Ride In 11/12: Illegal Beagle

Maybe you're not working today and maybe I am. Maybe that means that I got to bike to work whereas you got to sleep late and now you're reading this in your pajamas on the couch whereas I'm writing it in my pajamas at my desk. Maybe that means you missed a great morning for bicycle riding or maybe it means that you're out on a really long fun bicycle ride right now (right now as I write, not right now as you read because that would be unsafe, regardless of how empty the roads might be or how good you are at balance and/or literacy). No matter what may be (maybe), it's another episode of the ongoing drama that is the continuing saga of the never-ending story of the diurnally repeating report of the quotidian that is this blog.

I tried to turn this picture into a joke about an obscure comic book character, but the pieces didn't fall into place, so I gave up. I thought the sign said "Left Turn Green Arrow Only," but the "on" in place of "turn" robbed the punchline about superheroes getting special treatment in traffic of much of its groan inducing zing.

Green Arrow

Nevertheless, if  stop lights are ever replaced by either lanterns or hornets, I'm going to successfully make this joke, goddammit, and who will be laughing then? Nobody? Oh.

I decided to ride Massachusetts around Stanton Park and then past Union Station through the new bike lanes in Columbus Circle. Or I would've ridden through the new bike lanes, had parts of them not be covered in shattered glass. The Columbus Circle renovation project is still in progress and I'm not totally sure how the bike lanes are going to connect to Massachusetts Avenue at the intersection with the part of Columbus Circle Drive that extends to the parking garages and F Street. It is my fervent hope that 1) this happens (that the bike lanes are extended to reach Mass Avenue) and that 2) this isn't done in a dumb way.

My primary impetus for riding this way is to seek out my alternative route for when the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes are taken out of commission. I'm very partial to First Street NE as a bicycle route because it is a fairly direct north-south route wholly uncrowded of other bicyclists. Even without the planned cycle track, the project about which I think I'm the most excited of all of DC's bike projects, it's pretty great. The bike lane itself stops at M Street, but from M to the New York Avenue/Florida Avenue/Random Wendy's intersection of doom, there's ample room for bikes and very little car traffic. Here's my strategy for navigating Dave Thomas Circle: cross New York Avenue in the crosswalk and then cross First NE at whichever crosswalk has the WALK signal. Don't bother trying to ride on the road since your destination, if you're me, is Eckington Place, which has a bike lane and connects to R Street NE, which has sharrows, can't be accessed from New York Avenue since left turns are there prohibited and also you wouldn't want to make a left turn across all that traffic anyway. You can choose to ride across the Wendy's parking lot if you want and you can also choose to buy a Frosty if the Wendy's is open. Either move is completely apposite. In any case, while this route isn't any shorter for me, I think it's faster.

So many speed bumps on R Street. It's a shame that people can't but speed without them. I think that they're quite ugly. They also make my fenders clang when I ride over them. That might speak more to my fender installation than anything else.

I rode in the back of a pack of six bicyclists on R from about 14th to Dupont Circle. One of the guys had on a grey winter coat, unbuttoned, and the tails of the coat blew wide in the wind. It looked like a superhero's cape. I don't know if he's given any special treatment vis-a-vis traffic laws, but he took the same liberties as pretty much everyone else does with regard to them.

I've been in many packs of bicyclists on R Street and they almost all dissipate before reaching Massachusetts Avenue. A few of the riders headed down New Hampshire and then another veered before Connecticut, the penultimate turned at Florida and then the last turned away at Sheriden Circle. Don't bike commute if you have abandonment issues! Unlike car commuting, in which you're likely to be surrounded by your compatriots in degrees that you might even find stultifying, when you're on your bike, you watch packs form and disband and fellow riders come and go. It kind of evokes the arc of friendship itself- people come into your life at times and you share a bond and a route for a while and then they go one way and you go another and maybe you pick up someone else along the road and it's for just a block but it's a good block and you remember it fondly and perhaps there's another time when you follow someone for miles and you're traveling at the same pace and going to the same place and when you pay attention you notice that you're pedaling is synchronized and it's just a fortuitous and temporary accident.

I rode to the top of the hill. Not so bad today. It was a beautiful morning.

1 comment:

  1. I'm kind of grumpy about losing my bike lanes temporarily for the President's "You didn't fire me!" party.

    Maybe I'll petition the White House to leave the bike lanes and do the entire parade by bike, stopping at all the lights.

    On second thought, someone would probably be killed by a u-turning cab, so that's maybe not a good idea.