Ride In 1/31: Two

Sparkling morning here in the nation's capital where it remained remarkably temperate for late January and remarkably windy, like in that Beatles song "The Long and Windy Road" (oh, it's winding? like the font?). If you prefer your musical wind puns more regionally indigenous, then "Wind me up, Chuck" might suffice. Or course, if the wind makes you upchuck, then that's a much worse problem than puns premised on homonyms and probably even worse of a problem for any person standing nearby. I feel like gustin' loose, but you left me standing here a long, long time ago.

Saw Dave and Kid O by the Capitol and rode past and said hello and I wish I could've tarried a bit longer, but the demands of professional obligations made it such that I needed to get my bike and myself to work faster than I would have otherwise preferred.

Samovars on folding tables in front of a motor home parked on 3rd Street between the National Gallery and the Capitol reflecting pool. I wonder what that was all about. I did not look in any way official.

Have you see the light pole that used to be at Penn and 13th Street?

This pole defected, like Czeslaw Milosz.
It has been displaced. They can put its picture on a very tall and slender milk carton. Between this and flexposts, I'd say there's so major upheaval at DDOT. Speaking of which, a fond farewell to John Lisle of DDOT, their soon-to-be former Director of Communications. John has done an excellent job being extremely responsive to the #bikeDC community, especially in the realm of social media, and he will be greatly missed. He is moving to a new position with DC Water, where he will either be working in communications or operating a giant tunneling machine. Either way, it will be considerably more boring.

Actually, the pole was just prone on the sidewalk in front of the Taxation with Representation counter in front of the JAWB.
Taxation without adequate traffic control
Enough talk about prone poles, let's talk about sexism. Personally, I'm not a fan. It's insidious and wrong and I see a lot of banal sexism amongst some of the male bikists I encounter on my commute. Don't be sexist. The form that this most frequently takes is assuming that they're going to be faster (i.e better) than the lady bicyclist they've just pulled alongside/in front of. So, when the light goes green, the dude starts hustling on the CaBi, pulls in front, and then is promptly passed once again because she's on a road bike and she was faster anyway. Don't make assumptions of bicycling speed based on gender! This is also why I advocate only passing while moving- this allows you to properly gauge everyone's speed and make decisions accordingly. Anyway, I know this isn't the biggest problem facing women and biking (it's not enough pink clothes at bike shops, right?) but I think this kind of "get out of my way, lady cyclist" mentality is one worth addressing and rectifying.

They're pulling down the inaugural viewing stand in front of the JAWB.

Someone the ripped banner makes the message less muddled.

I rode up 15th and across the White House to Pennsylvania through the upper teens and twenties (the blocks, not the eras because I am on a bike and not a time machine) and I watched a tow truck driver fail at properly attaching an SUV and saw a dramatic looking and unintentional convergence of the two vehicles. Friendly fire in the war on cars. I stuck to Penn through Washington Circle and then took M Street to Wisconsin and soon enough found myself standing in car traffic. As far as I'm concerned, by biking, I've opted out of the world of car traffic and I shouldn't be held up by it. I'm not carrying around 2000 extra pounds and hundreds of unused cubic feet of metal and plastic with me, so it seems unjust that I have to deal with the delays caused by the people who are. I left Wisconsin at P Street and rode to 35th, soon enough again on a familiar route, the one I took when I first started this blog, through Glover Park, which now has a sign welcoming you on 37th Street.

In Volvos and Jogging Strollers We Trust
37th was a less bitter climb than I remembered and New Mexico Avenue didn't prove as awful as it could have. I stopped in the near middle of the lane in order to allow a woman to cross the street (in a crosswalk) but my stopping failed to dissuade the old guy in the car behind me to do the same and he swerved around me and kept going. The next guy, thankfully, stopped. The problem, I think, is that we've accustomed ourselves to a world in which people on foot are so subservient to people on cars that there would be no indignation whatsoever if the scenario was opposite and the woman was the driver and the old guy was trying to cross the street. It's Stockholm Syndrome, especially if there are Saabs involved.

For those of you not keeping track at home, presumably with notches cut into tree bark with a pocket switchblade, today makes the two year anniversary of the beginning of Tales From the Sharrows. That's two straight years of chronicling my everyday bicycle commute, ride in and ride home. Over the course of that time, I've been extraordinarily lucky to have interacted and met so many of you who happen to have (maybe sometimes) read this blog. All nine of you are wonderful people. I've learned a lot from writing about my bike commute, though not proper grammar or punctuation or word usage or technical traffic terminology (thank you for bearing with me). This blog has at times been a diary, a paean, a grocery list, an instruction manual (in how not to ride your bike in DC), a sounding board, a jeremiad and a collection of rants and ramblings, shambling and ambling, but never gambling. "I have never bet on bike commuting"- Pete Rose, probably. I've yet to determine what year three of this project is going to look like (haikus and pictures of mason jars?) but, in whatever form and shape it takes, I'm tremendously grateful to those of you who have ever taken the time to read TFTS and may there be many wonderful, better than 37th best, bicycle rides ahead of you.