Oh What a Difference A Day Makes

18301177_441313256222279_8234197207706498402_nIt’s been a bit loony toons around here. Over the weekend a guy in our area decided to “enforce” the laws of traffic by sitting in the median of a very busy trail crossing and road with a big sign (that looked VDOT official) telling people to not stop for bicyclists or pedestrians.

The intersection is on a busy road, where the speed limit is 40 or 35 depending on which side you’re on. The traffic has the right of way (it’s not a 4 way stop) and the trail users are supposed to be smart about not darting into traffic. HOWEVER, once a trail user is in the crosswalk, by law, they have the right of way.

It IS a very busy road though, and many drivers, when they see trail users waiting for an opportunity to cross, stop and wave them across. This is really dangerous because there are multiple lanes of traffic, not all of whom can see that there is someone actually crossing. Although wouldn’t you think that if one car is stopped mid-block there MIGHT be something you should also slow down and potentially stop for?

When people stop this way, it causes rear ending accidents (uh, slow down and pay attention), or sometimes the car following veers into the next lane and …

So his point, that cars should keep moving through is correct, under the law.

But who elected him to enforce the law? Worse, his actions made the yahoos who hate the cyclists get aggressive and hostile, inching into the crosswalk when legitimate users were in it. The Sheriffs Dept came out and talked with him but did not make him take the signs down then. They were not removed until a few hours later when the county DOT people showed up.

For my FCBA friends, we went through this intersection on our way from Leesburg to DC on the last day. The Friends of the W&OD Trail Patrol folks were out there helping us get through it safely.

At any rate, it created a storm of ugliness on all sides … Happy Bike Month, right? I got drawn into it yesterday and spent a large part of the day dealing with it. I did get a 24 mile ride in later but it was cold and breezy.

So today, I decided to do a GREAT ride and I did. I met my friend Laura at 10 and we set out to ride at least 45 miles. I had my jacket off before we started, but kept my long pants on over my bike shorts until about mile 30.

Along Holmes Run trail we saw these guys:

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We stayed on Holmes Run to the George Washington Parkway trail and turned north. Then we got to see this. I LOVE being able to see this on “ordinary” bike rides.

We were doing the loop ‘backwards’ so we had a lot of hill climbing to do to get back. (Training for the SF to SF ride, you know). The hills of Arlington didn’t seem SO bad. But on our last 3 miles I was determined to go up Hunter Station. We were out of water, out of food and a mile or two from home.

Both of us needed lube on our chains but there was none at hand so we just started climbing. Poor Laura shifted under pressure and KABAM, her chain was stuck. I was at the top of the hill (yes, I stayed on) for a while and finally saw her walking up. We flipped her bike upside down but it was really down in there. We needed some kind of lubricant.

Finally, I dug in my backpack and came up with chapstick! I smeared it all around the stuck chain and started pulling with all my might. Ta-dah! We finally got it loose and I made her promise to take the bike to the shop asap, or at least before we ride again, and to tell them we had to use chapstick. Yikes, but it worked. This is what my hands looked like afterwards.

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This is why we wear black bike shorts. 🙂

So, once I got home 46.7 miles in the books, and this was the elevation profile. A glorious, beautiful day, and the crazies can just go be crazy on someone else’s watch!

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