11/21/11

Ride In 11/21

It's nigh impossible to figure out how to dress for cycling in November. I'm not going to complain about today's unseasonably warm weather because every day this time of year when it isn't freezing/snowing makes for a better commute, but I am going to note that it's difficult to pick the right amount of layers for what was maybe 50 degrees with a gentle post-rain haze. I overdressed. Not in the sense that I wore a tuxedo (at the dry cleaners), but in the sense that I wore more covering than necessary and was uncomfortably hot by the end of the ride. Oh well. Live and learn.
There are two poles to which bike commuters aspire. The first is the stripped-down, bare bones hyper-minimalist bike. Thin tubes, quill stem, single speed, you know, that kind. Maybe you don't even have a lock with you or seem to be carrying anything anything of bulk or consequence. The other pole, and the one I vastly prefer, is the fully-loaded, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-but-maybe-even-the-kitchen-sink-too cargo bike, with panniers, baskets, trailers, kid trailers, Xtracycle attachments, mirrors, bells, horns, streamers, multi-level racks, just pretty much everything. I love seeing people riding on bikes like these and I spotted a few of them this morning, schlepping children amongst what I presume is the remainder of their riders' entire worldly possessions. Cargo bikes bring me much joy. And, accordingly, so does this blog.
I think it's poor form for another cyclist to run a red and in so doing impede the path of another cyclist waiting at the perpendicular intersection. It's also poor form to run a red in order to make a turn which impedes the path of a waiting cyclist. Both happened today, as they pretty much happen every day. I'd say, over all, that bicyclists have pretty much the same judgment and sense of politesse as drivers. And that's unfortunate.
I rode behind a guy in the bike lane today who was not only determined to not roll through red lights, but determined to not come to a complete stop at one either, so he began his braking about 75 feet back and inched closer and closer. I don't enjoy being a hypocrite, so I didn't want to ride around him, but at the same time, I don't enjoy being beholden to someone else's clearly idiosyncratic behavior. I have no problem whatsoever putting my foot down at stop lights. In fact, I quite enjoy it. And rather than pass him, knowing that in so doing, I wouldn't be able to make it through the next light, I just rode behind him until it became too ridiculous and I just had to ride around. Only to have him ride up right next to me at the next red.
Trends: front baskets, front lights on top of helmets.
Fake trends: SPD Doc Martens, Leisure Suit Rides, SRAM Red Mongooses
A woman almost walked into me in an attempt to cross the cycletrack. She apologized and said she "always forgets that it's there." I find that a good way of remembering the presence of the cycletrack is through looking at where you're going. The choice was either to ding my bell or brake. I chose the latter.
#OccupyEverIncreasingPoliceResources seems to still be in effect. Maybe 8 cop cars around McPherson. Suggestion for Occupiers: relocate to where expanded police presence might have more ameliorative effects. How about Congress Heights?
I've written previously about the scourge of bike blindness, but I'd like to call your attention to another disease that affects our streets: second car syndrome. Second car syndrome afflicts drivers who are second in queue at an intersection and even though they can't see what's going on in front of them, like perhaps a crossing pedestrian or a blocked box or an oncoming bicyclist, they can't help but honk their horns, demanding action from the driver in front of them. Second car syndrome is a serious condition with the following side effects:
  • pointless honking
Second Car Syndrome (now capitalized for some reason) might afflict your friends or loved ones, especially this holiday season. Perhaps gently reminding them that typically, other drivers also like to move forward and that it's extremely unlikely that they would be stopped for no apparent reason and that perhaps your inability to see the reason why other people aren't taking a particular course of action shouldn't be met by your insisting, though honking, through their taking a particular course of action, which might in fact be ill-advised, given the conditions facing them. Unfortunately, I don't believe that current brain science is able to address the root issues of SCS and the only viable treatment is a horn-ectomy. However, perhaps greater advocacy and pre-treatment, though the general enforcement of anti-honking laws, can help us make progress against this terrible malady.
Some new dol hareunbung outside the Korean Embassy.
There was a Secret Service type guarding the entrance to the Normanstone Trail. I don't know why. I've never seen anyone using it. I think it's just a steep dirt path through the woods.
Warmer days keep more bicyclists on the road. That's just a fact. I'm pretty happy that it's almost December and still nearly 50 degrees in the morning. Makes it somewhat difficult to dress (I overdressed, not in a tuxedo way, but in a too many clothes way), but I'd rather it be warmer than cold and icy.

4 comments:

  1. Must be cargo bike day. I passed one coming in on the Rock Creek trail. I meant to tell him the bike was awesome, but I got caught up in safely passing him and then not being killed by cars exiting the parkway and didn't get a chance.

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  2. That was me coming up on the other side of the woman who "always forgets" that the bike lane is there! I heard her say that and just chose to ignore it rather than telling her to just pay attention.

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  3. I run on the Normanstone trail sometimes. It is a bit steep, and has some fun rocks that tend to try to roll you down the hill with them ... definitely not bike-able, unless you're a hard core mountain bike type (but I think bikes are prohibited on all these trails anyway).

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