The Chainlink

My apartment building is at the bottom of a hill in DC. It's a great neighborhood, I can bike downtown very quickly, and it's right by lots of fun restaurants, coffee shops, etc. To commute to work, I can go downhill to DuPont but that's an extra Metro stop and somehow doesn't feel right to me - why go backwards/further away from my destination just because of one darned hill?

So I climb my 18th Street hill in Adams Morgan every workday on my little Brompton, pausing for buses, school children, and lights on my way up. It takes me to the Woodley Park Metro (the station by the zoo) and it's a pretty ride. I started getting the hang of my hill (yes, Colorado people would probably laugh at what I call a hill but they have mountains...) but last week I came down with a cold so I took a few days off the bike and my legs were a little more tired than usual so this week has been a little harder to do the morning climb. 

And then there was this morning... 

I really struggled, mashing my way up, too proud to shift into my easiest gear. Once I got to the top I realized it was hard because I just rode up my hill in the hardest gear (only three of them but still). And I felt kinda proud of myself today. Like I hit a milestone because I mashed my way up and ignored my legs. I wouldn't have imagined this when I moved into my neighborhood last October.

We've been talking a lot lately about crummy things on our commutes... shoaling, drivers, bike lane blockage, etc. but what gets you excited about your commute? The first morning in Spring you hear the birds chirp? The familiar, friendly faces of fellow cyclists you see on your commute? The feeling you get when you think about how you aren't using any gas to get to work and you're going to feel good all day because of that morning ride? Or that excitement of potential ride-home tailwind because after a day at work, having the wind at your back is a nice little thrill?

So please, share your bike commute happy moments here... and enjoy your bike and your day! 

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I finally picked up a chain whip off craigslist and replaced my ~8000 mile sprocket/cogwheel (hope I'm using the correct term) with a ~0 mile. What's the happy moment? 20 miles of commuting home along the lakefront into a not-too-bad headwind on a sunny evening without my chain slipping a single time. Just legs pushing pedals and momentum moving forward. Only wish I'd had a 17T laying around instead of the 16T I dug up. Will have to work a little harder on preventative maintenance, instead of wearing teeth down to nothing!

My daily commute happy moment...approaching a red light and passing literally 20 to 30 cars sitting there in a long snake of a line waiting for their turn.  And then passing another 20 or 30 at the next red light.  Just watch out for doors!

I was just killing time riding until the magic 6 PM hour came so I could jump on the El, but along with a lot of other cyclists, I was having the same experience!  Passing the long line of cars, stopping at the lights, then repeating again.  

It was such fun I just kept going.

Great post.

My favorite is when approaching downtown on Milwaukee around Grand, and then on Kinzie, when the timing is right and you get to see a Metra train coming or going as you ride. Trains, bikes, cars--that's a city!

Oh P.S. I lived on Calvert Street for a summer, right by the Woodley Park Metro!

Fair weather makes it enjoyable to ride my fancy bicycles, still being able to beat traffic on my way to work and then slowly explore my city's neat spots on my way home at a leisurely pace.

Beating traffic sure is fun but my wildlife encounters are the best.

DC is in full-blown summer with humidity and heat but it looks like some rain later in the week will cool it down a bit (temporarily). That said, this is me in my happy place. I went to the Caps parade downtown DC last week, riding my fav bike, and managed to find a seat in the shade when it got too hot for me. Afterwards I rode to tacos and had an icy diet Coke and it was the best thing ever. There's something magical about riding a bike. Truly. And this year, with my Brompton, I've been on a bike nearly every day. 

Another daily happy moment.  Riding in to downtown in the morning, down Milwaukee to Kinzie, making the left onto Kinzie at the light, climbing to the top of the rise and then.....breezing down the downhill all the way to Wells, and enjoying the chocolate smells from Blommer's as one passes!

Agreed--and sometimes a great view of Metra trains moving! :)


Sitting  outside  at  Wishbone at  Washington and Morgan  in  the  last  month or so that the restaurant remains at that  location with a  few  Kibitzers after a commuting ride for  breakfast before  the workday beckons.

I love Wishbone. That is a fantastic moment. :-)


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