On the second day I spent in Washington, I was able to take a bit more time to explore the city, primarily by checking out the Smithsonian. The Museum of American History was fun- a lot of exhibits were at least somewhat relevant to my trip, from a timeline of Americans’ means of traveling to the development and birth of the U.S. Highway system to a (small) display comparing bicycles of the past and present. (Check out that frame design!)
After reaching peak knowledge absorption levels, I headed over to Georgetown University to meet with some students from Georgetown Eco Action and Georgetown University Fossil Free. Despite my lack of a slick multimedia presentation, it was exciting to meet with students who are hoping to get involved in climate action. Besides talking about the logistics of biking across the country, a major brainstorming and discussion point was how to be heard both on and off college campuses, and what students (and recent college graduates) can do to make their voices heard. In Washington, I think, there are a lot of opportunities that aren’t really available to people outside of the capital- the sheer number of bureaus, agencies, and departments, not to mention the existing lobbying organizations, are great places to start for publicizing your opinions.
An unfortunate side effect of visiting Georgetown was the death of my headset (the part of the bike that holds the fork and front wheel to the rest of the bike). Fortunately, DC is the land of many bike shops as well as many opportunities, and The Bike Rack (14th and Q St NW) was able to get me set up with a new headset…which also mandated a new fork. I bid a sweet farewell to the Easton EC30, and left it at Wheelnuts bike shop in Alexandria, VA because of a strange law about pawnbrokers in DC. (If you want a sweet carbon fork CHEEP go call them RIGHT NOW; it will probably fit any bike with a 56 cm frame and will DEFINITELY ft any 1989 Cannondale Criterium 56cm or smaller) Disappointing, but hopefully this should be trouble free for the remainder of the voyage (and long afterwards) so I suppose it’s an investment in the future.
Challenges were plentiful as I headed south on the TransAmerica trail. Fog, flat tire, flat tire, weirdly worn-out trailer tire, poor bike lanes, and big trucks all tried their hardest to slow me down, but with a beautiful Virginia sunset lighting the way west, I was still able to push onwards and made over 68 miles in about 5 and a half hours of riding- very good time, and a very good sign for the next few days of the journey. Next in the to-do list: find out why one trailer tire is wearing so quickly, and repair/replace as necessary if the problem can’t be fixed by loading.
At least the weather made riding easier: starting with a fog in Washington, by the time I had reached Mt. Vernon the sun was blazing brightly on the Potomac, and the solar panel was running full blast for most of the afternoon.
Light skies allowed me to keep riding for a few minutes after sunset, and made for a beautiful end to a challenging day.
I’ve definitely had some equipment difficulties so far, and every time I have been incredibly thankful for all the support coming in from gofundme.com/renewableride. If you’ve already donated, keep an eye on your mailbox! Something might be coming soon! I am truly grateful for your donations- they’ve helped me get through worn tires, headset repairs, and brake problems- and I’m honored that you consider the ride a cause worthy of your support.
Till next time!