Ride Home 7/27

A quick reminder about what we I do here: I write about the crap stuff I see and/or think about during my daily bike commute. Sometimes I write during my lunch break, sometimes I write when I'm ignoring my spouse and puppy at home (sorry!). Most of the time, I tell the truth, but occasionally I tell fanciful and elaborate lies. Just kidding! I almost exclusively tell fanciful and elaborate lies. In fact, I don't even know how to ride a bicycle. (This last part might be true, in spite of the fact that I bike to work). This recap is for the benefit of any new readers (Alex?) and for myself, so as to prevent lapses into discussions of 80s movies and helicopters.
No one obeys traffic laws. This isn't so much a judgment as it is a truism. The sooner we all accept this, the happier we will all be. Maybe not happier per se, but at least more acknowledging of rank hypocrisy. I don't say this exclusively to excuse my own dalliances away from legality, but just to point out an easy to ignore fact. And as arbiter of "facts," I score double smug points on the game of Smuggle (like scrabble, but based on pointing out self-righteousness instead of spelling words) that I'm asynchronously playing against all all bike advocates. Woo!
If you have to honk to alert a bicyclist that you're passing, you're probably doing it wrong. Either there's room to pass safely and you can do so without warning the fairly helpless individual in front of you or there's not and maybe you should wait. Please don't honk. Ever. Especially if you're a parking enforcement vehicle. We can hear you. You have an internal combustion engine. It's not exactly stealth.
50 States ride is open. I think I will join, but we might (inshallah) be moving around that time, so I think I'm going to hold off on my registration. Hooray for prudence and forethought! Except, it's capped at 500 riders and if I wait, I probably won't get in. Anyone gonna do it on a CaBi?
One of the perils of riding through the Key Marriott parking lot is the potential for conflict when exiting the lot at Nash. The exit crosses the Custis trail and it's highly likely that some jerk scofflaw cyclist (boo cyclists!) will ignore the signal and continue on the trail and not look for traffic coming up the slight rise from the hotel parking garage. I urge caution, both for scofflaw cyclists and for those cutting through the lot and up the hill. I'd hate to think that the cause of a commute collision would be another biker, but these things happen.
I wish I had the carefree attitude that would allow me to ride without a helmet, but I just can't do it. I'm not sure that anyone should. Here's a TED talk about why you shouldn't wear a helmet. On the other hand, helmets are pretty cheap and I'd hate the idea of thinking that there was an easy and cheap precaution I could take that I instead choose to foreswear that might in someway mitigate the negative consequences of a horrible accident. So, maybe I've been cowed by the "biking isn't safe" crowd, but I'm going to keep wearing a helmet. I will not, however, wear a an 1896 body shield.
One of the services that Bike Arlington doesn't (yet) provide is door-to-door bike chauffeurs, whereby one of their staff members (in this case, Tim) will ride along with you during your commute. However, if you get lucky, you might chance upon one during along Wilson Boulevard, as I did today, and you'll pick up a great companion for your ride home. We talked keeping cool (wear flip flops because your feet sweat a lot!), the weather (not as bad as last week!) the commute regulars (including members of the county staff), and baby "portaging." Seeing him also reminded me that I need to write up my piece on bike parking at Arlington grocery stores. Look for that soon and heckle me if I don't get it out in the next few days. Your scorn is my motivation (this, in latin, is on my family crest).
For whatever reason, at Quincy, I switched to friction, the wild and wooly world beyond index, in which my barend shifter lost all sense of clickiness and moved about freely and fast. I still can't tell you the benefits (this maybe? Not to be confused with this), but it was kind of fun. I didn't somehow dislodge my chain, so I consider this a small victory. I also managed to avoid any awful chain clanginess (not a word), so I consider this a small accomplishment as well. If anyone has any further insight into the matter, feel free to comment. I don't feel particularly attached to any kind of shifting and since I'm easily swayed by any strong opinion, now if your chance to convince me to adopt whatever way you feel is best.


  1. Damn you think a lot!
    You must be terribly clever.
    do you dictate all this as you go or remember it and write it down later?

    I don't think i've had this many thoughts in the lasy six months, let alone on one ride!

  2. All the thinking isn't necessarily a good thing. I try to remember as best I can after the ride, but sometimes I'll repeat things over and over again while I ride. I don't take notes, but maybe I should.