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Friday, November 1, 2013

Day1 Affirmation of the Crawford-Clauswitz-Kelly Constraint of Bike Touring

11/01/2013 44m
Linthicum to Aberdeen, MD
Started off on a self-imposed adventure today, which I've been pipe-dreaming about for about five years. I finally decided it was time to poop or piss off, or something like that.

To cut to the chase, today affirmed a great lesson that my friend Bob Crawford taught me: No plan withstands first contact with the enemy. There are two follow-up points to be made: Bob modestly maintains that it was actually Clauswitz who said it first, and whenever you mention the phrase "first contact" around Star Trek fans you just lose the narrative thread for an undetermined period of time; just let it go, don't fight it.

There is the Kelly Corollary to the Crawford-Clauswitz construct: the enemy is us. Together, they form the Crawford-CLauswitz-Kelly Constraint of Bike Touring: the plan won't survive first contact; the cyclist themselves are the enemy; and just let the plan go, don't fight it, and yes it was very pretty-shiny while it lasted.

In this particular instance, I was supposed to depart the Res at 0200 and begin pedaling in Linthicum, MD at 0800. When I was a younger man, doing things like departing on a trip at 0200 was no problem at all; in fact, doing such a thing seemed completely normal. I lost "the gift of all hours" at the age of 48, and now that I am 55.85 I am completely unable to do such a thing. Also, I have developed the irksome habit of procrastination, which is very dangerous to me because my father became a procrastinator in the last phase of his life, so I am tempted to consider my new bad habit as a charming feature rather than a bug, and that is a particularly pernicious temptation.

So, I actually departed the Res at 0730, and actually started pedalling in Linthicum MD at 1430. And that whole sunset thing just doesn't care about me and my original intention, it just sticks with its own plan and will not adapt at all.

I must thank DC-Baltimore Randonneur ChesapeakeSailor for allowing me to leave my vehicle at his place of business during my trip, it is very kind of him and I hope that someday I get to return the favor. Perhaps by driving him back to BWI after he rides the trail to Pittsburgh, I'm thinking.

It was a lovely day for riding, and I had a tailwind as I rode north-east on Route 40. I have not been in Baltimore too often. I did see some Zeke's Coffee bumperstickers, apparently they have a knockoff of Pittsburgh's original Zeke's coffee down there. I liked the neighborhoods I rode through. They've got their gritty spots. Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Brooklyn all share a common vibe; there's got to be more to it than all of them having stoops.

Once I busted out of the city of Baltimore proper, and got aligned with Route 40, the shoulder was plentiful. Route 40 north of Baltimore is a bit like Route 30 through Pa and West Virginia: accurate portrayals of some very different slices of America.

Automobilists (I mean- if I'm a bicyclist, they're an automobilist, right?) both in the city and out in the exurbs were extremely bike-courteous. Bicyclists were friendly and exchanged friendly acknowledgements.

Although I had planned this as a camping trip (hence the significant baggage) I made a decision to get off the road at Aberdeen after 8pm. It was a very nice night, and my lights were working very well, but I tend to remember that Friday evenings are the peak probability for cyclist fatal accidents (per Forrester), it's football season, and I just couldn't see riding in the way-dark in a strange territory on a pleasure ride... because I slept in, in a city 300 miles away.

The Holiday Inn Express was extremely amused when I walked in with my bike and blinkies, and when they got to the part of the check-in when they asked, "Car license plate number?" I so wished I could do the Mr. Spock one-raised-eyebrow thingy. I've never been able to do that.

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