Saturday, April 23, 2016

Adventures by Trike

Regular readers of this blog know that this year’s adventure is cycling. I biked through the winter as a participant in the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s “Freezing Saddles” cchallenge. I even won a prize in the contest: some green coffee beans as part of “Bruno’s Coffee Challenge”, one of the “Side Bets and Pointless Prizes”. I thought I had a shot at the prize for most states biked in during the contest, but my achievement of nine states was outdone by someone else’s thirteen L.
Now Valerie has joined the cycling adventure! She recently gritted her teeth and bought herself a recumbent trike. Valerie has a big hesitation about spending money on herself for this sort of thing, a feeling I do not share for either her or myself. Recumbent bikes are a cool option for people who don’t want or can’t tolerate the pressure of sitting on a traditional bike seat, or who just like riding something unusual and different. Recumbent trikes are kind of the ultimate in unusual and different (well, other than maybe unicycles or velocipedes). They’re also very easy on aging bodies. Along those lines, I have noticed that the magazine ad for a local “active adult” community prominently features a silver-haired guy on a trike very similar to Valerie’s. They also happen to be a blast to ride. They’re kind of the Miata of bicycles. Miatas aren’t super fast, but being small and low to the ground and, they feel fast and are fun to drive hard and throw around. Likewise, the ‘bent trike feels fast even sitting still and has such a low center of gravity (and three wheels!) that you can be ride in a pretty nuts fashion with it. Unfortunately for me, Valerie has hers set for her height, which means I probably couldn’t even pedal it, let alone go berserk with it.

We’ve done a few rides so far – limited by an unusually cold spring and busy schedules. For a first ride we started at Bluemont Park and rode the connector trail to the Wilson Boulevard/George Mason McDonald’s, where we took a break for coffee and iced tea – and took our place among the geezers who hand out there and socialize (we were the only geezers with bikes). On our second ride we went to the same destination, but started from home. Valerie even muscled her way up the hill from the W&OD trail to our house!

Our third ride was something more special – we parked at Columbia Island and biked across the 14th St. Bridge to see the Cherry Blossoms. We set out early and were at the Tidal Basin a little before 8 AM, at which point it was already teeming with people and getting more crowded by the minute. Valerie’s preference was to ride her bike all the way around rather than locking up the bikes and walking. It turned out to be quite a feat to get all the way around the Tidal Basin by bike. It certainly helped to have a trike, on which you can stand still. It was too crowded for me to ride; I walked my bike all the way around. Valerie impressively bulldozed her way through the crowd, using her “teacher voice” to essentially order people out of her way and persisting in making continuous, if very slow, progress. I lost her in the crowd at one point, but we eventually met up near the Roosevelt Memorial. From there we stayed together back to Columbia Island.

When we arrived back at the marina the place was teeming with kayakers. Two Meetup groups were having their Cherry Blossom paddle.  I felt a little pang of jealously, even though I had done a Cherry Blossom paddle just two days earlier and had just biked to the blossoms.

The best part of the outing  is that Valerie submitted a photo of her on her trike in front of the blossoms to the trike manufacturer’s web site and  won a t-shirt!

More adventures to come …