Crashing the White House


Nine hundred and ninety one days. That’s the number of days it has been since I last crashed which was on July 3, 2013. I broke my collarbone that day.

Today was to be simple. Real simple. We got a call yesterday that a foreign exchange student on her way home to Denver was stuck in New York since Denver got hit with 18″ of snow. Could she come stay with us for a few days? We said yes to picking up Katrin Bunke and her friend, Kaede Furusawa, too.


So what to do with two foreign exchange students “stranded” in the DC area? Go for a bike ride, of course. Added bonus of 80 degrees and the cherry blossoms at their peak. I asked Terry Moran if we could borrow a bike from his wife, Patty. He agreed. They agreed. We met Terry and Patty, picked up the bike then drove to Daingerfield Island for our adventure to see the cherry blossoms.

We left the lot and rode to Gravelly Point, stopping to watch the planes land over us. We made our way across the 14th Street Bridge and stopped at the Jefferson Memorial. As I was coming to a stop I saw Kaede stop and was talking to some students. These were her friends from the YFU trip in New York. They had added a Washington, D.C option but as it turned out, Katrin and Kaede got it for free.


We rode up to the Lincoln Memorial where Patty and the girls walked up inside the memorial while Terry and I waited with the bikes. We then directed the girls to the Vietnam Memorial where they walked down and visited. We stopped briefly at the World War II Memorial then made our way over to the White House.

Katrin and Kaede
Katrin and Kaede

We circled the Ellipse and as Terry tried to stop for a photo op he was directed by the Secret Service to keep on moving. So we all did. I came to the transition between street and sidewalk. And lurking there, unbeknownst to me, was a 3/4″ lip that was parallel to the street. As I turned my wheel it did not. I came crashing down on my left side, landing hard on my hip and elbow. Nothing broke but road rash mostly on my elbow. But my ego was shattered.


We went to the north portico of the White House so the girls could get a photo op, which had been denied them on the south side. We then got on the bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue and rode over to Ford’s Theater. Hoping to get them inside there was an hour wait.


Checking the time we decided it was best to call it a day. We headed out, carefully maneuvering through traffic and people to get back over to the 14th Street Bridge where one could ride without the crowds. A 15 mph head wind actually felt pretty good the last four miles back to the car.

For the girls who aren’t used to riding, the sunshine and 25 km (15 mi.) was enough of a ride. For me, it was enough of a ride too. With bruises and road rash, well, let’s just hope it’s another three years before I hit the pavement.


Brett the Walking Man


Yesterday I had 34-mile ride to Leesburg and back (from Reston). On the way back I passed a guy pushing a Burley trailer. As I passed him I decided I would turn around and talk with him. He looked like he had a story. And he did.


Brett Bramble is walking across America for overdose awareness. His sister, Brittany McNatt, died in 2014. We talked for about 10 minutes as I pedaled slowly with him.


Today I grabbed Terry Moran we we headed out to Purcellville. I had packed a care package of Cliff Bars, fruit, and doggie treats for Domino, Brett’s Labrador who is making the trip with him. Terry and I rode, never quite catching Brett.


I asked a few cyclists if they had passed a man and his dog walking across America but only got blank stares (and a kind ‘no’) in response. As we got close to Purcellville I knew the trail was running out. I had brief hope when ahead I saw a man pushing a trailer but quickly knew it wasn’t Brett and Domino.


We reached the trail’s end and Terry wanted to go into Trail’s End Cycling Company. It was closed. We made our way over to VeloUSA and met Nichole, the owner. We had a very nice conversation about riding in France but was cut short by a phone call. I told her I would be back.


It was disappointing that we never caught Brett. I sent him a message and he told me I just missed him – a matter of minutes. Oh well. Wishing you the best. Safe journeys ahead.