There was a camera crew filming the Tweed Ride on November 14th, and while we were in front of the White House I noticed them filming me. One of them spoke to me with what sounded like a British accent. Next day this clip was on the Dandies and Quaintrelles web site. I'm in the clip, near the end. As the only recumbent and only trike on the ride, I got more attention than I got last year riding my Raleigh Roadster, which was theoretically more in keeping with the event.
It seems like no time has passed since the Seersucker Social in June. The 2010 Tweed Ride is tomorrow. I've been so preoccupied with working that I hardly paid this any attention.
I was the last rider on the Seersucker Social. I'd had some mechanical difficulties with the Roadster. The gear case, installed for the Tweed Ride, had come loose and needed to be secured. I did this, then set off with the bike in my Volvo 240 wagon, intending to take Metro part of the way. When I got the bike out of the car, it was clear that something was wrong--the chain had come off the chainring and was jammed inside the gear case. There was nothing for it but to return home and sort it out. By then my margin of time had disappeared. I got to the start after everyone had left and followed the route by myself. I arrived just in time for the last of the drinks.
It was growing dark by the time I left, and I was glad of the dynamo lights on the Roadster. Next day the Roadster's back tire was flat. Four months later I still haven't fixed it. Gear cases are great for keeping your clothes clean, but terrible for removing wheels!
Now the 2010 Tweed Ride is tomorrow, I still hadn't fixed the tire, and I hadn't even really committed to going--I told myself that my business took precedence, and booked an appointment for 4 p.m. in Alexandria. Then tonight I asked myself if I could do both. The answer is yes, if I do two things that run contrary to form: get an early start and leave before the party is over. I can ride the Trice, which goes well with tweed and handles long rides and hills better than the Roadster does.
I've been neglecting my blog for a few months while dealing with health, weather, and business, and I've had a nasty cold for the past week, so here this is, almost last minute.
The Dandies and Quaintrelles, who brought us the wonderful and wildly successful DC Tweed Ride last November 15, are having their second event, the Seersucker Social, on Saturday, June 12, starting at 3:30 pm, with a reception afterwards at the ride destination Hillwood Estate. More than 450 people attended the Tweed Ride. Registration is free for the ride itself and $20 for the after-ride party--including food and drink. Having spent the week resting up and recovering, I plan to be there with my Raleigh Roadster.
Time flies whether you're having fun or not. So it's been weeks since this event that I'm only writing up now. The Embassy of Sweden hosted a ride on March 7th, in celebration of a famous Swedish ski race and festival, Vasaloppet. How could a Volvo-driving, IKEA-shopping cycling nut like me resist? Only thing was, the start time for the first ride was (ugh) 7:30 a.m. I planned on going on the second ride at 8:30, and set my alarm for 5.
Three rides were offered: 56-mile out into Montgomery County, 31-mile along the Potomac shore, and 15-mile through downtown DC. I thought the 31-mile ride looked both interesting and manageable for my state of tune. However, while I did indeed get up and get ready, I got halfway to the start and realised I'd left my wallet at home. Then I realized I needed a layer to keep out the wind. So it took me three starts to get there and it was 8:45 when I arrived.
I had signed up for this with no real idea of what the turnout would be--and this is only about my fifth time on a group ride of any kind. A solid wall of bicycles greeted me at the start. I heard later that there were 650 people on this ride, and most of them seemed to have opted for the DC route. At the sign-in table, they told me I was welcome to ride the 31-mile route, but I'd be following the group. I figured that I could always ride by myself, and I'd ride the 15-miler with the group that was there. I had thought, looking at the route map, that it would be too much like my recent urban rides around Arlington, and not enough of a workout. However, it was an interesting route, and it was enough of a ride for the shape I was in, especially when I added on getting to the start and home, which was another 15 miles or more.
At the end, the Embassy served us warm blueberry soup. It was a perfect after-ride refreshment for a chilly morning. I took a few pictures; they show a lot fewer people than were there because I took them late in the day when many riders had already left.
While the majority of the riders were on upright bikes, there were several recumbents and one or two other trikes (I know a Catrike was on the ride and I saw a Greenspeed afterwards). In conversation with one of the recumbent bike riders, I mentioned this blog and gave him the URL--and found out he reads it. I'd never met him before. It was a great moment. Sometimes I have no idea whether anyone's really out there. Nice to find out someone is.
The region has just had a blizzard even bigger than the one in December. It snowed here from Friday midmorning to Saturday late afternoon, with reports of more than 30 inches in some places. Having been indoors for about 24 hours, I ventured out for a look around this evening. My intention was merely to get outside in the fresh air and see the snow from closer than my third-floor windows. I had no intention of riding. Then I had a look at my car, barely recognizable under the snow. Then back to the garage. A lane had been plowed through the parking area, leaving a layer of snow and ice where the plow had been, and a snow dam about three feet across and knee deep in front of the garage doors. I opened the door. I looked at the Trice. I looked at the snow. I kicked snow out of the way in a path just 30 inches across (the width of the Trice QNT) and rolled it out. Put up the flag, light the lights and set off down the parking lot. One trip down and back was enough to put a grin on my face and to show that while it was possible to ride on this stuff, it didn't take much for the rear wheel to lose traction. It was time to try out an idea I'd had during the previous snow rides. Tire chains for bikes have been made from time to time, but they were never a complete success and none are currently available. I'd had a simpler idea: a length of cotton clothesline, wrapped spirally around the tire and rim, ought to give sufficient extra traction. A few minutes later I was trying it out. It made a huge difference. I was limited now only by the depth of snow not exceeding the trike's 3-inch ground clearance. The thin layer that remained after plowing was no problem. The slipping and sliding just added to the fun; it was always under control. What was a problem was the 27-degree temperature and my lack of adequate head and face protection. I rode around until my face got too cold and came back in. My camera batteries were charging so I didn't have any pictures. I'll try this again tomorrow and take some. Trikes rule!