Ride In 12/19

The 19th of December and the first real day of "cold face." The flushed cheeks and the runny nose and the sting of the wind in your tearing eyes. Good times. And it didn't even last since by the time I was almost at work both both the external and my internal temperature rose and the wind was gone...gone with itself. But I can't complain.
There's two kinds of crushed stone pavement used on the Capitol grounds and I can already tell that one of them will be quite bad once (or if) it gets icy. It's the kind that's less flat and the crushed stones are more spaced apart.  First snow day and I'm riding on the driveway again.
BUTTON REMINDER: This sale/fundraising effort ends at a minute 11:59:59 PM EST on 12/31/11. Or thereabouts. I can't say that, honestly, I'm going to stop what I'm doing (sleeping and/or wringing in the New Year) and press the big DISABLE SALES button that I've built, but I might. I think that I am trying to say, honestly, is that you should no longer tarry vis-a-vis button purchasing. One of the ways you can avoid tarrying would be by showing up tomorrow at the Black Rooster (5:30-7:30) with cash in hand and getting your buttons in person. And this might be a good idea, since this and this. No one can prove that I did this on purpose.
Way more people riding than usual on Pennsylvania. Normally maybe only 2 or 3 in the same direction and 2 or 3 riding in the opposite, but there was at least 5 or 6 in each direction today, many of whom were riding CaBis. The daily fluctuations in ridership, especially on days that seem to be about the same in terms of weather, amazes me. I take it to mean that modeshare, for some at least, is a pretty elastic, which isn't really what I would've expected. I bike every day, the Official Wife takes the Metro. And that's pretty much how we get to work. There must be a somewhat sizable "some days I'll bike, some days I'll Metro" crowd out there. I doubt that this is a very keen observation.
Some advice apropos of winter, but not much else: don't ever confuse a balaclava with baklava. They're totally different.
I can never seem to make the right decision when it comes to dinging at a pedestrian standing back-turned in the cycle track. If I ding, it seems too loud and way unnecessary. If I just try to ride by, it seems fraught and inconsiderate. Whatever I do, it's wrong. That might go on the next button. I have a self-persecution complex.
No better way to look like a moron than to fail to clip in correctly. Sometimes I wonder if these pedals aren't more trouble than they're worth. I hope the bicyclist behind me enjoyed my missing the pedal and waiting ever-so-long for me to try again. This is what happens when I unclip my right foot instead of my left. I'm a worse bike commuter than I am a backgammon player and I'm barely middling at bike commuting. Actually, I'm better at bike commuting than I am at playing backgammon, but I like both a lot. I have never played baccarat and I'm only vaguely familiar with Bacharach and I've only eaten bacalao maybe once. You know, just to sum up the "bac-" things.
I like when roadwork messes up the pavement in bike lanes and I get to ride on crappy roads because re-applying the asphalt evenly would have just been too difficult. It's bad when driving, worse when bicycling. Expect bicycles.
Other than on-street parking, what are some examples of public space being user for private storage? I can't think of any, but that's because I'm a dolt.
"I'll Be Home for Christmas" is a pretty song, but I had in stuck in my head for a long time today and I think it made me pedal slower. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I'm awaiting the publication of some study in a fancy psychology journal to verify that bicycle cadence is directly impacted by whatever song is stuck in your head at the time. I might be waiting for a while.
Breaking stuff off your bike? Check. Today, I broke the plastic piece that keeps/kept my frame pump attached to my bicycle frame. I did this by snapping it with my leg, which I had hastily move to regain my balance as I started falling over when stopped at the corner of Mass and Wisconsin. I unclipped just in time, but at what cost? I've already replaced this piece before. I think the pump is going to live in my bag. My second clip-related problem in one day. Amateur hour.
The drivers are getting better about yielding in crosswalks by Ward Circle. Probably just coincidence, but appreciated nonetheless. Not getting any better about blocking the box or speeding, but I'll take what I can get.


  1. Don't forget BAC-on! :)
    FWIW, I'll Be Home For Christmas would totally reduce my pedaling speed ...

  2. Yeah, the fluctuation in bike commuter traffic does seem to vary widely, and is not always related to the weather. I drive three days/bike two days because of scheduling issues. I like mixing it up a bit....

  3. How to pass a pedestrian: what works for me is just saying, loud and clear, "Excuse me please!" as I approach. I cringe when I see cyclists dinging at pedestrians (especially like the one today, on the *sidewalk*), but using my words feels OK. One of the things I really like about biking is that I'm out in the open and I can communicate with my fellow humans without the help of technology. But maybe that only works because I'm the Slowest Cyclist of All Time. Still, it works, and pedestrians really seem to appreciate it. Try it next time you're taking it easy.

  4. Ringing a bell while on the sidewalk is just rude. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. If you find it necessary to ride your bike there, fine (sort of) but you have to yield to people walking.

    And I don't like the bell, either, but I find that most pedestrians react badly to calling out "on your left" or something. They usually jump, and then position themselves even more in my way. The bell seems to work a bit better.

  5. Jon, I try to avoid riding on the sidewalk, but sometimes in this imperfect world it happens. I always yield to pedestrians, but sometimes when there's plenty of room I will pass, slowly, on the left. When that happens, I feel a lot better about saying "Excuse me" in a cheerful, non-pushy way, not as in "Out of my way" but just "Hey, we're both on the sidewalk and I'm going a bit faster so I'm going to pass, but we're all friends here".