Ride Home 5/31: Three Bean Salad Days

Don't take this route. It was dumb. I mean, the likelihood of your taking this route is rather small, but maybe there's a scenario in which it's "take your blog reader to work day" and then afterwards I invite you over for dinner or something and we decide to do the whole things by bikes and frankly, I'd consider this if you'd like to give some serious scratch to WABA, but we're not going to take this route because it was a bit circuitous and worse than that, it was sort of slow.
Down New Mexico, up Tunlaw and down 37th. Along 37th, I was passed by a taxi driver who was in SUCH A HURRY that he revved and revved and blew my house down passed me, only to end up directly in front of me at stop sign after stop sign. I wonder to what extent "rushing" is a performance that taxi drivers put on for their fares and to what extent it's actual economically efficient, I'm not totally sure. Maybe I'll ask Ron Linton the next time we go for coffee, which is never.

Then it was over R and down 34th, which was my old route to Arlington. Heady days, which I believe is a prequel to Hedda Gabler. If I've learned anything about car driving from my time as a bike commuter, it's that it's essentially impossible to keep one's car out of a bike lane. Must be some kind of forbidden fruit thing. The lure of transgression. I wonder what kind of fish the lure of transgression catches.

And then it was M street, which was crowded, but only around the intersections. If you've spent any time as a pedestrian in Georgetown, you'll know that the sidewalks are too narrow and you'll know that the many, many drivers who reside thereabouts or pass through thereabouts would rather pedestrians suffer the fate of sardine-itude (not even close to a word) than accept a road diet (a road diet of sardines might be one of many healthy fatty acids) that makes the place an overall better place to be. I know of very few people who spend money in the shops of Georgetown (or the Shops at Georgetown) from the security and safety of their luxury sedans, but nonetheless, I doubt this considerable problem will be addressed any time soon.

M to Wisconsin to K under the Whitehurst Expressway. Almost got doored by a teen exiting the passenger side of a car stopped about four cars back at a stop sign. I said "whoa" and she pulled back the door quickly and that was rather good for me. Perhaps it was my mistake for trying to filter past the cars on the right side between the curb. I don't know if the habit of flinging open car doors with reckless abandon is peculiar to any kind of age group, class or cohort, but it's awfully dangerous, even if rare.

I rode down the Rock Creek trail. Behind me were two police motorcycles. Vroom vroom.

Virginia Avenue is amply wide, and would be a good bike route if there weren't tunnels along the way and if various left turns weren't prohibited by fiat or by wrong-way-for-me roads. I got stuck behind a bus at 23rd. Unpleasant. It was sort of hassle to get over to E Street. E Street is something of an abomination, since it's kind of highway that abruptly terminates, though the mentality of the drivers who frequent it fails to adjust as quickly as the roadway designers might have intended. Almost got rear ended when I slowed for a yellow.

17th street might be the worst street in DC. All I did was cross it. I don't think I'd ever really want to ride a bike on it, especially near the Mall.

Through the security checkpoints on the Mall and then through the Ellipse parking lot and out the other side back on sidewalk, where I slowly rolled behind a family ambling through the grounds. This was the patient decision. Some guy on a mountain bike rode on the grass next to sidewalk and nearly bent down to touch his toes to avoid an overhanging tree limb. I think he had a tattoo on his calf. A lot of people who ride bikes have calf tattoos. I think if I were to have a calf tattoo it would be of a calf tattoo, namely a bunch of baby cows have a military tattoo because I wouldn't be able to resist the horrible word play of it all and that's why I don't go to tattoo parlors, drunk or sober. That and because needles make me a little squeamish. I'm terrified of pine trees.

And then shit started getting crazy. At 14th, some guy in a pickup tried to turn onto Penn and got a badass finger wag from a lady crossing the street. "Oh no you didn't," she might have said were it a 90s sitcom. The driver behind the pickup, of course, honked, like an asshole. Then I saw a police car parked in the bike lane. It looked like this:

There were approximately zero police officers in sight and I sincerely doubt it was because they were off chasing criminals. This is ridiculous inconsiderate behavior and it does nothing to endear me to people who hold a profession that I consider rather valorous. I'd love to hear an explanation as to why the cruiser needs to be parked there. It's not Occupy. They're gone.

A little later down the road, a 39 bus veered into the bike lane to avoid a Maryland commuter bus. To the best of my knowledge, the cycle track is not a bus overflow lane, but maybe this is some sort of really messed up BRT that I'm just not hip to. That was frazzling. Then the guy on the CaBi in front of me must have noticed someone littering because he shouter (sanctimoniously?) "You dropped your paper back there!" Now, I get it. I'm always judging people and I often feel that people are jerks and I wish I could summon the self-satisfied smuggery to actually shout what I'm thinking, but I don't do this because, really, why? To castigate a stranger? If it bothers you that much, go back and pick up the litter.

On East Capitol, I stopped for a pedestrian to cross the street. Three drivers elected to not do this. I stopped in the bike lane, so the travel lane was free and clear to let them by. When that traffic stopped, I said "You can go" and she pointed to the car about to make a left turn across her path, perhaps as a rebuke to me. Then she crossed. Maybe I should've just ridden past. Trying to do the right thing can be exhausting sometimes.

I saw the Israeli lady I sometimes see in the morning and she was biking down my black with the whole family in tow. I wonder where they're heading. She talks to the kids in Hebrew. The kids mumble to themselves in English.She bikes in the street, littlest kid in the trailer behind. The boy and girl each have their own bikes, and ride on the sidewalk. They're a cute little family.


  1. That wasn't a police car per se. It was DC Protective Services, and they were parked in front of the Wilson Building... They were still parked there at approx 18:15. -@SamuelMoore

  2. I don't get M St G-town in rush hour. There's no room for anybody - cars, peds, or cyclists, even if cyclists can move fastest.

    Occasionally I'll get the nerve to say something to somebody littering. "You dropped something" is usually safest. It can have the sense that hey, maybe I might think you didn't mean to drop it, and it was possibly important to you. All in all, I don't think it a bad idea to hold reality up to people and let them face what they've done. "Hello. This happened. No judgment from me, but what do you really think about it?"

  3. If something happens on your ride and you don't blog about it, does that mean it never happened?

  4. It has an extended frame and forward pedaling which make it an exceptionally comfortable cruiser for taller people.

    cruiser bike