8/27/15

Rides 8/27: balance bean

After my adventure of my extremely loud brakes on the Cross Check the other day, I made some adjustments when I got home and then set the bike aside just in case the adjustments I made didn't actually fix anything. This is the equivalent of the fingers-in-ears-"lalala-I-can't-hear-you" method of winning an argument, but that was my approach and I stuck to it for a few days. Today, I felt myself capable to running the risk of once again encounter extraordinarily loud and embarrassing squeaky bike brakes, but, perhaps due to my intervention or perhaps due to the intervention of magical elves who took pity on my for some reason, the brakes were utterly silent and I was happy to once again by bike on the nice light fenderless summer bike and riding blissfully easily through the astonishingly wonderful summer morning.

Tires might've been a bit low. Can't have things too perfect. Might get spoiled.

There used to be a time around these parts when five or six cyclists stopped at a red light was remarkable, but that time has long passed. It's more remarkable when there's nobody. In fact, I remark 'hey, where is everyone?' and then there's no response because no one's there, but that's also ok because then no one sees me talking to myself.

Some really dashing figures cut their way through town on bicycles. Like, genuinely good looking people, dressed neat, kempt as kempt can be, all astride bicycles. Good for them. I don't think this really says anything about bicycling or bicycling in DC or fashion or whatever, but as far as mobile scenery, it's not bad.

Oh, the other day I saw the license plate POLISCI. That's pretty darn Washington.  But, what would Disco Stu say?

Up Wisconsin and Volta and 35th and New Mexico and into the parking garage where my bike rest all day before taking me home down Massachusetts Avenue where I was passed rather closely by a very young driver in a very large expensive car. I think it's funny sometimes that bicyclists are supposed to be cool with the idea of multiton high speed machine being piloted by barely-paying-attention teenagers like this is the normal state of affairs throughout the course of human history. "Let's give our teens the mechanism of death and destruction!" And then, as I do, I thought a lot of medieval Europe and kings and barons and nobles and such as and then was like 'oh yeah.'

I rode on the L Street cycletrack on the way home, as I normally do, and I also wrote about the L Street cycletrack in this week's Gear Prudence. I think my advice is sound, at least sound enough for me to following it myself, but you all (the 9 of you who read this + my mom) are all smart, savvy bikey people, so I'll rely on you to (as bombastically as possible) tell me how wrong I am, either in the comments here, in a drunk text, and written on a note wrapped around a brick thrown through my front window. You do you.

I saw and talked to Kyle (and a fellow Workcycle owner whose name I didn't catch) at 15th and Pennsylvania and then after a few more miles of bicycling I was home.

8/26/15

Rides 8/26: putting the extra i in electricity

We're well on the other side of tolerable right now, the side that's excessively pleasant and the numbers of bicyclists and runners gracing the streets shows it. The more the merrier, I say. To deny someone the opportunity to be out and about in weather like this seems utterly unconscionable. Thanks a lot, car dealerships. Why do you hate freedom?

Height: majestic grandeur

Height: light and air blocking Manhattanization

I decided that I wanted to take the long way into work today and that normally means the Capital Crescent and I'm glad that I made the choice, mostly due to the some unintended consequences and happy accidents. Firstly, I chanced upon this weird workout dance party thing:

OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ

It's called Daybreaker and it's either your idea of a dystopian nightmare or it's another thing that isn't your idea of a dystopian nightmare, but, come on, seriously. However, in addition to the dance party shenanigans, there was a gent from the DC-based eBike company Riide out front offering test rides and since I'm all 'yes, and' these days (and also because I've always wanted to try a ebike) I took the opportunity to avail myself a test ride. A few quick thoughts:




1. Ebikes are definitely a thing. I'm not entirely sure what that thing is. I don't know who exactly the target audience is, but I'm also quite confident that there's a target audience.

2. The Riide bike was very simple and intuitive. I liked that.

3. As a bike, it was mostly just fine. But it's not just a bike and the e part was really quite captivating, especially for helping get back up to speed after having the slow down some. Instant acceleration.

4. I used the e part to get up a rather steep hill to get the C&O. Effort-wise, it was all engine, so I did nothing. Speedwise, it wasn't much faster that I could've gone if I pedaled. But then again, I'm a world class grimpeur. Or is that griper?

Anyway, one of the more interesting things the company is doing is setting up a subscription service (aka a lease) where you pay a monthly fee, get the bike and a lock for 2 years and they'll take care of all the maintenance and whatnot. After two years, you turn it in and can get the new model. I think it's an interesting idea (sort of reminds me of old cell phone contracts) and I'll be curious to see if this model gains any traction. Best of luck to them in any case!

Capital Crescent the long way and then up the dirt path to Loughboro, which has too many unnecessary traffic lights. Stop signs are amazing. We should use more of them. Traffic lights are the worst and quite dumb. No one's coming, but the light stays green for another 30 seconds? Dumb.

Stopped at Bicycle Space AdMo on the way home. Bought some bar tape. Pondered buying other stuff. Saw Rachel. And Marko. Then rode down 18th Street to Q and then 11th and then Pennsylvania and eventually home. Didn't stop at the grocery store and have minor regrets about that, but I'm gonna get over it.



8/25/15

Rides 8/25: magnetism

This evening on the ride home not quite ten blocks away from my house the woman on the bike in front of me looked back over her shoulder and said to me 'you can go around' and I said 'that's ok, I'm in no rush.' And she said 'I'm just out for a ride. I'm out here trying to get rid some of today's bad technology rays.' And I'm like, but not aloud, 'yes. that's what we're all out here doing. that's why we're all out here on this ride. Just trying to get rid of some of today's bad technology rays. Bicycling is the ultimate degaussing. This lady is a genius.'

And that's pretty much all for today folks. Get rid of today's bad technology rays. Live life.

8/24/15

Rides 8/24: Phlogiston

Another summer day, but it's late August now and while there are more that await us, it's close enough to the brief time of year when it's no longer terrible and you can feel the brimming excitement. I'm excited too. Those 4 days in September are going to be great.

It was the first day of school, but I didn't see a lot more kids out on bikes than usual. Slackers.

Mall route over to Rock Creek and I rode on the road rather than the path. The road is wide and pleasant and empty and also technically closed so maybe let's not tell the Park Police lest they shut me down. I mean, really, is there a more victimless crime than cycling on an otherwise empty road? Like, it's negatively victimless in that I quite benefit from it. We should aspire that all illegal activities have at least negative one victims.

Banana Republic (the clothing store, not the Central American kleptocracies) loves bicycles and they're sharing that love with us by telling us as much in their window displays. My value add is the glare.

Something about loving bikes and loving Amsterdam

the world's easiest Magic Eye 

Only 1% of trips in USA are taken by bike, but in Amsterdam it's 40%. This compares apples to oranges, but hey, let's do more biking, ok? 

34th Street to Volta to 35th and eventually up through Glover Park and New Mexico Avenue. The way home took my down Massachusetts Avenue to 21st Street to L. Here's a picture without any context, but maybe we'll come back to it later in the week.



15th to Pennsylvania (u-turn at 14th) and then I passed something I thought was funny and almost went back to take a picture (maybe tomorrow) and then it was a few blocks where there were red lights and those who can't seem to queue. Shoal me once, shame on me. Shoal me twice, I'm gonna pass you going uphill. On the Ogre. While whistling.


8/23/15

Rides 8/21: dance moms are yelling in the background

Friday saw the triumphant return of Lauren to Friday Coffee Club. "Who is she?" they asked, the they who have only been coming to FCC for a few years, and weren't around when OG Lauren was part of the crew before she moved away for school. Who knew that "bicyclists gathering and drinking coffee" would prove so popular that it'd last so long as to have OGs? In any event, it was great to see her, even just briefly.

Afterwards, it was a ride across FoBo and then up through Georgetown and I saw again a bike commuter that I've been seeing in different parts of town for years now. There are a few people that I see a lot and they still bike commute and I still bike commute and we still pass each other unacknowledged, because we don't really know each other except by sight in this particular context, and then we do it again either the next day or a few days or weeks after and the time passes, but it still keeps happening. I felt a bit melancholic on Friday, so I was torn between the idea of whether passing these same people year after year is comforting or whether it's sad. Are we stable? Or are we stuck?

I decided that I'd mess around with my brakes before leaving work in order to try to get rid of some of the little squeaky brake noises coming from the rubbing of the pads and so I went to the Fix-It stand (a really great job perk) and I fiddled around with the pitch and yaw of the brake pads and so I got rid of the little squeaky noises, replacing them with horrifically loud squeaky noises instead. This proves that if you set your mind to something, you can definitely achieve it.

all the fixings

Massachusetts Avenue on the way home is an opportunity to go fast. That it runs downhill abets this and I regularly achieve speeds far in excess of those that I could achieve from pedal power on flat ground. For the most part it's nice and I can keep up with car traffic just fine, so I take the lane. There are really one kind of situation in which this really causes problems and it's when me on my bike equals the speed of someone driving in the left lane. Because then the driver behind that guy comes over behind me and then he's mad at me for slowing him down (when really it's the guy in the left lane who isn't speeding that's "slowing" him down). Anyway, this doesn't happen a lot, but whenever it does, I really don't like it. In conclusion, I wish drivers would speed more...? Wait, that doesn't sound right.

August Fridays in DC are special.

The barriers installed on Pennsylvania Avenue to prevent u-turns do a pretty good job, I think. Except a lot of them now, more than I care to count, show signs of damage from being run over, which maybe indicates to me that drivers are still deciding that u-turning is better than not u-turning and that's unfortunate. And even more unfortunate than that is that drivers can't do this illegal thing without destroying something. It's banal destruction. It goes most unnoticed, but if you look around the city, you'll see scads of things on the road- things paid for and maintained by public moneys- that have been destroyed by drivers who have proven incapable of controlling their cars to the extent that they do not crash into something. I'm old enough to remember when the first rule of driving was 'don't crash into anything.' I think it's a pretty reasonable rule, but apparently, it's quite difficult to practice. I mean, it's kind of weird to have a transportation system in which users are constantly destroying things in the process of using it. Maybe it's time to redefine what's considered 'normal' wear and tear.

everyday destruction
traffic laws