Ride In 5/31: The Original Smooth

Can't complain. It was a good morning. Better than good, even. Nice weather has a way of relaxing me. Makes the commute seem almost like an afterthought. If DC had a real bike network and more separated bike infrastructure, I'd be so relaxed I'd arrive at work comatose. Bike commuting, even when it's fraught, is still sort of the opposite of stressful. Must be the endorphins.

I screwed up riding around the park this morning and ended up in the left lane and this prevented me from making my right turn, so instead of cutting across traffic, I just rode a little bit farther down the street and made a u-turn and rode back up the sidewalk to cross from the park to East Capitol at the crosswalk. In all, my mistake cost me about 30 seconds. It ruined my life forever and now I hate everything about everything. Or maybe I'm being ridiculous and melodramatic because in the grand scheme of things, a 30 second delay amounts to no real delay at all an isn't nearly as inconvenient as being splayed on the hood of some guy's Toyota. One or the other.

When there's a one story building in the midst of a block of three story row houses isn't that building out of character with the rest of the neighborhood and shouldn't the owners be forced to build a taller building or does  the argument about neighborhood integrity only work when people want buildings to be shorter? There are some low houses on East Capitol, where the vast majority of structures are much larger, and I demand the full weight and authority of the Historical Preservation Review Board to address this.If HPRB had an office basketball team, I'd like their team name to be the Uninterrupted Cornices.

Zip down past the Capitol and then a few bicyclists clumped up by Penn. One guy either had multiple wallets in his pockets and maybe he was transporting decks of playing cards to his job as a black jack deal. One of the other guys I saw was a hyper-anxious guy in street clothes riding a mountain bike that promised to take him not nearly as fast as he hoped to go. Perhaps it was better that way. Based on his super-intense look and willingness to flout laws and good sense, a bike that could move through the streets swiftly under his control would most likely have caused trouble for his fellow travelers. I wonder what he had for breakfast.

I took 11th. So many cyclists heading the other way. Like, a lot in any context, not just in bike commuter context. A legitimately large number of people ride down 11th street. And even more take 15th. Simply put, there are a lot of bike commuters. I daresay, though I'm probably wrong, even more bike commuters along this stretch than drivers, but I didn't count or anything. Also, there are some sharrows on 11th in the middle of the road. I'd suggest to any driver who doesn't wish to ride behind a bicyclist that he avoid 11th street. I love sharrows, but sometimes I wish there were a better way to demarcate a road as a bicycle-friendlier route. Maybe green paint. Maybe a different kid of paving? Something that goes from "yeah, bicycles are welcome here" to "no, seriously, there are going to be a ton of bicyclists using this street and if you intend to drive fast and unfettered by them, you should take a different route. We are not kidding." Hard to know exactly what connotes that.

I avoided the Dupont area and floodmageddon, sticking on 11th up the hill and up another hill at Euclid and then down 15th for a block to Fuller and Fuller to Columbia Road and it's newish bike lanes that are still mostly ignored by drivers who wish to ignore them. Before that, I saw the Polish Embassy. Hello, Polish Embassy.

Don't say anything bad about Poland. DC can't afford another person doing that this week. 

At the light on at Calvert and Adams Mill Road, the bike lane runs between a travel lane and a right-turn only lane. The bicyclist in front of me pointed out to the driver next to her that she had a green turn arrow. The driver pointed out that she had no intention of turning and wish rather to go straight. I don't know if she expressed her intention of cutting the bicyclist off. Certainly the second driver didn't when he sped past and cross the bike lane in front of us moments later. Scofflaws.

Calvert runs over the river (creek) and through the woods (park) , but I didn't go to grandmother's house, though I doubt there's a shortage of old ladies who live in big houses in Cleveland Park. Up a few more hills and I was pretty much at work, no worse for wear. I thought that I had arrived considerably fresher than I actually did, but it's summer (even when it's nice) and I'm glad my workplace has showers. I hit them, much like some sports coach would suggest in a sports movie. Then I got some coffee and then I worked for a couple of hours and then I wrote this.

1 comment:

  1. If you're thinking of the same section of 11th Street that I am (basically between Florida and Rhode Island), the pavement is so bad cyclists really don't have a choice except to take the full lane.

    I think there are so many cyclists on 11th St because (1) there is a bike lane for most of it, (2) it is quieter than 14th Street (which also has a bike lane), and (3) heading north, the hill starting at Florida is a LOT easier to ride up than 14th or (shudder!) 13th.

    That said, Parking Enforcement was helpfully blocking the bike lane with its vehicle, while giving out tickets to the cars who sit in the bike lane while dropping off their kids at the school around Fairmont. Progress?