Ride In 3/28: Trends

Remember that time that bike broke down and it caused a three mile traffic jam? That was the worst.

I took a slightly different route to work today from the one I took home from work yesterday and between the hill, the stop lights and the pace of the cyclists sometimes in front of me in bike lanes, it took me 15 minutes longer to get to work than it did to get home from it. There also might have been a slight difference in my overall effort, since I tend to have more giddy up (technical term) heading in one direction rather than the other. For the ride in, my average speed was 11.2 miles per hour. #data #strava #whocares

I don't think I'm surprised anymore by the number of times I say "please stop" to my fellow travelers during one of my commutes. Whether it's beseeching a turning drive to decline to strike me or intimating to an oncoming cyclist that the light has well turned red and she's about to cross the path of a revved sedan, "please stop" is my new catchphrase. It's not nearly as catchy as "where's the beef?" but you have to work within your comfort zone and querying drivers about the location of their meat would be nonsensical in most cases. Politely suggesting that others heed is definitely within my comfort zone. Mumbling it ensconces it even further there. Oddly enough, it seems to have little effect.


Some stuff about my bike commutes or whatever

When I was in college, I took a course on the philosophy and writings of the 20th century Jesuit mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. It was weird. And complicated. And far too dense and obscure for an 18 year old with little inclination toward the immaterial world. Luckily, however, Teilhard had enough inclination to the material world that some of what we covered somehow and sometimes remains with me, in spite of the years that have passed and the overall shallowness of my initial comprehension. Anyway, this is all a long run up to say that yesterday, I took the Metro to and from work (with Bikeshare rides serving as parentheses from the office to the Metro station and from the Metro station back home) and this Metro ride made me think of World War I. But why? Subway tunnels as trenches? Noxious touristic body odor as mustard gas? Surly WMATA employees as spiky helmeted Huns? Dulce decorum est pro patria to report suspicious and unattended bags? No, it was none of these things. It was about the mass movement of people, united in cause (the cause of going somewhere) and a sense of belonging to an immeasurably larger group and a feeling of being united some way with and in this humanity. And this is kind of Teilhard thought about World War I (based on my vague and cursory remembrance of The Heart of Matter (I think?). Which is sort of whacked out, since the masses of humanity moving as one were united in the cause of killing of other masses of humanity. But hey, whatever. It made sense to him and it more or less makes sense if you're thinking about noogenesis and the noosphere, which, as a rule, you probably shouldn't think about because it's sort of crazy. So, what does this have to do with anything? Not much. But there's a kind of solitariness and loneliness in bike commuting (and in driving, I think) that's isolating and there's a kind of togetherness and common purpose in mass transit commuting that's exciting and dynamic and many times I prefer solidarity to solitariness. It feels like I'm a real commuter and like I'm participating in city life rather than gliding past it unto myself. Like I belong to something bigger. But you know, it costs like $3 to ride the Metro each way, so I'll probably keep biking.

I rode to work this morning. We're on the cusp of spring. It's like we're at the edge of a black hole. May the super-gravity of spring suck us inward soon.

My bike chain is rusty. I've become one of those people. Don't make me turn in my WABA membership. I promise to address it. Eventually. (I'm the worst)

Bicycle Space- Bicycle Snob. Should be fun.


Ride Home 3/22: Reputable Dealers

If you have a smartphone, you can download the 311 app here. You can then use that app, like I will be doing every single day from this point forward, to report drivers who have parked in the L Street Cycle Track. So far, I've reported two. I guess this is about two things, the first of which is justice comeuppance law abidingness and the hope that parking enforcement officers can arrive quickly enough that drivers who flout the law are appropriately ticketed and this is a fine motivation if you're into to old school, Old Testament biblical-style justice and punishment. I'm fairly certain that one of the plagues was parking tickets. I think it came after locusts and before killing the firstborn. Word was, and I'm not sure this made it into Exodus, that Pharaoh was very dismayed to find his chariots booted, even more so because he thought that the [Hieroglyphics for No Parking or Standing Anytime] signs were confusing. But secondly, and more importantly to my mind, is that I want a "written" and verifiable record that this is an outstanding and unresolved issue. That's why I'm encouraging you to do it as well. The more the merrier. Anecdotes and pictures are great (and cathartic), but it's time to generate some real data (that might manage to escape the self-referential internet "bike bubble" that's typically only seen by those who seek it). Data that, let's say, could be used when testifying at Council hearings about bicycle safety bills (like the one tomorrow March 25th at 11 AM). Anyway, I'm not saying that this kind of stuff won't be ignored- ignorance is bliss after all- but I think that having a documented history of a recurring and unaddressed problem might be worthwhile the extra 20 seconds it adds to your trip. That's my plan at least. I mean, I have a backup plan of making a scrimshaw of each offending vehicle and then emptying sack after sack of whale bones and walrus tusks in the Council Chamber in a Miracle on 34th Street meets Moby Dick meets bike safety melange, but the app thing seems like a slightly better approach so I'll try that first.

Also, it'd be nice if DDOT put the flexposts back at the beginning of each block. They really do make a difference. And plastic poles are much less expensive than paid traffic control officers.


Ride In 3/22: April Apoplexy

First first bike commute back from vacation can go one of two ways: it can be great thanks to your refreshing and revitalizing break, or it can be the way that mine was this morning, which is the opposite of that. I was cold and tired and maybe even dehydrated, like dried fruit that you put in the freezer. Frozen Mango Slice from the Sharrows.

You know that one morning we had this winter when it was in low 30s and there was a 15 mile per hour wind? That one morning that was every single morning since late November? Yeah, I'm tired of that morning. That morning is on repeat. That morning is on repeat. We should get a new morning. Spring has not yet sprung. I'm not even sure it's lurking.

Bicycling must be different for the wispy among us. I envy your wispiness.

East Capitol to Pennsylvania to 15th and then across past the White House (early for a group picture, but the fourth graders in the red t shirts over the mismash of long-sleeved shirts and sweaters and jackets and their too many chaperons seemed to have that on their agenda for that time) to Swing's for a brief to for coffee and a momentarty klatsch, wherein I looked (based on the looks of those I saw) unhappy and cold and moderately embittered, but such is my visage before my morning coffee and I rebounded reasonably well, so I assure those of you who saw me. It was nice seeing you all and sorry I had to leave so soon after arriving.

I considered taking the bus from Farragut Square. I did not do that.

Pennsylvania through a bunch of red lights (sorry) and then through Georgetown on M to Wisconsin Avenue, home of the traffic of DOOM which is always the worst except for when it's just fine. I think some of the traffic might have to do with the red lights, those beacons that have the temerity to suggest to some people that they shouldn't go that other people might have the opportunity to go. You don't have to be a member of the Tea Party to see that this is unwarranted government regulation run amok. That's picking winners and it's wrong. We should just let the free market decide who crashes into whom. It would be great for the automotive repair, healthcare and funeral services sectors of the economy. I'm almost surprised that a Virginia legislator hasn't proposed this.


Ride In and Ride Home 3/15: But not really

Self-reflection must be hard for vampires. 

"Blood and Ironing"- motto of 19th century housewife Mrs. von Bismarck 

It's been my dream to write a post as verse
but my commute does not suit that so well
instead I flee again to prose so terse
That doesn't rhyme.

They're not honking at you. They're honking with you. 

Changes in the weather make it that I wanted my morning commute to be five miles shorter and my evening afternoon commute to be five miles longer. I wore my winter coat on the way home and a guy in front of me was wearing orange athletic shorts. He was closer to correctly attired than I was, but it wasn't quite shorts weather yet. I think he jumped the gun. You oughn't go to shorts so soon. There's nothing quite so dispiriting as to having to resew the legs back on to your cutoffs. (Project Runway/Arrested Development crossover?) 

Like basketball? Like road safety? Then I'm assuming you'll like this story about a former NBA great who is now a crossing guard in Silver Spring

It's taken me far too long to accumulate even these few words, so I'm going to cut my losses and call it quits. In summation, the ride in got me to work and the ride home got me away from it. It's like the tides. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they go out and sometimes they remove even the toughest stains. Luckily, I don't have to rely on the gravitational pull of the moon to carry me home and instead I can use my bicycle, which proves itself tide in and tide out as the surest and most reliable mechanical contraption I own.  

Spring is almost here. It's going to be huge for #bikeDC (but not Bike DC). I can feel it in my bones, which might mean a trip to the orthopedist is in order. Huge. 


Ride Home 3/14: Saul and Pepper

The light is different. You don't exactly need to be Caravaggio to notice it. I felt like I was leaving work at 2, but it was 5. We should change the clocks every week, mostly so we can comment on the sunlight. It would be whimsical and annoying. It would be styled Magical Chronologism and Zombie Borges would take to bike commuting just so he could write about it.

On L Street, I rode behind a man who wore burgundy and gold camouflage parachute pants. That's everything I would ever want in a cycle track fellow traveler. I salute you.

I turned right at 15th and followed that past the White House. The tourists, they are here. Perhaps America can balance its trade deficit by exporting pedestrian obliviousness. We could important proper bike infrastructure or Gouda or any other fine cheese, really.

There was a Metro Access van parked between the bollards in the cycle track next to Treasury. How did he even get the van in there? There didn't seem to be an obvious gap. That must take a bit of work. I think that if I ran Metro, I'd also run a service called Metro Snack-cess and then at least when its drivers parked in the bike lane, cyclists could stop for some corn chips or snack cakes. Or Gouda or any other fine cheese, really.

At the bottom of the hill in front of the Capitol, I saw a group of middle schoolers in matching windbreakers and at the top of the hill, I saw a group of doctors wearing lab coats. What a difference a hill makes.

Ride In 3/14: Square Routes


It remains cold in middle March (Middlemarch?) in Washington (washing ton?), DC (Dee see?) and I hold this cold in contempt, or would if I had a sufficiently thick pair of gloves, and I'm well out of patience with regard to coping with it. I crave spring and for its gentile (or Jewish) breezes to pass over (or Passover?) me as I bask (or Basque?) in the banal yellowy warmth of an obliging sun. It makes for better bike commuting. If winter continues, I'll have no choice but to leave DC next week, which I will be doing anyway, so programming note: don't look for anything new on TFTS from Monday through Thursday and secondarily, don't look for anything new on TFTS today or tomorrow either because this blog is fairly repetitive anyway.

They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease (Squeaky Weill Goetz the Greece? ok, I'll stop now) but the squeaky bike chain gets nothing from many bike commuters and that's a problem. Remember to occasionally lube your chain or better yet, come up with a way to say that without making my inner 7th grade boy both chortle and blush. I believe that Chortle & Blush is also the name of a chain middling haberdasheries.

 I encountered Dave and KidO on the Pennsylvania Avenue cycle track and rode with them for half a block.

On 11th Street, I saw Ted and I yelled "hey, Ted" or some such thing and the words wafted from my bike lane, proving once and for all, that shouting is the best and surest form of communication and ought to be the primary method for conversing across vast distances. I've stopped using telephony (and telepathy) and other forms of technological enhancements and from this point forward only wish to broadcast my spoken words as far as my vocal cords allow. I'll tell you about it some time if you're sufficiently close.

What hustle some bike commuters demonstrate! What pointless and ineffectual hustle! But, hey, have at- I'm not going to tell you that it's pointless to ride really, really fast to the next red light only to have to wait there, standing idle, for the next minute waiting for the cross traffic to dissipate. I might, suggest, however, that one oughtn't let his (or her) desire to maximum speed impinge on the safety and well-being of others. I'd rather not have a pedestrian dive out your way only to thwack into me. Ride the way you want, but beware of cascading consequences and potential for collateral damage.

I rode by the Apostolic Nunciature and there was no banner that read "Under New Management," just in case you were wondering. Very few banners on Embassy Row in general, but some day the Incredible Hulk will establish diplomatic relations with the US and we'll be all much better for it. PROTOCOL SMASH.

"If you had to describe your bike commute as either a beer, a wine or a cocktail, which would you choose and why?" Questions like this could be found in my  forthcoming (perhaps too forthcoming) Big Book of Bike Commute Parlor Games if only such a book existed. HINT: the answer to every charade is "a person bike commuting"

Ended up riding around Ward Circle instead of making a left in the crosswalk before it, but I managed to make it through ok, even though it's not my preferred way. Traffic circles are a mess and that one is particularly daunting for cyclists and pedestrians (and drivers) and it'd be nice if it weren't a circle at all.


Driving to Work

I drive. I drive quite a bit. But I rarely drive to work and I rarely drive through the city during rush hour. I did today, as did a lot of other people. Here are some things I thought about driving to work concerning topics of a varying nature. Topics of a varying nature, such as:

Nature- It was raining this morning and I was happy to not be riding my bike in it. I didn't get wet on account of my car's roof. I didn't even need to wear a hat. I did get wet after I parked and walked through the rain, sans umbrella, to get to my building, so that might have defeated the point. This evening, however, it was really nice and I'm a little sad that I missed getting to spend the time outside enjoying that niceness.

Time- It took me about 5 minutes fewer to get to work than by bike and maybe 10 minutes fewer to get home. I did nothing with all of the time I saved. I suppose I could've put it to productive purpose (catching up on my correspondence, building a diorama, donating blood, etc.), but I didn't. In both cases, the car trips took longer than they would have had there been no traffic and it must be that which causes so much frustration among people who drive. When I ride my bike, it pretty much takes the same amount of time as it always does. When I drive, it fluctuates wildly and I think that knowing that your car is theoretically capable of getting somewhere faster than it currently is traveling must take a toll on people. It's like watching your favorite sport's team/Dance Moms dance kid underperform- you know that under different circumstances that things could be better! But, unlike a sport'steam/dance kid, it's exogenous factors, namely other people driving at the same time you are, that deny peak performance.

Inflection Points- There are definitely distances and locations where it's faster/easier to go by bike than by car. It easily took me longer to get to around the Capitol in the car than it would have by bike. I was probably about even in terms of time until about the start of the Rock Creek Parkway. My time "gains" came in the second half of the trip, where the roads became less street-y and more road-y. It's pretty unsurprising that you can go faster by car on roads that are more suitable for faster car driving. This was pretty much the case on the way home, too. I would've been about even or faster by bike through Dupont and even maybe to 11th (I drove Massachusetts the whole way from work to Union Station) and then realized my "gains" from about 7th to Union Station, but then lost some gains again back on the Hill. Anyway, I found these inflection points, where the faster mode switches from bike to car, interesting (and to be much farther away from home than I would've expected). Just as you wouldn't use the same tool for all home improvements (hammer for hammering, screwdriving for ??? [I'm not really handy]), some modes of transportation are better for certain jobs than others and it's better to have a full toolbox than to just have one awesome-ass hammer because that awesome-ass hammer (probably?) isn't the best tool for rewiring you electricity (or something).

Parking- It was free today. It normally costs $16. Knowing this (I found out yesterday from a colleague) dramatically impacted my decision to drive. Had I not known that parking was free, I certainly would've biked.

Route planning- I don't drive to work very often and I still don't know the best way to get there. On some weekends when I've had to work, I've actually driven into Virginia to get to NW. I could offer opinion after opinion on bike routes all over town, but I really have no clue about the best way to drive anywhere. Maybe it's because there is no "best" way. Every way seemed crowded. Especially at rush hour, but I don't get what Canadian rockers have to do with it.

Traffic laws- I did my best. Pretty sure I didn't break any of them any more egregiously than I would have by bike. I don't know what that says about me or about traffic laws. I've developed the biking habit of starting at the pedestrian signal (which is almost soon legal) and this is not the right thing to do while driving.

Bicyclists- I saw a bunch of them. To the best of my knowledge, none of them were responsible for the traffic, but maybe I'm biased. The ones I did see did roll through stop signs and weave through traffic, but not to deleterious effect. I saw some pedestrians who crossed against the light and this in many instances seemed to slow car traffic, but I can't say to what extent this actually impacted overall travel time. For example, a driver impacted by a jaywalking pedestrian could just drive a little faster later in the trip. Or maybe that driver would have just been stopped at the next red light a little down the road. I don't really know, but I didn't feel detrimentally impacted by non-drivers.

Buses- Buses, on a number of occasions, did seem to slow down car traffic. Pre-payment and both-door entry and exit would seem to help this. And of course, dedicated bus lanes would completely alter the equation, since the buses would be in their own lanes and outside of car traffic entirely.

Honking- I heard some honking. It was only once at me and from a woman in a minivan who wanted me to pull slightly forward so she could turn into a gas station. It's definitely less offensive and onerous heard through car windows. But it's still unpleasant.

This concludes the once-in-a-blogtime gimmick of writing about my car commute. It was fine, but it's not really for me. I liked listening to podcasts, but other than that, I don't really have much that I prefer about it to other ways of getting to and from work. I guess I could also listen to podcasts when biking, but I really like having the ability to hear when doing that. I didn't really feel any more "freedom" than I do from biking and in some ways felt more constrained (and certainly more subject to the decisions and whims of other travelers) than I do on my bike. So, that's that.


Tips for Beating the Wind

You can't beat the wind. You can inherit the wind, but that's an evolutionary process that takes millions of years of natural selection. Wind, more than heat or cold, is the enemy of the bicyclist. It fetters one.

You can buy a windbreaker and wear that windbreaker but the wind will not break. It will buffet, but not like a Golden Corral. It will corral you and you will fenced, like a tamed palomino or an English peasant, but not like a fleeced necklace. You can wear fleece, one golden like the corral or one fleeced from an REI, but this fleece will not let you beat the wind because you can't beat the wind.

You can let the wind ruin your day or dominate your life or make you choose alternate means of transportation, but you oughtn't. You can tunnel under the wind and call that tunnel a wind tunnel, but that would be confusing because that's not a wind tunnel is. If you eschew the bicycle on a windy day, do so for a sailboat or a hang-glider or a zeppelin, but not a lead one. For that, the wind does not have a whole lotta love.

They say that there are things such as tailwinds, but I've never encountered one. The wind I know, the wind that greets me, is the headwind. It impedes. It carries with it news from down the road, if you can call news the briny odor of unessential road salt. It disperses bus fumes, but not before they slap you in the face, like a glove of gentleman challenging you to a duel. This leaves you fuming for seconds. Pistols at dawn. Or, air rifles. You can't shoot the wind. You can pass it, but you shouldn't in mixed company.

I laugh at the wind. I cock my head back and cackle. It's meant to be defiant. It looks weird. It is weird. You can't beat the wind. You can try to put a positive spin on it, try to convince yourself that you're doing something salutary, that you're demonstrating your strength and commitment and unwillingness to be deterred by Nature, but what you're mostly doing is bicycling marginally slower on account of prevailing forces that you cannot control. And that's ok. It's not really a big deal. You'll get there eventually. You don't have to embrace the wind or use it as a foil to prove your fortitude. You don't you have to like it. You don't even have to respect it. The wind has no feelings and no interior life, unless you leave a window open.

 You can't beat the wind. You shouldn't try.


Ride In 3/7: Remain Indoors

Much of what I think about bicycle advocacy (whatever that is) has been developed from my surprisingly (even to me) in-depth and somewhat coincidental study of the history of Europe in the Late Antique/Early Medieval period and the transition of peoples from paganism (whatever that is) to Christianity (whatever that is). [FUN FACT: Graduate school, especially in useless subjects, makes you aware of pointless academic controversies which in turn makes you unable to write anything about anything without qualifying your terms to the point that they're essentially meaningless. FUN FACT II: It's really annoying. FUN FACT III: Maybe don't go to graduate school]. In conclusion ("wait, why are you concluding? You haven't told us anything about what you think!"- the one person still reading), I recommend the Vita Martini (which might or might not leave you shaken or stirred) and something by Robert Markus and then thinking about the role of miracles (not just on ice!) in the conversion process. Alternatively, you could not do these things.

In tangentially related news, the National Bike Summit was this and from all reports, it was great. Here's friend-of-the-blog Veronica Davis speaking at that summit about Black Women Bike: DC. I was unable to attend the summit, but I did happen upon (by design, really) the Congressional Ride, in which attendees of the confab would meet by the Capitol and take a tour of DC's bicycle facilities. I hung around that for a bit, but left before the ride set off in a somewhat futile attempt to make it to work on time.

It figures that the only snow we have anywhere in DC can be found in the middle of a bike lane.

It was tough, but I got through it. Didn't even need a fat bike.

I rode the Haul today, which is a lovely bike that's great for short trips to the grocery store and on which I almost never commute to work on account of its weight being measured in terms of displacement, like a frigate. About halfway to work, I was like "Frigate it! I'm never doing this again!," but I guess I am doing this again because I have to get home somehow. I find that bike commuting is about expectations and I unfortunately failed to adjust mine to better match the pace at which I would be able to travel. Bike commuting is not about Great Expectations, though I would look forward to a comprehensive study on the Miss Havisham Effect to see whether bike commuters wearing yellowed and frayed wedding dresses are treated with more deference by passing motorists.

I saw a Biden-cade today. It was led by maybe twelve motorcycle officers, all of whom rode motorcycles with sidecars (sidecars?) that remained unhilariously empty. Basically, sidecars, as a means of conveyance, are hilarious and they should be employed to comedic effect pretty much all of the time and especially in the overly serious business of securely delivering the Vice President somewhere. But that's just an opinion and maybe an opinion backed with a social media campaign (#waronsidecars).

The Bud Light Lime-a-Rita is the kind of drink that's popular with the kind of people who like to throw empty beer cans on the ground. Litter is classy.


What does the DDOT 2013 Parking Action Agenda say about bikes?

Um, not much. But it's really about car parking, so that's not unexpected. In Section 3.8 Other ongoing activities, there's the following:
Bicycle parking and motor-driven cycle parking. DDOT will continue to seek opportunities to provide bicycle parking, sometimes in curb lanes, as well as provide parking for motor-driven cycles (or scooters) to provide safe locking areas that do not conflict with pedestrian areas.
My take: That's nice. I like the part about curb lanes, which I think means more on-street bike corrals (trading one car parking space for 8 or 10 bike parking spaces), and keeping bike parking off of sidewalks because sidewalks are for sidewalking or regular walking, whichever you prefer. Continue to seek opportunities, DDOT! 

There's also this:
Since 2003, some of the context for parking has shifted, and the continuing growth and demographic trends shape DDOT’s response to parking issues into the future. In particular [amongsother bullet points]:
  • District residents continue to walk and bike in greater numbers. Capital Bikeshare has more than 20,000 members and more than 3 million rides in a little more than 2 years of operation
So, yeah, more people walking and biking has shift the parking context, which is absolutely true. Expect to hear more this summer


Ride Home 3/4: General Motors Glavine General Motors


First ride down Massachusetts since last week. It turned out better than the last time I rode down Massachusetts, an experience about which I've shared little, but that's ok. Per she of the Pietà, life is a mystery and we must stand alone, but presumably not alone in the absence of learning about my interrupted ride down the hill where I usually ride and now ride in a slightly different manner and that works for me.

Massachusetts to 21st to L to 11th to Pennsylvania. On Pennsylvania, I saw a woman wearing what I would call chef pants and this had led me to google "chef pants" and now I'm perusing chefwear.com and its chef pants of varying cuts and styles. I desperately await the Project Runway/Top Chef crossover episode. "Please pack your knives and make it work!" I'm not entirely sure why chefs need their own special kinds of pants and why non-chef pants might not suffice for their cheferly (I think that's a Maryland suburb) duties. Do sous chefs wear sous pants? Is there a special pant for sauciers and how might these pants appear, other than delicately sauced? The things I don't know about chef pants could fill a book and that book would be titled "I'm wasting your time with a long digression about chef pants in what is (or once was) putatively a bicycle commuter blog."

For how many people would you stop your ride home so you could chat and catch up? 2? 9? Another number? My number is pretty low (I very much like being at home), but I happened to chance upon one of those very special, chatworthy people today and it was Mary, of the Chasing Mailboxes and the many associated utility cycling "challenges." I noticed her as I rounded the Peace Monument and I stopped and we talked and the cold was no bother and the time passed easily and quickly, as it does in all easy conversations with kind and like-minded people. Of the many benefits associated with bike commuting, seeing familiar faces and being able to engage them in a manner more meaningful than a honk and wave (though I do honk if I ever remember to bring my clown nose) is certainly one of the top ones. It's difficult to wallow in misanthropy when you take the time to meet your fellow bike commuting misanthropes. FUN FACT: a fictionalized Moliere appears in an early chapter on The Man in the Iron Mask and I'll end this post on Dumas and full circle we shall have come.

Ride In 3/4: French Onion Sloop

Like Athos, I'm over de Winter.

The cold is bitter and the wind is bitterer and the wind makes the cold feel less like the 30s and more like 20s and there are flappers everywhere. My scarf sometimes flaps in the wind and that's always a good sign that my scarf has become untied, so I tie it and stuff in back into the front of my coat. I play a game of hide-and-seek with spring and thus far it remains elusive. It's probably behind a tree.

One of the ongoing sources of #CONFUSION for drivers is the traffic sign NO TURN ON RED and I can understand this because this sign is very confusing. Accordingly, I've deciphered its hidden meaning and will now offer my best guesses- which are invariably spot on- as what the sign might in fact be suggesting. This, hopefully, will allay the confusion much like one is a allayed when he arrives in Oahu.

NO TURN ON RED: This is the straightforward interpretation. It means that one cannot turn the ball towards the hoop thanks to the stifling defense of Red Auerbach's 1960s Celtics team. Why these signs grace the parkways and not the parquet is confusing, but it is apt, as Bill Russell was a dominating defensive presence and drivers oughtn't forget that.

NOT URN, ONR ED: This is short for the rallying cry for those who didn't want the Honorable Ed Koch to be cremated. I can totally see why this would need to be on traffic signs. "Not urn, onr. ed 4-ever" is tattooed on my inner thigh.

NOT U RN ON RED: This is a message for nurses, informing them that they shouldn't come to work on Code Red air quality days. They should stay home because maybe they have asthma or maybe their nursely whites could be besmogged by the dirty air. I believe this rule was established with Obamacare.

NO TURN ON RE: D- Simply put, the music of Tenacious D will not result in increased levels of amorousness.

NO TURN ON RED: It's just DERNON RUTON written backwards and Dernon Ruton sounds like the name of the character in a work of pretentious and inaccessible modern literature and the literati have infiltrated DDOT and are playing hilarious pranks on us all with their backwards writing, much as Dernon Ruton is he himself the embodiment of the "trickster" archetype in post-modern fiction.

I really can't think of anything else that these NO TURN ON RED signs are trying to convey, other than these extremely obvious and most likely, completely correct, interpretations.

East Capitol to Penn to 15th to R to Mass to work. It was cold, but you knew that already.


Ride In and Ride Home 2/28: Poet Lariat

I didn't ride today, but I rode yesterday and I'll write about that.

The morning was charming and I took a route that I don't normally ride, following C Street NE to Stanton Park before crossing H on 6th NE and turned left on the sidewalk at M Street because M Street is a one-way street for some infuriating reason for the blocks from 4th NE to Florida Avenue. Who decides whether streets are one-way or two-way (or three way, which would be both dangerous and maybe scandalous) and what goes into this thinking? It's probably faceless government bureaucrats (the bureaucracy has always been a welcome home for people afflicted with facelessness as the private sector is much biased against them, probably), maybe in consultation with the neighbors or maybe in consultation with the paving companies or the United Nations or the Trilateral Commission or some other agenda-laden conspiratorially minded group. Generally, I'm opposed to one way streets and when I'm appointed Bike Tsar by Mayor RGIII, I'm going to seek to remove them whenever we can and when the street is amply wide to do so.

I rode on the Metropolitan Branch Trail to R Street. I love the Metropolitan Branch Trail and would like to see it completed. Our friends at The Assembly (no the Ikea furniture fan club, but the bike advocacy group) have arranged the Big Stinky Hill Climb Challenge to call attention to the MBT's unfinishedness and perhaps spur action to bring about it's finishedness. I'd like to call you attention to Jean Sibelius' Finnishness, as he undoubtedly proves the answer to any trivia question that starts "Which Finnish composer...?" His most famous work, Finlandia, was an ode to minor brand vodka I believe. In any case, when the MBT is finished, it will be difficult to believe that we'll have ever been without it. It's going to prove vastly important in the region's bicycle and pedestrians connectivity and, I think, soon rival the Custis Trail in terms of bike commuter impact.

R Street to Big Bear (not the constellation, but the coffee shop) where I saw Greg Billings of WABA and we chatted about bike stuff because that's sort of my deal. I meant to stop in at Big Bear to say some bikey things to CM David Grosso, who was holding a constituent open house, but I soon realized that I was very late (having left the house late on account of spending much time adjusting my front fender to achieve noiselessness) and I set off without getting a coffee or talking to anyone.

I can't remember much of the rest of the bike commute. I think it was nice.

Nor do I remember much of the ride home, except for being in a bit of rush. I took New Mexico again in place of Massachusetts and then through Burleith to R Street to 34th to M to Pennsylvania to L, and its cycle track. It probably would have been faster to stick with Pennsylvania, but I just really hate riding through Washington Circle. Just really don't like it at all. It's also still hard to resist the draw of a protected cycle track, both because of the novelty (there's only 2) and because I find the experience to simply be more enjoyable, even when it's less enjoyable that it should be on account of scofflaw and inconsiderate drivers. I still like it.

On 11th, at least two drivers turned left across my path in a way that maybe suggested that they didn't see me or maybe just didn't care to see me. Speaking of invisibility, I highly recommend the blogging of the invisible visible man and encourage you read it on your smart phone as you weave in and out of traffic and doing all of the other dangerous and illegal things that you do while riding your bicycle. Or, maybe when you aren't on your bike. Your call, really.

I followed some other cyclists down Penn and then up the hill and then I ended up in front of a guy on a CaBi and a woman on a Pashley and I think they rode behind me on East Capitol for some time. On the other side of the park, I hustled to catch a yellow before it crimsoned and I succeeded and it's very small and inconsequential victories such as this that make bike commuting fun.