Looking Out over the Potomac River from Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

Blue sky dotted with puffy clouds. A green tree is on the left side, and there are floating green plants in a river.

The weather shifted this week, and it’s still too hot for my precious self, but it is so, so much better than it has been. The timing is perfect for me and my bike. The ladyfriend is out of town touring the UK for three weeks, and she put the bike rack on the car before she left, because neither of us think I can be trusted to wrench the hitch rack on our tiny little car. I’ve got some open days between now and the semester starting, and I plan to spend as many of them as I can driving my bike to ride around new places.

I spent Monday night googling rail trails in the region, and I decided to head to Dyke Marsh, because I’m a dyke, and I love marshes. I love how they are both land and water, and are neither. Just A+ spaces. Plus, I was promised a lot of birds. My dad once got me a pair of binoculars for my birthday because he “heard lesbians are into birdwatching.” Not quite yet, but I did mutter that I might get into birdwatching several times last week, so perhaps here we go!

I worked up an impressive sweat getting my bike on the car just right and was off, joining the crowds on 295 down to DC. I listened to a couple of podcast episodes, took the wrong exit, drove around DC for a little bit, and then made it back on the freeway and then onto George Washington Parkway. I took a left into a parking lot, took my bike off the car, and I was on my way, fifteen miles of pedaling down to Mount Vernon and back, with only like three intersections where I might have seen a car. To ride without worries of getting hit is such a rare pleasure for me, and I want more of it, more, more more. Cars were still everywhere–I could hear them rushing along their street right next to mine–but if I looked the other way there were scenes like this one. It was just such a beautiful day, and I was so grateful to have a bike, access to a car, a rack, and a body that can ride my bike like I did.

I was totally gassed at the end. I hadn’t eaten nearly enough food or had as much that day as my body needed. I chugged the spare water bottle I had left in the car, put the bike back on the rack (it was much easier this time), and joined the traffic on 495 back toward Baltimore. I stopped for a filet o’ fish value meal on my way back, because that’s what I do when I have a car–get my comfort meal through the ol’ drive thru. And then I was back home, rolling my bike in the basement, drinking can after can of chilled seltzer, catching up on Love Island UK in preparation for tonight’s happy hour date with L.

These are the last days of what has been an exceedingly complicated summer for me, and Tuesday was one of the very best summer days I have had. Always grateful for a bike and a ride, and I look forward to the next one.

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