Freezing Saddles 2016

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2015: 293 miles in 45 days
2016: 282 miles in 48 days

  • All of my rides were either commutes or running errands.
  • I biked to work more times this year (5 times, compared to only twice last year).
  • I managed not to get majorly sick this time, which is a plus.
  • The studded tires mostly worked. Putting them on was a pain- I ripped my hands on the studs, and messed up my derailleurs. Riding on them when there was no snow/ice on the ground was not pleasant, either. If I use them again, I would either put them on a winter beater bike or buy separate wheels for them so that I can put them on my bike more easily.
  • Wearing a mask did help on the really cold days.
  • MG wrote up a very nice interview.
  • I didn’t enjoy my experience nearly as much as I did last year, though. I will likely not participate again. I will, as always, keep riding throughout the winter.

I took photos on Instagram. I’m particularly proud of the shots I took that chronicled the lengthening of the days.


Great Pumpkin Ride 2015

Warrenton Branch Greenway.

I loved this ride from last year, and originally signed up for the 48-mile ride. I had also unwittingly signed up to work that evening. argh. I wanted to do both, so I opted to do the 30-mile ride instead so that I could have time to go home, change, and go to work.

At first, I was having some doubts as to whether this was a good idea. Was it worth it to drive all the way to Warrenton, VA for a 30-mile ride? I needn’t have worried. The answer was yes.

The Fauquier Trails Coalition’s Great Pumpkin Ride remains, hands down, as one of the best rides of the region. The ride is well organized: the autumnal countryside route is beautiful, there are police on hand to direct riders at some of the trickier intersections, the volunteers are fantastic, and the riders are friendly. Oh, and of course, the food at the rest stops is awesome.

Pumpkin pie and other baked goods.

As last year, one of the rest stops was at Old Bust Head Brewery, where they were giving out free samples of their beers and a coupon for the taproom. They were also at the finish line with more beer for purchase. I really did like the two samples for this year, their Oktoberfest and Old Jail pumpkin-peach brown ale.

For the 30-mile ride, that was the only rest stop, so I made sure to stock up on food. Alas, there were no pretzels.

I was feeling a little stiff throughout the ride, but I managed to make it in fine time, so I skipped the festivities at the end and hit the road, stopping at my favorite Red Truck Bakery for a snack before heading home.

I made it to work at a reasonable time. I hope to be less rushed and do the ride again next year.

My very small Flickr set is here.

Bike to Work Day 2015

Metropolitan Branch Trail sign.
I biked to work for the first time in months. (The last time I biked to work, according to my logs, was– January? Was it that long ago?) I got up bright and early, not only to beat the crowds, but because I also needed to get to work early. I rode to my new pit stop and had a friendly conversation with one of the volunteers as I picked up my t-shirt, fruit, and a granola bar. I passed by a couple more pit stops along the way, but I kept going.

I’ve recently discovered the East Coast Greenway, and have been using part of the route to get to and from work. The East Coast Greenway is a series of connecting trails and bike-friendly roads from Maine to Florida. If you watch for the signs (at the top of the photo above), you can navigate your way on the route. The section of the Greenway nearest to me conveniently dodges the big hill before the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which adds a little more mileage, but it’s worth it to me to not feel wiped out when I arrive at work. (I realize that climbing up the hill is a point of pride for bicyclists. I’ve climbed it many a time, but I don’t feel like I need to do it every time I go to work. Call me a wimp.)

It was a beautiful May day, and I felt great. I wish I could have stayed outside, but I went to work instead.

A Few Thoughts on Freezing Saddles 2015

bike in snow
Freezing Saddles is a friendly competition by the Washington Area Bike Forum (aka Bike Arlington Forum). Basically, you bike from January 1st to the last day of winter (March 19). You gain points for every day and every mile you ride. You are assigned a team, and the team and individual with the most points win. Other prizes are given for side-bets and for any kind of dubious honor one can think up, such as the longest ride, or the lowest average miles.

It’s a fun way to encourage people to keep riding throughout the winter. It’s also an opportunity for statistics geeks to go nuts and parse the data in every which way possible. So, with that in mind, let me present a few pointless stats of my own.
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