Cycling Again!

by Susan Harris on January 10, 2012

In the two months since I posted to this blog I’ve moved and done lots of shopping and planning for my new home and garden.  I’ll share about that soon enough but for now, I want to write about cycling again after at least 15 years.  My former neighborhood was terrible for cycling – hilly and dangerous – but my new one is fabulous, with trails and parks and even farmland.  So I took my old bike to a funky local bike shop (now owned by a 50-something woman I bonded with instantly) to get it ready for action again.   And here it is – my Nishiki Colorado vintage early ’90s, takings its first-ever trip on the subway to D.C.

Which makes me wonder why I’ve never done this before, taken a bike on the subway.  It cost nothing extra and is the absolute best way to see the memorials in the touristy part of town, where parking spaces are nonexistent.

Seeing the Monuments by Bike

The Martin Luther King Memorial, from across the Tidal Basin

My first stop and the main reason for the outing was to see the new MLK Memorial along the Tidal Basin, which I reviewed here.  It’s right next door to the FDR, my favorite, so I checked in there, and then for contrast, the World War II Memorial, which may be my least favorite of them all.

The World War II Memorial

Two wars.  Two completely opposite memorials.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Albert Einstein Memorial Statue

By chance I spied the new Albert Einstein statue, which I’d never seen in person.  A tour guide there pointed out that his nose has been wiped shiny by visitors rubbing it, and his lap gets a lot of sitting on, too.   I’m hoping to see some of that action the next time I visit.  Love the statue – it’s by the same sculptor who did the JFK bust in the Kennedy Center.

Cycling past Lakes and Farms

Much closer to home – in fact about a half-mile from my house – are the 6,500 acres of the Beltsville Ag Research Center (the largest in the world).  With the smell of fresh manure in the air and roads with names like Poultry, Dairy and Animal Husbandry, it seems like the real deal – farmland.  I’ve cycled there a few times already, and always stop at this stream to look for eagles returning to their nest, which you can see in this photo along the treeline, on the left.

Greenbelt Lake

And closest of all to my house is Greenbelt Lake, which I ride or walk around often.  I recently heard from someone who grew up here that it was dug by hand during the ’30s, to give work to the unemployed.  So thank you, New Deal Socialism!

Back in the Saddle at a Certain Age

I can certainly confirm the old adage that you never forget how to ride a bike.  Forgetting how to use the gears is something else, but it wasn’t hard to relearn.  My cycling now won’t be quite the same as it was in the ’90s, though.  I got rid of my fast(er) road bike and kept just the slower all-terrain bike.  No need to pretend to be a racer anymore. Also?  No need to ride with cycling groups that go way too fast for me, just because the cool guys are in the faster group.  IF I ride with groups again, it’ll be with the mostly female slow-poke groups, right where I belong.  And I sure as hell won’t be signing up for those killer cycling tours of Vermont like I once did with a former husband.  No more pretending to be like serious bikers, the ones who profess to liking hills.  Oy.


Evelyn Hadden January 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

Susan, already you are invigorated and refreshed by your new location! Trying an old thing again and taking it further — you go, girl!

carolyn mullet January 11, 2012 at 5:56 am

Very inspiring! I still live in T. PK. so bicycling is as scary as you suggest although there are an admirable number of my neighbors that bike to work in DC everyday. Greenbelt’s flatness sounds ideal!

commonweeder January 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

Lucky you. Things look fairly flat.

Deirdre January 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I got on a bike for the first time since I was a teenager at 52. It really does come back to you.

Gail January 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

The joys of living in/near a city with mass transportation! have fun. gail

Stokesia January 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I’d like to join you sometime soon.

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