I wonder if anybody has ever used the sausage method to protect a Brooks saddle from theft--and speaking of Brooks England Ltd., this esteemed saddle-manufacturing concern is the sponsor of my "Enlightened Cyclist" World Annoyance Tour, which brought me to the Washington of DCs for the juicy middle portion of this week. The Washington of DCs is famous for being the place where they store the government, and this means lots of people come there in an attempt to wield influence. For example, I happened to be staying right near the PETA offices:
(PETA is working on a banner incorporating the new Rapha yak leather Fred flippers--which happen to look great with snakeskin belts.)
As you can see, it's quite a lovely building, and the courtyard is one of the best places in town to simply sit during your lunch hour while enjoying a delicious meatball hero:
(The statue is of Vino, and the flying cheetah represents his bike.)
Incidentally, Vino was born without eyebrows, which means that he often gets sweat in his eyes:
("It burns, it burns!")
After Vino refused to grant me audience I continued dejectedly on my way, until I happened upon this sign that buoyed my spirits considerably:
I love stuff that's free, and I was about to follow the arrow and take the tour until I looked up and saw what it was I'd be touring:
It was at this moment that a gentleman clad all in black emerged from the building and started trying to coax me in, at which point I ran back to my place of lodging, where they were in the process of "classing up the joint:"
Yes, nothing says "class" like ersatz Greek statuary wheeled in on dollies:
marble columns in there and it's just like staying atop Mount Olympus.
My plans were to freshen up, but I had neglected to pack any toiletries, and so I headed back out to "hit up" the CVS. The dental hygiene products were all on my shopping list, but the "DC Plastic Baeach" was a total impulse buy:
I also found the nearest bike share station:
After some deliberation, I chose the red one:
As I mentioned earlier, people come to the Washington of DCs to exercise influence, and the world of bicycle cycling is no exception. My visit happened to coincide with the National Bike Summit, and apparently someone somewhere along the line had the idea that I should go there in order to flog my book. The summit was taking place at the Grand Hyatt, where I was disappointed to learn I would not be performing on this beautiful and exotic "piano island" like a bike dork hybrid of Mark Russell and Liberace:
Instead, I followed the signs that read "save cycling" and that ominously guided me downward:
And still downward, until I felt like I was in some Albert Brooksian film satire about the afterlife:
Finally, I arrived at the circle of Hell in which they were holding the Bike Summit, and where cycling advocacy groups such as the American Automobile Association were fighting for our rights:
(AAA wants to "share the road" with us? That's cute.)
There were also some sweet advocate "whips:"
And this sign:
The sign was outside of the room where they had the bar, and it was my job to sit at a table and scribble on my book for the few attendees who actually found me more compelling than an alcoholic beverage. I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with some lovely people, but the subterranean environs made it seem like a lonely business--though I wasn't quite as lonely as these guys:
("Can we advocate for you? Pleeease?")
Still, it was enough to drive me to drink, and I was just sticking my face into a refreshing scotch on the rocks:
When I was accosted and ushered into the League of American Bicyclists annual meeting, where they were taking budgeting:
Now, as an ostensibly humorous bike blogger, I am obligated to "play for laughs," and nothing warms people up for a chuckle like a good spirited budget update. Nevertheless, I bid a reluctant temporary adieu to my seventh beverage:
And shamelessly plugged my book like the shill that I am.
Having thoroughly devalued the proceedings, I then stumbled back out onto the DC streets and shouted at a bike share machine until a bike fell out:
Then, I straddled the bike, took the lane, and bike-shared vehicularly:
All the way back to my hotel, where Operation Class was now complete:
The following day I had a mid-day BRA in Bethesda, and so I took to the Capital Crescent Trail:
Where I skirted the mighty Potomac:
And then crossed over into Maryland, at which point I was officially guilty of the federal crime of being a complete douchebag across state lines:
My ride soon took me through a tunnel:
And into an enchanted world of cherry blossoms:
Through which people wandered in a state of beauty-induced delirium:
And then suddenly the Capital Crescent Trail spit me out into Bethesda, right in front of the Barnes & Noble bookery:
Incidentally, this is my detachable Book-Touring Chariot:
S&S soft backpack case does fit into the overhead compartment on an Amtrak Acela train. Naturally, I also equipped my bike with an AYHSMB Ass Saver:
Anyway, you know you've arrived when you've got your own sign in a Barnes & Noble:
("We left our bongs for this?")
One of them even recorded the BRA for posterity:
And you can see excerpts here.
Finally, that evening, there was a ride, courtesy of BicycleSPACE:
Which between the company and the grandeur of Washington, DC at night was nothing short of spectacular.
Thanks very much to those who took the time to attend, thanks also for your patience during my absence, thanks in advance for having a great weekend, and ride safe.
--Wildcat Rock Machine