11/30/11

Ride Home 11/29 and Ride In 11/30

I'm bundling these posts like an LLC bundles its campaign contributions to District CMs. Which is to say, somewhat haphazardly and with barely any attempt to disguise it. Ethics!
Let's start with last night, in keeping with the chronological tendencies of this blog. It was late, nigh nine at night and it was cold, so I bundled up tighter than money orders from taxi drivers. I want to say that I was more overdressed than a Cheesecake Factory salad, but that would be an inaccurate "laugh line" and not a true reflection of actual attire, which seemed quite appropriate for the temperature. I don't know why I was pedaling so hard, but I found myself really pushing hard on Massachusetts, exceeding 35 miles per hour according to the sign that tells drivers how far over the speed limit they're traveling. So, bully for me. I decided that I would ride Mass through Dupont Circle rather than take Q and this worked out relatively well, but only because of the diminished traffic. Before I got to Dupont, I was passed far to closely by the driver of a large, American-branded black SUV and I shouted "way too close, dude" in a way that might have been self-parodizing were it not so genuine. When I say too close, I mean within a foot, the same foot with which I would like to kick the driver in the shin of his gas pedal-depressing leg. It was a depressing leg indeed, but less than it could have been had disaster stuck with my being struck. I was struck, however, with the relatively long distance that seemed to remain between Dupont Circle and 15th street, which seems closer when I travel along Q due east rather than on a southeasterly diagonal. 15th was empty and I felt like that guy in the Twilight Zone episode with all the books and the broken glasses. Turns out that's Burgess Meredith, the Penguin. The bike lane, free of people and of broken glass, seemed to also be free of leaves, so I took leave to ride in it freely and without much preoccupation. There were a couple of bicyclists by the White House, themselves preoccupied with how the cycletrack reconnects to 15th street after its brief dalliance along Vermont. Just follow the bollards.
Along Pennsylvania, I watched a Toyota from Maryland be driven across the double white lanes and bike lanes in a u-turnly manner and I decided that the mature response would be to, literally, boo at the driver. Boo, I went and audibly. I think that booing is an important part of our public discourse and ought to be adopted in more situations. If you disapprove of something, boo it.
Many Capitals fans emptying from the arena, perhaps sullen, perhaps drunk. But none who found themselves blocking the bike lane in aborted street crossing attempts, so I was much pleased.
Capitol was quiet, but there were zombie joggers about. There is no time when at least one zombie jogger will not be about. The compulsion to run around knows no temporal bounds. If we could harness the power of zombie joggers to meet our energy needs, we wouldn't need tar sands, except maybe to turn into their quickly depleted sneakers.
I felt a bit sluggish on the bike last night, perhaps from the continual buffeting of the winds. My sluggishness extended to this morning and I set off sloggingly (not a word?), boosted in spirit only by the sight of an Xtracycle, which I soon passed anyway. I think I need to clean the bike because the chain continues to make odd scratchy noises, which I don't find to be sonically appealing. Nor do I think that the wear is especially good for the bicycle.
I stopped a lit bit into the ride to put my hat on and noticed a coffee stain on the brim. I thought that the coffee stains were limited to my coat, which was in my bike bag the day before Thanksgiving with my not-closed travel mug. I suppose I should wash both items, but maybe I'll just wait for the impending rain to make a 'cold brew' on the street below me.
Many, many, many bicyclists about. I'd prefer it if they stuck to their side of the cycle track rather than cause me to have to ride within inches of the bollards. I'm amused/terrified of those who ride in the middle, focused so much on what's directly in front of them that they can't/don't see anything that's slightly (10 to 15 degrees) askance.
Some twerp did the whole shoal-from-the-right thing and I wanted to ask him what made him think that doing that was ok. Like, why is it a free for all every time there's a red light? Instead, I just decided that I would ride around him when the light turned green and I thought I'd be done with him, but he showed up again on Massachusetts and rode in front of me for a spot as we passed a few other bicyclists on the path. He stopped to cross the street at 34th and I'd like to believe it's because he was intimidated by my bikerliness (not a word or an actual concept) and embarrassed that he partook is such an anti-social behavior, but I'm certain that this wasn't the case. For whatever reason, it really cheesed me off, but that speaks more to my level of pettiness than anything else. I could have passed him again on Mass, but what's the point? It's not a race.
Where they used to sell pumpkins, they now sell Christmas trees. Either St. Sophia's is doing very well for itself or very poorly. Or they happen to own some property in MoCo overrun by pumpkins and Douglas firs.
Light was flashing at Nebraska and New Mexico. I rolled up and saw a student standing there, patiently waiting for a driver to defer to her and allow her to cross. That wasn't going to happen. I said "you ready to do this?" and, as soon as there was an opening, pushed my bike off the curb into the crosswalk and then glacially (in the slow sense, not the icy debris sense) started to walk across the street. We made it. (Horse)Power concedes nothing without a demand. Or a walk signal. And even then.

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. I feel you on the cycle track thing, having to dodge people in your lane is no good. But rather than not paying attention, I wonder if people are actually trying to get around the horrible terrain in the southbound lane. Between Mass and K, there are several points where the pavement is cracked and eroded to the point that it feels like your bike is just going to fall apart piece by piece.

    Great info, thanks for posting!

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  3. @WeRideNorth You're completely correct about the horrible conditions on the sidewalk side of 15th. It's one of the many (ok, two, with the other being the lights) reasons why I almost never ride 15th street south.

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  4. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

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