, "Zip ties? Right this way!" It was a miracle. The little things make me happy, y’all.

I tried the new Harris Teeter on M street, too. It is full of shiny produce and free samples and tempting hot food bars. And it has sweet ample bike parking.

The lady and I went out and danced like fiends. A friend’s birthday party started at a salsa club. To be honest I know about one one-thousandth of a percent about how to salsa dance, but a few rum and diets and a lot of energy more than made up for the lack. We moved to Chief Ike’s, where the hip hop is a little more my style, and then had a transcendent experience at Amsterdam Falafel. We hailed a cab at a shocking hour and had the unique delight of watching some people get arrested outside of Tom Tom’s from inside the cab’s warm confines. It was, all in all, one of the most fun nights out I’ve had in a hot minute.

But all of these adventures pale in comparison to the epic purchase I made. That’s right, as promised, I bought Farrah a cup holder! I find I spontaneously add an exclamation point every time I type the words cup holder! That, my friends, is how excited I am about it.

My first hint of the magic was in some of the photos on Simply Bike. As it got colder I started to crave a warm bev to help me along. By the end of this weekend, my obsession had reached a fever pitch. (Seriously, I wouldn’t shut up about it.)

It took a few tries, but I finally found one available from my friends at BicycleSPACE. It is everything I dreamed it would be and more – I got into work this morning on an exhilarating caffeine and exercise buzz, chirping "Good morning!" at everyone in a very un-Monday fashion.

Like I said – the little things.


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."

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.

November Review

November has been a money-focused month for me.

I bet that would give people who know me a good laugh – I am always budgeting, re-running my budget numbers, worried about staying on budget, talking about my budget. Love that budget! I have a nonprofit salary, city living expenses, some student debt and not a whole lot to fall back on, so it’s a hustle. I’ve had to save rigorously just to cover the next emergency.

But recently, I’ve been enjoying the fruits of a wee pay bump. I did indeed re-run my budget numbers, but mostly what I’m doing is just socking away the additional money in my savings accounts – I have one for emergencies, one for travel and one for large irregular purchases. Perversely, forcing myself not to touch that extra money makes it easier to be frugal and stay on budget. Instead of saying, well I shouldn’t buy this or that because it will make the monthly hustle a teeny tiny fraction easier, I say, I shouldn’t buy this or that because I’m choosing to use my money for fun and for big goals. Psh, easy.

Technically speaking, I did spend over budget some in November, but it’s okay – I paid for a bunch of fast food traveling to New York, I bought all my Christmas presents, and generally can feel okay about dipping into those savings accounts to cover these things if it turns out to be a hustle.

All right – that’s boring. What else happened in November? The weather was pleasantly mild and I wanted to be outside as much as I could, enjoying it before winter. I feel like I spent the whole month on my bike.

Those columns used to be part of the U.S. Capitol, and now they live in a field in the middle of the National Arboretum. The arboretum is a great place for a bike-adventure – my lady and I had a date there this month – because it is beautiful and full of surprises and oh my god the hills will work your bum.

On another bike date day we found ourselves at the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. I only made it halfway through because it was so overwhelming and I wanted to read every word and see every detail. I have to go back and finish before it closes, and then possibly go to Jaleo and weep desperately into a pitcher of sangria.

Oh, and in November I started writing in this little journal! It’s good for the soul. Thanks, little journal.

Bike’s-Eye View

It’s a slow day, clearing up my inbox and making my plan for the holiday. I’m expecting more family commitment than usual this Thanksgiving, but I hope to keep my wits (and my bike and this blog) about me.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to take more photos and especially to keep my camera ready on my commute. It is definitely an interesting balance (ha, literally, ba dum bum CHING) especially with the rush of the morning commute and the darkness of the evening, but I’m getting better. So, a quick shot for a slow day.