Note From Jon


Monday, August 25, 2008

“And I would bike 100 miles”

Well that’s the plan anyway, and I am now officially registered for my first Century ride on September 21st. My training has consisted of biking to work (20 miles round-trip) 2-3 times a week since May and then doing increasingly longer rides with the Potomac Pedalers each weekend for the past month. Below is a map I will update with my training rides and then finally the Century itself:

Century Training Rides at EveryTrail
Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

Even without riding it yet, the Century has been worth it simply because it got me biking to work (well the Century and Darren showing me the direct route). If you live close enough you should definitely try biking to work, and if you don’t live close enough… move! Humor me for a moment with my bike-to-work spiel:

  • No gas: In addition to the monetary and environmental savings, there’s just a rush you get arriving at work knowing that the trip was completely on your own power

  • No traffic: It takes me 10 minutes longer to bike each way than it does to drive, and few things uplift the soul more than biking across the 14th St. bridge next to a line of stopped cars

  • Free exercise: Since it only takes 20 minutes longer to bike I get a 20 mile workout in 20 minutes

  • Time outdoors: Even with most of my commute in an urban setting, I still get a couple of miles along the Potomac with views of all the monuments

And the three most common arguments against biking debunked:

  • “I live too far”: You can always pick a parking lot that is close enough to bike from and drive your bike there and still get most of the benefits

  • “I’d get to work all sweaty”: If you have a shower at work then you are pretty much out of excuses, but even if you don’t, as long as you can keep a change of clothes at work, some deodorant, and a towel to wipe down with, sweat’s not a problem

  • “What if it rains?”: If it’s raining on the way to work, wear rain gear, don’t bike that day, or think of it as extra sweat you wipe down before changing at work. If you get caught in the rain on the way home… well it’s the way home, who cares? If you do care then you can take your bike on metro (outside of rush hour) or put it on the front of a bus, or worst case leave it locked up at work and taxi home

Most importantly though, wear a helmet. As you can see from our photo from the Safety is Sexy blog, “You’d look hotter in a helmet” anyway.

Notes to Jon:
  • Hunter’s Head Tavern in Upperville, VA is a great post-ride or date spot with covered outdoor seating and delicious (and reasonably priced) organic meals with ingredients from the owner’s farm.

  • There’s a dog on Box Factory Rd near Berryville that loves to chase bikes. It’s unnerving but, at least in our experience yesterday, he was more interested in chasing than attacking. I believe the Century goes along this route so hopefully he won’t be in an attacking mood on the 21st (or at least all the faster riders will have tired him out for me!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Of BBQs, Bags and Boyfriends

This is how Natalie showed up to my most recent BBQ. If you read the Better Bag post, or are otherwise familiar with my ridiculous obsession with collecting the Whole Foods retro bags, you will appreciate what a perfect and unexpected gift this was. This bag is out of print and was only available in Ohio and yet in her infinite resourcefulness (I can neither confirm nor deny whether she simply emailed Whole Foods!) Natalie managed to get me a brand new Buckeyes bag.

All I got her was a boyfriend: the bag was presented to me on the same porch where Natalie met her boyfriend Matt at our BBQ just over a year ago. I like to think of it as a magical matchmaking porch since I just returned from Ohio where our good friends Jamie and Kevin—who met on that same porch four years ago—were married. And thanks to Natalie, I was able to spend the whole weekend celebrating the wedding rather than stalking Ohio Whole Foods stores trying to trade for a Buckeyes bag :-) Thank you Natalie!

I'll soon update this with a slideshow of photos from that BBQ and the wedding

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Darren Decrees

The future of America is at stake. While I jokingly endorse Colbert/Stewart ’08 and seriously endorse Obama/(preferably Richardson or Warner), I suppose it is only fair to let you all know that in the end it won’t matter because the Revolution is coming. See most of you probably think of Darren as my fun-(and-bike)-loving friend (who quite often takes humorous liberties with the English language). But what you don’t realize is that for some years now he has been developing the decrees that he will issue once he becomes our benevolent dictator. After his recent dream vision that Castro was his great uncle, we should assume that the time for the reign of Darren is drawing nigh. While his rise to power is inevitable, in the spirit of the campaign season and as a gesture of his benevolence he is presenting his platform:

Decree #1: There shall be a new Department of Servings. Restaurant portions and supermarket serving sizes will be reconciled to a reasonable moderate size. In addition, the size of a serving shall be printed on menus alongside the prices.

Decree #2: Women’s pants’ sizes shall henceforth be designated with length, hip, and waist measurements.

Decree #3: No church shall sponsor a sports team (Darren doesn’t believe God should take any one team’s side in sporting competitions).

Decree #4: Mondays shall now be a day off of work. However, unlike weekends (which Darren believes should be reserved exclusively for leisure activities like biking), Monday is a day to do chores at home, or volunteer. You may choose to go to work instead but you must pay a fine which is donated to charity. The “chores at home” option will be enforced by random home inspections on Tuesdays, violators will be shot—or fined the same amount as those who went to work.

Decree #5: As evidence of Darren’s benevolent nature and responsiveness to his subjects, he has accepted the petition put forth by Sara requesting a new definition for a condiment: A condiment shall be a food topping that can be squeezable. (This has the added benefit of eliminating salt and other spices from consideration, which Darren declares are not condiments).

Decree #6: Tom Collins shall be the official summertime porch drink of the kingdom. Supermarkets shall be required to stock Tom Collins Mix (so that it isn’t so rare that Darren must purchase three bottles when he suddenly finds it on a trip to Assateague after weeks of fruitless searching…)

Decree #7: All Olympic broadcasts shall be required to display the title of the current event at all times (so that when watching on the Royal Tivo, there is no confusion about whether Darren is watching an event final or a preliminary race that can be safely viewed at two times speed)

Decree #8: The Facebook "Friend" Decree: If you see a Facebook friend in public you are required to go over and say hello, otherwise they must be stricken from your friends' list. Let this be your guide when deciding whether to friend or accept a friend request from someone.

Decree #9: No private company shall be permitted to make a profit operating a toll road or a traffic violation camera. All revenue from traffic cameras will go towards education or road improvements in the county where the camera is located.

Decree #10: The sweeping smart growth mandates will be unveiled at the proper time, but for now let it be known that all culs-de-sac and pipe stems are forbidden. (The building in Ballston which is blocking our HDTV reception is also in serious jeopardy).

Decree #11: All Olympic medals shall be made entirely of the metal they represent. (Chairman Darren does not approve of the "white jade" medals being pawned off on our gold medalists. Gold is valuable and we have the trade deficit to think about!)

Stay tuned for updates on what our future holds as Darren documents his campaign platform, rides a socialist revolution into power, enjoys the Divine Right of Kings, and rules as our benevolent dictator…