My brother’s funeral brought me back to metropolitan Washington DC for a few days. As always, Laura and I brought bikes with us hoping for an opportunity to ride the trails and roads I grew up on. However, after a long exhausting drive from Omaha we just didn’t feel up to face the cold wind blowing along the Potomac. The Surly’s would just have to understand the frailty of the human body. And judging by the emptiness of the Mount Vernon trail as we went to find lunch on Saturday, they were not alone.
After the service, I did have a chance to talk with a friend who rides about some of the progress being made in the area. While Arlington has rightfully garnered accolades in the press for their continued leadership in urbanism, Fairfax County and Alexandria haven’t been sleeping. New bike lanes are being added, space for bikes has been designated on the Metro, and local government has embraced the need for transportation alternatives. I even suspect that the tollbooths added to some of the areas major roads may be intended to discourage automobile usage. One of the blogs I follow, Chasing Mailboxes, relates some of the joys and trials of bike commuting in the Capital better than I can. I hope to one day run into them when I’m in town.
While it’s fun to come “home” for visits, my true home is now in Omaha. For better or worse, that city In the Midwest is where I’ll keep pushing and prodding until we’ve passed the standard set by DC and the other cycling Meccas.