Saturday, May 16, 2015

My First Bike to Work Day!

So I've been riding my bikes around on weekends and to run errands, but I haven't actually biked to work all year. I know, I know, it's just so hard to get myself out the door that early in the morning until I make it a habit. I even got packed and dressed a couple of days this week, then promptly sat down and fell asleep again. But for Bike to Work Day, one makes the effort. I was still pretty out of it when I got up though, and tried to put my bag on my Brompton's front reflector rather than on the carrier block, oops. Luckily I only have to go about a mile to get to the Metro for the first leg of my multi-modal commute, and could use the train time to wake up for the rest of my ride.

Train segment of my multi-modal commute

To market, to market #quaxing

I actually haven't been to the farmers' market in a while--my Saturday mornings feel like they get away from me especially since I moved, with cleaning or unpacking or other things I want to do. But today seemed like a good day to go since I've been out of groceries all week after being in Pittsburgh last weekend. Also, I'm stuck on Grim Fandango, so I didn't have anything to tempt me to stay in.

I tried a different route to get there than usual which was longer but involved minimal sidewalk riding. Admittedly this was mostly because some car got in my path right as I was setting off, and rather than dismount I just decided to change course. This route wasn't enough for me to avoid riding up a big (for me) hill, which made me appreciate even more that D and I put a granny ring on the Betty. It's much more manageable, especially given how out of shape I am right now.

Anyway, got to the market, where there were still mostly greens and root vegetables but I got some good things. I like going to the market because I can just get what looks good, and then plan my grocery shopping around that. It forces me to learn how to cook new things, and spares me from having to think about what I have to make for the week.

My morning haul: Pea shoots, French sorrel, sweet potatoes (Beauregards), strawberries, a mini-quiche, a Liege-style waffle, lemonade, a whole chicken, and a half-dozen peonies
Also notable at the market:
  • Girl scouts doing public calisthenics to Taylor Swift ("Shake It Off" is and always will be by Mariah Carey) and what I think was a kid's version of a Nicki Minaj song (yes these exists, for I have heard them at the roller rink). All while one of their moms was taking pictures/video with an iPad. Also, they were ostensibly there to do some public engagement as part of a "Healthy Eating and Fitness Campaign" promoting farmers' markets. I didn't have the heart to explain the concept of "preaching to the choir" to the girls, who were trying to hand me their flyer as a I set off on my bike carrying my vegetables, but I do appreciate having a list of other markets I could ride to and their hours of operation. 
  • The meat guys stopped selling longanisa, a Filipino sausage that I love but can never find out here unless I drive out to Rockville, and then only in highly preserved and imported form. Despite the supposed arrival of Filipino food in DC, I guess I'm not really surprised that Longanisa didn't really take off with the customers. The guys selling them didn't realize that it was a breakfast sausage, so not only did I have to explain that to them, I also had to tell them how it's best eaten: served in a trio along with garlic fried rice and eggs (a.k.a. longsilog). So I'm sad at this loss--maybe it's an opportunity to learn how to make my own? But I have no desire to work with hog casings.
  • The meat guys made up for no longer carrying longanisa by having hot pink peonies, which are meaningful for my family on this day. They smell faintly of gardenias.
  • A man with his little girl in a bakefiets, which  He even had her little playhouse in the bakefiets itself, so presumably she rode over while in it, very adorable. Also, I've seen very few bakefiets in person, and I'm always fascinated by any non-standard bike. 
Perfect timing for hot pink peonies
The ride home was mostly uneventful, though I tried yet another new route to try to avoid sidewalk riding. I passed by the Connecticut Ave. NW and Livingston intersection and nearly ran into the back of someone's car who had stopped to parallel park. This intersection is the start of the shopping area in Chevy Chase DC, and it's the worst in terms of cars attempting to find parking since it's basically narrow neighborhood streets. I used to live by there, and in the mornings I would be wary someone backing over me on their way to getting their coffee before work. Also, I attempted to save a fledgling bird that was in the middle of the street (perhaps inspired by Chasing Mailboxes' interview with Deb of Women BikeDC), though mostly I just scared it into making short little flights until it landed in a lavender bush.

One more new thing I tried: instead of using the front door to get into my building, which is usually a disaster when I have a loaded down bike, I used the back door. What was stopping me before was this  hairpin turn down three steps with a steep ramp to get to the elevator, but I found that even that was better than getting up the fronts steps and holding a heavy door open.

ETA Observation: Thus far the Brompton appears to turn more heads on the street than the Betty, but I've never had someone ride up to me and say "nice bike" while I was on the Brompton. I'll have to keep gathering data on this...