Oh, how far have I come from the scenic, calm, tiny roads of ACA bike trails. Very, very far.
First challenge of the day: get across the Potomac River Bridge that does not allow cyclists on. Easy: hitch a ride.
Second challenge: not abandon riding on a 4-lane highway and get a lift instead. Cars are speeding but as long as I have some shoulder, I don’t care. I do care however whenever they honk at me. It makes me anxious and nervous. It makes me want to disappear. At some point there’s some road work on a 50-metre stretch so I need to get onto the actual lane. The drivers start tooting. It’s so stressful. I hate it. C’mon guys, I am so smol and easy to pass. I am not taking up that much of your vital space. You CAN go around me. And even if you couldn’t, it’s just for 50 metres, so just LET ME LIVE!
With 30 kilometres left to go, I am ready to abandon. I hide behind the road security barrier to weep a little and have a snack. If I see one more car, I will puke. I decide to ride to the next gas station and ask someone for a lift. And just as I choose on it, a “bike path” sign appears on the side. YESSS!!! A bike path! A “share the road” sign! A horizontal surface bike signage. Oh YESSS!
I have NEVER realised how IMPORTANT bike signs can be to a cyclist’s mental and physical well-being. Right now, they are precisely what is keeping me ON the road and not OFF it, curled up in the back of a van. Yes, drivers, I DO EXIST and I DO HAVE THE RIGHT to be on the road. I do belong.
The honking stops. The drivers calm down. The Road Authority has my back.
Note to whomever works in infrastructure: if you can’t squeeze a bike path in, pleeeease do install BIKE signs and horizontal signage to remind the drivers that cyclists are not pests they should be trying to exterminate. For we truly CAN share the road.
I make it to Washington D.C. safe, alive and in one piece. Phew!