4/22/14

GUEST POST: Andrea's #bikeinbloom Adventure

Spring in the District of Columbia brings with it many pleasures, some of which are floral and others of which are arboreal. But along with these pleasures come associated afflictions, including pollen, the allergen of choice of #thistown, and even worse, bike-in-bloom-itis, that overwhelming desire to track, find and ride the metaphorical wild palomino that is the novelty pink Bikeshare bicycle decked out for the Cherry Blossom festival. I was certainly overcome by it and my brief time with the #bikeinbloom was definitely a highlight of my springtime. There's just something special about a pink flowery bicycle- something so special that many of member of #bikeDC covets the experience, while only a lucky few can see it through. Andrea, Corey, random H Street woman, and Anna were a few of the lucky few and their story (in which I play a somewhat incidental role) is below. Many thanks to Andrea for contributing! 

I had the thrill of riding Bike in Bloom, the charming Capital Bikeshare painted pink and flowery in honor of the cherry blossoms. Having taken a joyride once, I was at peace with the world.

Last Friday, I was suffering from cabin fever at the end of a work-from-home day. There were no errands to run, no meetings to attend, no bakery orders of cherry blossom cupcakes to pick up. Despite having ridden Bike in Bloom once, I was still enamored and continued to follow the #bikeinbloom hashtag on Twitter.

At precisely 6:00 pm on Friday, April 11, Brian/@SharrowsDC alerts me that Bike in Bloom is back on Capitol Hill at 15th and East Capitol Street. A precious six minutes elapse before I see the message.

He has tweeted an APB to #bikeinbloom and #bikeDC, complete with capital letters.


I spent the next hour and 45 minutes on a mad dash around the Hill, transfixed by an extreme case of Bike in Bloomitis, a season-specific springtime disorder characterized by an irrational, obsessive and maniacal urge to find, ride and photograph a heavy, pink, floral bicycle native to the Washington metropolitan area. Many ostensibly rational, functional Washingtonians have fallen under the hypnotic spell of Bike in Bloomitis this spring.

Roughly 20 minutes after learning Bike in Bloom is docked in my neighborhood, I roll up just as another CaBi member is unlocking it. He says he’ll be back to this station in a half hour. He’s locking his personal bike right here and taking Bike in Bloom on a short joyride for some @coreyholman and @maizeypumpkin family photographs. He’s a friendly chap and obviously a hashtagger who saw Brian’s APB. I bid him farewell and depart for my home station. I got another sighting and picture, meaning another contest entry. I was ready to call it a night. Bon soir, Bike in Bloom. Je t’aime.

But.

Impaired by Bike in Bloomitis, I fail to check the app before rolling away. I’m dockblocked at my home station and the next closest one, too. Now I’ve killed some time riding between stations and it feels like the next one is halfway back to 15th and East Cap. It’s not, but I’m delusional from Bike in Bloomitis.

I remember my Twitter exchanges with @12amintrigue, a.k.a. Anna. She was among the chirpiest of the #bikeinbloom hashtaggers and she had a burning case of Bike in Bloomitis. She once pled for the bike to come to Union Station/Stronghold, so I assumed that was her turf. I tweeted her that I was in hot pursuit of the bike. If she was near Union Station right now, I could bring it to her. “OMG, yes, I am.” True to the irrational behavior of Bike in Bloomitis sufferers, she dropped everything and stood sentry at the Columbus Circle station just in case, taking up position there when the story was only DEVELOPING.

I roll back to 15th and East Cap, where I’m relieved to see @coreyholman’s personal bike still there. It’s 7:04 and I think all is well. I breathe and begin a stakeout. Had I checked Twitter, I would have learned the station was dockblocked a few minutes earlier, so @coreyholman returned the bike to the next closest station. He appears in person and tells me what happened.

In my irrational state, I’m not understanding what he’s saying. The station in question is at the intersection of three streets. He’s saying 15th and Independence. I’m confused. In my mind, I consider it the 15th and Massachusetts station. He probably thinks I’m some kind of stupid. He points south and says it’s two blocks that way. I pivot and start to dash away on foot. He suggests I take a bike. Oh. Yeah. Duh.

“There it goes,” he says as I watch a woman pedal Bike in Bloom past us northbound on 15th. “Where ya goin’?” I shout to her. “H Street,” she says. I shout back that 13th and 11th are dockblocked. No comment.

She’s continuing up 15th and I’m giving chase about a block behind, stalking my prey with life-or-death intensity. I’m normally an extremely cautious cyclist, constantly eyeing sideways for opening car doors. Right now, all I can see is the pink bike in front of me. I feel like the @DCSnowyOwl: killer at capturing what’s straight ahead, deficient in peripheral vision. I’m trying awfully hard to stay aware that I am a vulnerable cyclist on a road with cars, but every ounce of my being is fixated on Bike in Bloom.

Wait, is she …

She hangs a sharp right and I can’t believe my eyes. She. Is. Docking. Bike. In. Bloom. We’re at 15th and F Streets NE, a low-traffic station with no one else around. As she docks it in, I catch up and tell her to take a picture to win prizes. Not interested. She docks, she walks. Anonymous has left the game.

Mine! Mine! Bike in Bloom is mine! It’s 7:12 and I tweet Anna the good news.

Ring. About 10 minutes later, I’m trumpeting my arrival at Union Station/Columbus Circle. She hears my bell and looks up. There are no words to express her joy. Her fiancĂ©, Dane, is there with a car. Two bewildered tourists are there trying to begin a rental with a credit card. There’s only one bike other than Bike in Bloom, so the tourists have a problem. Anna, Dane and I are crazed animals taking pictures and figuring out the logistics of who now travels where by what mode. Me, dock in Bike in Bloom to end my rental. Anna, grab that last bike for me. Hands keys to Dane, who has no idea what to do. OK, now Bike in Bloom is yours, Anna. Wait, you can’t have two bikes out with one key. We are all entranced by Bike in Bloom, so irrationality prevails. We’re undoubtedly scaring the tourists.

“Where’s the next nearest station?” the tourists ask. I’m distracted, but try to explain. They look at the machine and the station map.

Anna just wants to ride.

She’s going to bike home and Dane will drive. I ran out of the house without my wallet, so I don’t have money, SmarTrip or my car2go card. I can only bike or walk. As we’re having an impromptu multimodal caucus, another bike is returned. So, now there are two bikes for the two tourists. I declare that everyone should go on their way and I’ll wait for the next bike. Feels like it might rain. No biggie, I can shelter in Union Station.

Dane offers me a ride home. OK, I accept. We get to my house and talk in the car for a few minutes. She tells me Anna was practically in tears when I tweeted I might get the bike for her.

I don’t doubt it, given this triumphant picture labeled #dreamscometrue.  And here’s a slideshow of all her pitstops.

I get back to my house at 7:45, after almost two hours of a Bike in Bloom-induced frenzy.

I hope CaBi acts on the proven popularity of Bike in Bloom and perhaps follows Tony Goodman’s suggestion to paint a patriotic bike for the 4th of July. I can’t help but wax philosophical about the larger lesson: always ask for what you want. Anna was just another person using the #bikeinbloom hashtag. I was reading the entire thread studiously, noting the most vocal tweeters. She often asked where the bike was. She made it clear she wanted it. She projected an enthusiastic, likeable attitude. (Personal branding!) I noticed she was geographically nearby. I noticed she was a woman and I’m predisposed to support other women. (Sisterhood is powerful, you know). The moment arose where I could help her because I knew what she wanted.

On a sidenote, Anna’s ride ended near her home East of the River. To the best of my knowledge, hers is the first and possibly only documented Bike in Bloom trip EOTR. Later that night, she tipped off another member who rode EOTR, too. If Bike in Bloom spent the night EOTR, that’s where CaBi had to go fetch it before its appearance in the Cherry Blossom Parade Saturday.

What a glorious celebrity to worship, this Bike in Bloom, a multi-jurisdictional traveler who won the hearts and minds of the CaBi community this spring.

4/15/14

Rain in, rain out

Some notes from a very rainy day: 

-Nothing can keep you dry. It's mostly pointless to try. My bag did surprisingly well in keeping my work clothes unwet and the inner pockets of my rain coat mostly succeeded in protecting my wallet and phone. But me? Soaked soaked soaked soaked soaked. Oh well. 

- Ban 18 wheelers from city streets and not just because one splashed me. 

- I heard a rumor that DDOT hired Bob Ballard to find and bring to the surface the M Street Cycletrack. 

- I rode past a car with a license plate holder that read "I'd rather be riding dressage." For real. Fancy horse prancing is the latest trend in multimodalism. 

- There's nothing unintentional about my riding in the middle of the lane, especially in the rain. I really don't mess around on roads with no bike accommodations when the weather's bad and when visibility is poor. If I feel I need the space, I'm gonna take the space. Relatedly- JUST CHANGE LANES! There's nothing quite as mind-boggling (-ly infuriating) as a driver who would prefer to try to "squeeze" past you rather than move over to a wide-open left lane. (In other news, cars don't really "squeeze." If anything's to be squeezed, it's me and I'm not really into that sorta thing.) At it's best, doing this is totally thoughtless and at it's worst it's totally thoughtless. It's really easy and makes a big, big difference. 

- Much of my ride on the morning is uphill and for much of that time I was riding headlong into onrushing streams of fallen rainwater. It was kinda wild. Like something out of the Poseidon Adventure or a Brita commercial. 

- I'm normally really nice, but rain makes me mean. I apologize for the f bombs, which, due to our antiquated sewer system, mix with the rain water and pollute local rivers and streams. I'm fairly certain one made its way to a duck and that duck is deeply offended by my cursing. Once again, sorry to any and all mallards, woodland creatures, river fish, and/or people. 

- It was stupid cold this afternoon and I was totally unprepared for it. I am grateful to have regained feeling in my remaining fingers. I need to start looking at the whole day's forecast and not just the morning's temperature. Or packing for every weather contingency ever, which would be, admittedly, difficult. 

- I counted 14 other people out on bikes this afternoon over the course if the whole trip. That's a very low number of bicyclists. Can't really blame anyone for not being out today. It was gross. 

- Twigs are the enemy. It's even worse for a Bromptoneer. The folding bike did perform admirably today, though maybe it would've also performed admirably folded and on the Metro. 

Anyway, here's to a dry tomorrow. 

4/8/14

On The "Protected" M Street Cycletrack

There's a picture going around that shows the "first protected cycletrack" in DC in reference to the impending M Street Cycletrack. It looks like this:

From WAMU's Martin DiCaro

That looks great! A cycletrack protected by a granite curb would be a really great addition to DC's bicycle infrastructure. But here's the problem: the curb-protected part is just 30 feet long. That's it. See here:



The curb-protected portion of the M Street cycletrack is solely for the section of cycletrack where bicyclists are diverted from westbound M Street to eastbound Rhode Island Avenue. The designers did this to help bicyclists through a tricky intersection at M, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Here's what this section like as a proportion of the entire cycletrack:



So, in conclusion, while there are parts of the M Street cycletrack that will be buffered by car parking and other parts that are buffered by plastic flexposts (and even a part that runs behind a bus stop, which is kinda neat) and other parts that are solely designated by paint, the part that is curb-protected is only a dozen yards out of bike facility that runs 14 city blocks or so.

4/3/14

Unsolicited Advice For People Who Might Want Advice on Bike Commuting

Have you noticed that it's spring? Sort of? Along with buds on trees, spring also brings us new buds in bike lanes- people who have decided that perhaps the time is right to begin or begin again commuting by bicycle. I think that's great. I know that when I first starting riding a bike to work regularly, I spent a fair amount of time (or maybe just once or twice) googling 'bike commuter advice' or 'bike commuter tips' or 'bike commute with toy poodle safe?' in the hope that perhaps the collective wisdom of the people on the internet might provide me some guidance on how to better do the thing that I had just started to set upon doing. Whether this was ultimately a fruitful exercise is not something I'm totally able to answer. In many regards, there is little substitution for lived experience and additionally, not everyone has the same opinions on these things (I know, people disagreeing on the internet? Well, I never!), but I offer below some musings on things that you can choose to acknowledge or ignore as you transition to sometimes or always riding your bicycle to work:

1. Keep your tires inflated. Seems pretty obvious, but surprisingly easy to not do. Floor pumps are better than hand pumps, but best of all would be a mechanism that incorporates Reebok Pump sneakers, but I'm assuming that intellectual property issues have prevented such an amazing technology from coming to market. Lots of bike shops have pumps available and if you happen to ride past one during the hours that the store is open or if there's always one outside, you can get by relying on those. There are a few public pumps in DC, but not a ton.

2. Give approximately zero fucks if someone bicycles faster than you. The speed at which you commute has approximately zero bearing on anything. Faster does not mean "better at bike commuting" and slower does not mean "worse at bike commuting." Bike commuting isn't college football. There is no AP poll of bike commuters and the top 4 bike commuters will not meet in a series of overhyped bowl games to determine which 2 bike commuters will compete for the national championship brought to you by Tostitos. If you like to ride fast, go crazy* . If you don't, don't. There is no right or wrong speed to ride your bike to work. You'll eventually develop your own pace and it'll work for you. If you want to ride faster because riding fast is a thing you want to do, then do it. Just don't feel pressured to do it by anyone. Also, say no to drugs and eat your vegetables. But what if you want to eat vegetables, but you need to take a drug in order to do so because you're allergic or something? What then? WHAT THEN? I have no answer for you.
* go crazy within reason. You can go fast without being inconsiderate.

3. Figure out if you can bike in your work clothes or if you need to change when you get to work. You really don't want to get this wrong. No one wants to work with the gross guy who bikes 8 miles uphill in his suit and arrives covered in sweat and smells really bad. Every office has a different dress code and different facilities (maybe showers, maybe a gym?), so you'll need to determine the correct level of grossness tolerance at yours and how your bicycling to work might impact your own individual grossness. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Just don't be delusional about it.

4. Some rides will be better than others. That's ok. Some drives are better than others. Some metro trips are better than others. Some walks are better than others. Some sandwiches are better than others. Don't let one frustrating or tiresome or just plain crummy bike commute dissuade you from the whole enterprise. On balance, I find, that if you decide to stick with it (and ultimately, it's a decision. No one is forcing you and if you don't want to commute by bike, don't force yourself to do it) the good rides are more common than the bad ones.

5. At red lights where there is no bike lane, merge with car traffic. So let's say you're one of those lame bicyclists who lamely pays attention to lame traffic laws, and you're riding down a street and you notice that you're coming up to a red light. I find it helpful to move more towards the middle of the lane and get in line with the drivers who might also be waiting at that light. This does a few things, but most importantly, it keeps you visible and lessens the likelihood of your getting hooked by a turning car. It also clearly indicates when it's your turn to go, thereby lessening CONFUSION. Also, I think when bicyclists try to sneak by in the little space between stopped cars and the curb, it's sometimes awkward, at least if you have my level of coordination and depth perception. You don't really want to accidentally bump into anything or fall over trying to fit yourself and your bike through a space not wide enough to fit you. Anyway, this is just something I find to be helpful. I don't know if it's LCI approved or anything.

6. Know if public transportation is available on your route and if you can take your bike on it. Just in case of unforeseen mechanical problems or if you just don't feel like riding anymore or anything in between. It's always good to have a backup plan. If you can't take your bike with you and can't tarry in getting to work, disguise your bike using mud, twigs, and leaves and hide it amongst nearby shrubbery. Or throw your bike into the upper branches of a tree to keep it away from bears. Or lock it up somewhere safe-looking and get it when you can. I don't think I've ever left my bike overnight somewhere other than my workplace because I'm a big baby and worry about it getting stolen and also because I use my rear blinky light as a night light and to make sure that ships don't crash into our house, so I always try to get my bike back as soon after work as I can. Speaking of which...

7. Lights at night. Always. This is non-negotiable.

8. Be obliging, but not submissive. So, this one is kind of tricky and maybe more an attitudinal stance than anything else, but generally speaking, I think that courtesy is paramount. Whether we like it or not and no matter how we're getting to work, we're pretty much all in this together. If you have the chance to be polite, taking that chance wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. For example, if your moving slightly over wouldn't in any way imperil or impact you and would give the driver behind you a little more room to safely pass you, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing that. Should you always ride two inches from the curb and jump to the sidewalk every time a car pulls up behind you? No. That's silly. I just think a commitment to convivencia, especially when there are no real negative stakes, is something worth pursuing. Some other points vaguely related:

a. Don't be hyper-legalistic about your "rights to the road" unless you're going to be hyper-legalistic about everyone else's rights to it too. That typically means that you shouldn't disrespect pedestrians. Think of them as bicyclists without bikes. Or gauchos without horses and a backdrop of the pampas and cattle of any kind.

b. Think "if I saw another person do this thing I'm about to do, would I think that person is being rude?" If the answer is yes, then maybe don't do it. If the answer is no, ask yourself again but pretend that person is someone who don't like. For example, If Jennifer Lawrence or Anne Hathaway just did that, would you be like "ok, that's fine" or would you be like "HOW DARE SHE!" [point of order: I don't have strong dislike towards either Jennifer Lawrence or Anne Hathaway, but I think some people do for some reason]

c. Karma is real and the universe has a way of coming into balance. I don't believe in a lot of things, but I believe unreservedly in this.

d. Very few grievances in the history of the world have been successfully redressed by shouting at someone through an open car window. Maybe I'm a pushover, but I try to just let things go. Sure, I'll flip a bird or make some remark at the moment of transgression, but then it's over. Unless someone hits you or threw something at your or otherwise created some seriously harmful situation, it's probably not worth trying to chase them down. I firmly believe that all people living in a city (not just bicyclists) have a civic responsibility to get over the tiny little annoying (but ultimately harmless) things that their fellow citizens do.Maybe you'll be happier not trying to seek out vengeance  for every tiny slight. Or maybe, because of that one time you yelled at the one lady who thoughtlessly did a jerk thing, you'll fix all of the grievances in the world and no one will ever do a jerk thing to anyone else ever again. I don't know.

9. Have fun. People listen to the radio in cars to make their commutes less boring. Same reason people read on the Metro. These commute modes afford the opportunity to partially accommodate a certain level of amusement. As does bicycling. Maybe you can't read or don't want to listen to music during your bike commute, but you can try to use the time to enjoy yourself. To clear your head. To think about funny dogs you've known. To look at contemporary fashion and wonder why it's not more Jetson-y. There are lots of ways to generally angle your disposition towards fun-having and doing that, I think, isn't a bad idea.

In conclusion, don't take advice from random people on the internet. Commute to work by bicycle if you'd like and pay attention to the world around you and try to be a mostly kind person when doing both of those things and that's pretty much all that I have to say on the matter. Enjoy spring.

3/27/14

The Coveted Tales From The Sharrows Endorsements

*This is not about bicycling, though elements related to bicycling, as local political conditions might influence them, might be mentioned in passing or in some depth.

I was going to write this yesterday, but I'm glad I held off on account of my now having become famous thanks to the good folks at the Washington Post Express, the free metro paper you might know from reading on the Metro or seeing abandoned, strewn on the floor of a bus. If you'd like to read my whole post about how winter needs to go, it's here. I promise to only use my fame for good and not evil, unless of course evil gets me free stuff, such as jet skis. If the good folks at Sea-Doo are reading, I am available for endorsement and/or to star in rocking commercials in which I bad-assedly perform epic jet ski maneuvers then turn to the camera with a toothy grin and say something like "Sea-Doo: it's not just another word for whale poop" or whatever your catch phrase is these days. I also look forward to using my fame to influence the upcoming primary, my endorsements being roughly the equivalent of $668,000 of shadowy illegal cash goodness. I look forward to not being indicted, at least not for this blog post.

Now, the endorsements.

First off, I endorse this sandwich:




It's the reuben from Deli City on Bladensburg Road. Really good sandwich. Secondly, I endorse, Deli City getting some proper bike parking:


I get the feeling that they don't get a lot of customers arriving by bike. But isn't that the best reason to put some up? Bicyclists love bicycling, but they also love sandwiches, so there's a missed opportunity right there. In spite of having to lock up against that sign across the street (there were some chain link fences closer, but I don't think you're supposed to lock up on those- too easy to cut), I still endorse riding your bike to Deli City and eating one of their sandwiches.

Now onto the political endorsements.

Ward 6: Charles Allen

Charles Allen is the Ward 6 candidate who has dedicated the past 10 years to making this place better. He knows the details of the ward inside and out and is intimately acquainted with the interior workings of the Council, the vicissitudes and complications of the Ward's major issues, the challenges faced by all of its residents, the opportunities for positive change, and will be a solid, ethical, progressive voice on a Council that needs more solid, ethical, progressive voices.

His opponent is also a Ward 6 candidate.

It's funny because there's been some scuttlebutt on one of the neighborhood listservs about Charles' role as Tommy Wells' Chief of Staff. When it's mentioned that he's spent all of the time working on behalf of the Ward, the rejoinder was "yeah, but isn't that his job? He's just doing his job." I mean, on one hand, ok, yeah he's doing his job. Why wouldn't you want someone who has successfully worked full-time on behalf of local issues to now take on a bigger and more public role doing the same thing? Seems kinda like a good idea. Secondly, yes, it's his job. He chose it and he stayed in it. He actively chose many years ago to work in DC politics. Working for the residents of Ward 6 isn't some dalliance or stepping stone to a higher office. It's not a step out of line with the trajectory of the rest of his career. He's not running for 'City Council' for any other reason thanto continue the work that he's been engaged with for the past decade and to make this place, the place I happen to live, even better. That's not just experience: it's a statement of values and I think those are values that Ward 6 voters should embrace.

Charles in also endorsed by Washington City Paper, Washington Post, Greater Greater Washington, The Hill is Home and probably would enjoy that reuben, but I don't know for sure his position on that sandwich or any sandwiches really, so I'll have to ask him.

Disclosure: I put together all of these yards signs for Charles last night. This is the only local campaign for which I have volunteered or actually feel very much of a strong preference. It was like 400 signs and took a couple of hours of menial labor. Maybe get one for your yard?

knife goes in, guts come out 
Ward 1: Brianne Nadeau

I don't live in Ward 1, but it seems pretty obvious to me that it's time for a change. As much as I enjoy sometimes talking to Jim Graham from the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack, me on my bike, him in his VW, I'd be equally happy talking to someone else. Happier even. The qualms about Graham are many and the qualms about Nadeau seem to primarily be made-up and flailing and self-implicating. Here are her positions on transportation and they seem fine. I like what she says about pedestrian safety and market-driven parking options. Anyway, this one seems like a no brainer.

At-Large: Anita Bonds

BIKERS SHOULD HAVE LICENSE PLATES AND ROADS THAT ARE TOO NARROW SHOULDN'T HAVE BIKE LANES AND THERE NEEDS TO BE A PLAN TO STOP THOSE HORRIBLE BIKERS FROM TAKING AWAY ALL OF OUR PRECIOUS PARKING AND ALSO THIS ONE TIME THIS BIKER CAME FROM OUT OF NOWHERE AND HE ALMOST MADE ME HIT HIM WITH MY CAR BUT I SLAMMED ON THE BRAKES AND THEN I DIDN'T HIT HIM AND HE WASN'T EVEN GRATEFUL ABOUT THAT AND DIDN'T THANK ME PROFUSELY FOR NOT HITTING HIM AND THAT'S JUST WRONG BECAUSE HE'S SUPPOSED TO SHARE THE ROAD AND HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE INSURANCE AND MY TAXES GO TO FORT MYER CONSTRUCTION PAVING THE ROAD AND HE DOESN'T EVEN PAY HIS FAIR SHARE AND I'M SO UPSET AND CONFUSED AND ANGRY AND TRY TO PANDER TO AN AUDIENCE THAT THINKS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN DC IS THAT SOMETIMES PEOPLE BICYCLE AND WHEN THEY DO SOMETIMES IT FORCES YOU TO HAVE TO SLOW DOWN YOUR CAR FOR A WHOLE 3 SECONDS AND THAT SOMEHOW ALSO TRANSLATES INTO THEM BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THE TRAFFIC IN ALL OF DC EVEN THOUGH ALSO BARELY ANYONE BIKES BUT ALSO THEY'RE EVERYWHERE, AT LEAST EVERYWHERE ON THE SIDEWALK WHEN I'M ON THE SIDEWALK BECAUSE THIS ONE TIME THIS ONE BIKER PASSED ME ON THE SIDEWALK AND I GOT STARTLED- STARTLED!!!- AND THAT'S WHY WE SHOULD HAVE A MORATORIUM ON BIKE LANES EVEN THOUGH THAT WOULD CAUSE MORE PEOPLE TO BIKE ON THE SIDEWALK OR BIKE FARTHER OVER ON THE ROAD, IN WHICH CASE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT BIKES SLOWING DOWN THEIR DRIVING OR STARTLING- STARTLING!!!- THEM ON THE SIDEWALK WOULD ACTUALLY BE PROMOTING THE VERY SAME THINGS THAT THEY'RE CURRENTLY COMPLAINING ABOUT.

You know what, come to think of it, you should vote for either John Settles or Nate Bennett-Fleming. Like everyone else, I can't really decide between the two. I think I'm going to vote for John Settles, with whom I've done business. He tends to be more specific in his answers to questions and I think he's pretty smart on the issues. I like his plan for an urban village at the RFK site, which conforms with my general view that we should just "build more city." [UPDATE: I believe that both John and Nate said some pro-bike things at the Loose Lips debate. John is himself a bicyclist and Nate is arranging a pro-Nate bike ride this Sunday- see comments. Just figured I should mention the bike angle, which I forgot to do initially.] Unfortunately, it looks like Nate and John are going to split the vote in this one and I'll be sure to write you from the gulag when all bicyclists are sent there for re-education and hard labor. This is a good time to mention that I also endorse the The Rent is Too Darn High slate for the DC Democratic State Committee, the organization that sent CM Bonds to the Council in the first place. If for no other reason (though there are probably other reasons), the DCDSC needs a shake-up.

Council Chair: The Mendo
Ward 3: Mary Cheh
Ward 5: Kathy Henderson Harry Thomas, Jr. Kenyan McDuffie

All seem pretty obvious.

Delegate to the House of Representatives: Tim Krepp

Again, pretty obvious. You might know him as 'man who takes pictures of people peeing in his alley' or as the 'face of the polar vortex' or the author of books about ghosts on Capitol Hill and Georgetown, but I know him as a guy who lives down the street. I can promise you this: Tim Krepp will treat the position of Delegate with the respect and honor it deserves.

Mayor

I wrote about my ambivalence the other day, so I don't think I'm going to endorse anyone. I think I've firmed up my own decision to vote for Tommy Wells. Maybe it's quixotic, maybe it's not voting strategically, maybe it's ensuring that a candidate who I don't prefer wins. But when you prefer neither of the top two candidates, I don't really want to choose who I don't prefer less, you know? I think the thing that surprises me the most about this election is how Muriel Bowser hasn't won me over the way she's presumably won over so many voters disaffected by Gray. I mean, I've had pretty open mind for the entire primary season and have only just now decided that I'm pulling the lever (touching the screen?) for Wells and I've followed this election pretty closely and in all this time, I really haven't heard anything from Muriel Bowser that made me ever think "you know what, I like this thing that she just said and maybe I should vote for her." But maybe you have or maybe you've decided that she's the most viable non-Gray candidate and her not being Gray (the way Gray wasn't Fenty) is the most crucial factor right now and maybe you've been more persuaded than I am. Or maybe you're more convinced that Gray didn't do anything wrong or has done more things right, on balance, than things wrong and or maybe you're convinced that he's a better mayor than anyone else, allegations be damned, so why not reelect? But when all is said and done, Bowser hasn't convinced me on the positions and Gray hasn't convinced me on character, and the only candidate, even though he will not win, who has won me over on both who he is and what he values is Tommy Wells. I don't think I can endorse him because I feel like you probably shouldn't endorse based on the process of elimination, but he's who I'm going to choose.

The Democratic Primary is April 1.