Ride Home 11/16

So if I were being maudlin, I'd tell you that every day at the bike rack after I unlock my bike, I think to myself "please, let's not have this be the day when I have a collision" and then I think "here's hoping" and then I start my ride. It'd just a thing that I do (I think these are called superstitions) and I don't mean to do it to make myself nervous, but just to put myself in the mindset that maybe things can (but aren't necessarily) be dangerous out there and that I should ride in a way that reflects that. For what it's worth, I do the same thing, more or less, every time I get in the car.
Tonight was the first night of triple light (my new blinky on my rear rack, my old blinky clipped to my saddle bag and my helmet blinky on my helmet) and I felt reasonably confident about my level of red blinking lights. I was lit up like the world's most banal, communist Christmas tree. Strangely enough, the phrase "lit up like the world's most banal, communist Christmas tree" features frequently in my personal and professional correspondence. Just kidding! (...?)
All sorts of excitement on Massachusetts, mostly because some drivers feel the need for speed and I merely feel the need for not getting him by them. A frequent occurrence that causes angst is cars parking just on the other side of the Mass/Garfield intersection and other cars stopped to turn left immediately thereafter. The angst part comes when drivers try to squeeze between the left-turners and the parked cars with little regard as to whether there is bike traffic (that's me!) occupying the same space. But so it goes. Being aware of potential hazards and dealing with them every day is much better than ignoring them. But it's not better than caramel corn, which, on the hierarchy of candied snacks, is somewhere in the middle.
What if the Q street bike lane was better? I mean, it's not bad, but it could definitely be better.
14th street for the first time, thanks to a reader suggestion. (If you suggest it, I'll probably do it. That's not a guarantee, that's a threat!) It was much better lighted than 15th and the stop lights were much more amenable. Thomas Circle (not Dave Thomas Circle) isn't great, but that has more to do with pickup truck drivers and less to do with bicycle infrastructure, which is ample/adequate. On the other side of the circle, the road remains wide (and wide open) until about New York Ave, but then it was traffic. Car traffic it was that stopped me and I didn't have much choice other than to wait in it. At 14th and E, I tried to outstmart everyone by crossing the street, but that only led me to wait on the sidewalk for the light to change again and then navigate my way through the crossing pedestrians, not just at E, but also to get to Penn. You can't really outsmart congestion. If only I could have honked at it...
Relatively few bicyclists on Pennsylvania. The "safety" bollards might be coming down soon. Might as well. I really wish there was more overhead light on America's Main Street.
I don't normally find parked cars to be aesthetically pleasing and I certainly don't find 15-20 parked black SUVS in front of the Capitol to be aesthetically pleasing either. I sort of think it degrades the building and with regard to the halls of Congress, that's saying something! But this is the way of the world and it's a reminder that the way of the world involves lots of black SUVs parked in front of white marble buildings for some reason. Security probably. At least the Capitol will be replaced become a Walmart soon, I think.


  1. I don't know how you ride on the street on Mass Ave. I tried really hard to take your advice, but going down it during rush hour is just a disaster (though I will at slower hours), and coming back up it (even at 2 PM, which is when I've been heading home lately) stresses me out to the point where I can't breathe right.

    I guess I just enjoy climbing it at my own pace...and yes, that intersection with Garfield is a bear.

    By the way, thank you for the inspiration to restart up my own blog after several failed attempts.

  2. Hurrah for new routes and the cruising speed of 14th! (see also: fewer leaves)

    When I ride 14th St in the morning/southbound, and I ALWAYS take the lane on Thomas Circle. (There doesn't seem to be a need to do that on the northbound/evening trip). The bike lane is the scene of right hooks the entire way and 99% of the cars seem to be going west on Mass or M St, hardly anyone is looping around to Vermont or 14th.