Since I got my new bike almost two weeks ago, I've been pedaling some pretty crazy miles.
Due to the tragic temporary closing of my favorite coffee shop, Quills, I have been going twice as far to Sunergos, which is pretty much the best cup of locally roasted coffee you can find anywhere. Since the small shoulders, large hills, and inconsiderate cars of Eastern Parkway are not conducive to fixed-gear riding, I have been taking a slightly longer, but safer, route from my Crescent Hill residence that cuts through Germantown. I usually get there dripping sweat, but an iced caramel latte is a great way to cool back down.
Thursday night, I was biking around the Highlands with my friends Jess Britt and Mary Margaret when we ran into Jess' acquaintance Vinnie, a heavily tatted leader in a local bicycle gang called the Bottom Bracket Bastards. Vinnie, who rides a brake-less track bike he built himself, led us around on a break- neck-speed bike ride that transversed almost the entire city proper. (This late night tour was done with little consideration for traffic laws, as by his own admission Vinnie likes to ride, "as dangerously and recklessly as possible.") I learned quite a bit about the more extreme fringes of cycling culture from Vinnie's stories, such as when a bunch of punk teenagers egged a girl in their gang causing her to crash in heavy traffic. The 3 B's responded by tracking the punks down and breaking their windshield with chains.
My cycling adventures continued Saturday morning when I took Beargrass Trail to work to try to make up some time and keep from being late. Well that idea worked great until I absent minded-ly drifted off the bike path. The whole crash is a bit of a blur, mostly due to the fact that I was going pretty fast, but it involved either a flip or a roll (I am not sure which) and ended in a very awkward position with both of my feet still in their toe-locks. Thankfully I was able to walk away with only a sprained ankle, a road-burned back, grass-stained jeans, and a scratched up new bike. As far as I can tell the damage is only cosmetic.
Other than the crash, riding my Raleigh has been a complete joy. I can do a pretty legitimate skid-stop now, but I still don't have the whole track standing trick down.
Maybe Darren will let me in on his secret.