Rides 7/28

Maybe I should start going the long way, which is up Massachusetts, which is the way I used to go to work. It takes about 10 minutes longer on a slow day, but I know it better, but the reason I would really consider it is to escape the bad Connecticut and Calvert intersection. Today I was almost taken out by a left-turning driver, who, thankfully saw me, and stopped. I've had maybe three bad calls there in two weeks and avoiding it, at least for a few days, might be better than risking a fourth.

Crossing guards are great for pedestrians. But are they still crossing guards when they're pretty much only directing car traffic and there's not a pedestrian in sight? I don't know. I have issues with St. Albans. Anyway, it'd be nice if maybe the crossing guard at least sort of tried to kind of not completely block the bike lane on Garfield. Maybe?

I had an event after work and I left it right as the rain began. The rain was accompanied by lightning and then it really picked up and it really came down in buckets. I was wearing my work clothes, which are and forever will be wet until the end of time. That's fine. Once you get a little wet, you might as well get a lot wet and that's what happened. The best part was riding through the few inches of water that had accumulated in the bike lanes of the Duke Ellington Bridge. With each pedal stroke, my shoe was fully submerged. It was like walking in the ocean, but without the sand. So, pretty good, actually.


Rides 7/27

Sometimes your legs just feel good. This morning I felt like I could've gone another dozen miles without thinking and even after another thirty or forty maybe I'd only feel good, though I suppose there'd be some questions about why I wasn't at work yet. I think this means that my legs want me to take a longer ride this weekend and I might very well try that. I haven't been out for anything longer than 20 miles in a few months and haven't gone any real distances since last fall. I feel ready for it. It'll probably rain.

I ride roughly the same route as the 96 bus for most of my route (this is the bus my ANC commissioner takes to work) and I passed it today. I think even with all the uphill sections of this route, it's still faster to bike than bus. I mean, the bus would be faster if it didn't have to stop, but stopping to pick up and let off passengers is one of the really great things a bus does, so it's likely that the bus will continue to stop along the way and I'll continue to not stop and we'll just have to go at different speeds. Anyway, BREAKING: buses and bikes are different.

Got honked at. Turns out that I should've made a left turn in front of a car that I wasn't sure would come to a stop at a yellow-turning-red light. The funny thing about loud horn noises is that they don't cancel out my self-preservation instinct. So, yeah, sorry. Anyway, this led me to wonder if the future of robot cars is going to be any quieter or much, much louder. The argument for quieter is that by removing the noisemaker from the dickholes inside, you won't have nearly as much 'pique honking.' The argument for louder is that every single piece of technology invented in the last 25 years has involved superfluous beeping. Like, a shit ton of superfluous beeping. And frankly, if we have it that buses make announcements warning pedestrians that they're going to be run over and we find this to be socially acceptable (and maybe even useful!), it's hard to imagine that we won't continue this in the future. Anyway, buy earplugs.

First ride home in a few days when I didn't stop at the bike shop. Didn't stop anywhere really. Got stuck behind a bus that belched some hot fumes at me. That was unpleasant. I mean, I love me some hot fumes (fondue is delicious!) but it was entirely unnecessary on such a hot day. It almost made me sweatier, except for the fact that that would've been impossible

Next Thurday I'm hosting pub trivia sponsored by our good friends at REI. Sign up. One of the answers is going to be 'you don't need to buy a kayak. you live in a city. come on.' So, you've got one point already. So you're all tied. For last. But also first. Cool!


Rides 7/26

One of the things about my old commute is that for about half it, I was riding on my way downtown and then on half, I was riding from downtown. This allowed me to have elements of the standard commute and elements of a reverse commute and I liked experiencing both. Now, I pretty much only get the reverse commute, but it seems that, for whatever reason, I'm picking up more cyclists heading in the same direction than I almost ever did riding out of downtown and up through Georgetown. I wonder where everyone is going when they ride up and through AdMo. Maybe I'll have to follow someone someday. Yes, that would be sort of creepy and bad and curiosity killed the cat and all that, but the demands of being DC's 78th favorite bike commute blogger (hiatus killed my ranking, but I'm clawing my way back) are what they are and I just have to know. Maybe these reverse commuters are going to my workplace. That be convenient for the whole following them to work thing. And way less stalkery.

Before work, I stopped and bought a muffin at the grocery store. Morning grocery shopping = great. Morning grocery shoppers = less great. It's not '12 items or fewer unless it's before 9AM and then it's just however many things you want,' madam. Oh hey, maybe I'm a little grumpy in the morning.

This morning was the last ride with the busted grips and they didn't disappoint by further unraveling. I don't think I'll much miss them. Bike stuff and I have a weird relationship right now. I really enjoy having a lot of it and I enjoy the things that I've purchased along the way...for the most part. But sometimes I've gotten it wrong and I've been left with stuff that just isn't right. I don't think this is a unique problem to me (hello, facebook used bike marketplace) and I don't think it's a unique problem to bicyclists, but I find this problem to be more problematic than other problems I have because I really hate the idea of 'wasting' stuff. I guess it's not really wasting if you sell it along and send it to a new home, but it seems a little wasteful of money, I guess. Anyway, these grips lived their life and they ended up destroyed at the bike shop as two mechanics diligently worked to remove them with a hammer and a wrench and some screwdrivers used as ice picks and a fuck ton of gumption and gone they went, into the dustbin of history/regular bike shop dustbin. Could have they been salvaged? I don't know. Like 30% maybe. But they're gone now and I've got new ones. They're blue.

Blue and foamy. Like the ocean.

Rode home again in work clothes. This would be madness if I were going any more than 15 minutes. After the bike shop, I stopped for bread. I also bought cheese. The worker at the register said 'Nice. Bread and cheese.' And I was like 'Yes.' It's good that she could successfully identify those items. Otherwise I'd worry about her future in the grocery industry. Really, though, bread and cheese are great. Glad I finally got to blog that. It's been on my mind for years.


Rides 7/25

The main advantage of living much closer to work now is that I can leave the house later and I like that plenty. But if I leave a little earlier than later, I can stop at the grocery store on the way to work, which I did this morning. Admittedly, it would've gone better had I remembered to bring a lock with me, but I threw the Bromtpon into the cart and pushed it around a little as I shopped. I bought a few things and threw them in my bag and I was happy to use some of the things I bought to supplement my lunch and to leave the rest of the things in the mini-fridge in my office until the end of the day when back into the bag they went. I like to shop everyday, but shopping in the morning is a new thing for me and I think I like it. The store is emptier and also being able to grab some lunch on the way in is pretty nice and useful too.

It's gotten to be that the time I'm the happiest on the bike is when I'm riding (slowly) uphill. It just feels...calm. It's not exactly zen, but it's something quite good and I'm quite coming to savor it.

I'm still having grip problems, so I stopped at the bike shop on the way home to buy new grips and thought that I'd try to install them when I got home, but I couldn't find the right tool and so maybe I'll drop the bike and grips back off at the shop tomorrow and have them do it. Getting the current grips off is going to be maybe more of a hassle than I want to deal with and I still have $20 worth of bike commuter benefits and I'd be happy to exchange that money for labor, as we sometimes do in modern society. I mean, I'd try to use sea shells or whatever, but I'm pretty sure the shop doesn't take those. Oh also, funny, I managed to briefly lose the grips and freaked out a little, but then I found them and all was right with the world again. Did I mention that they're blue? They're blue.

Didn't think it was the hottest day, but soon proved myself wrong by staying out in the heat for more than a few minutes. Rode home in my work clothes thinking that would be a good idea and for the first 5 minutes of the ride, I rode faster than I could sweat. However, riding so fast only hastened the sweat. You can't outride sweat. It will catch you. It always catches you.


Rides: Last week (sorry)

I didn't really intend for this blog to go into digest format, nor do I really intend for it to be that in a future, but I had a lot of things going on last week and I'm still out of habit of doing this daily, so excuse excuse excuse apology apology apology etc. etc. I did ride to work every day last week, except for the day I didn't work and on that day, I rode Bikeshare from the house (which is now not mine) to Judiciary Square (or thereabouts), so huzzah for all that. It was my intention to ride this weekend, but aside from two rides to and from donuts (the first ride to donuts was an hour too early for the donut shop to be open), I spent the heat indoors like a normal/sane person.

A few observations from this week:

- 18th Street through Adams Morgan is sort of a bike highway. Pity it only has sharrows. It makes sense that there are so many cyclists who take it and it's a fine route (even with sharrows), but it'd be nicer if it were something more.

- Connecticut and Calvert remains the worst. At it's best, it's a bad intersection and at it's worst, it's the worst intersection.

- I can't remember when or why, but at some point during the week, I was on the Met Branch Trail and I didn't know if I was supposed to take the wide angle on the ramp down to M Street or whether I was supposed to take the narrow approach and I had an awkward, but comical and lighthearted, intersection with a cyclist riding up the ramp and it was all very haha. I think the case could be made for either wide or narrow, but I'll defer to those of you who do this more than I do and then I'll make take your wisdom and pass it off as my own in a future GP.

- Heat it hot. Humidity is humid. It's July. These things happen. It'll be August soon and then these things'll happen in August too. Seems like we have summer every year these days.

- A few years ago I bought Brooks grips for the Brompton. I wanted grips to match my saddle because I am somewhat vain and somewhat fastidious and must've also had somewhat too much money sitting around or something. I had a terrible time getting them on the bars and even after that, the ends of the grips kept falling off. This might have something to do with poor installation or it might have to do with my knocking off the Brompton a bunch, but either way, it's kind of annoying. I glued them on once, but that still doesn't seem to have done the job. Now the leather on the grips is starting to come off (it's a one inch strip of leather rolled diagonally around the barrel) and I've more or less reached the point where I'm going to have declared them as having achieved their usefulness and switch back to the standard foamy grips that came with the bike. I feel like maybe they should've lasted longer, but then again, I kind of treat the bike like crap, so I'm willing to maybe say that a few years is a good life for grips. In the mean time, I'm going to keep riding the bike and keep getting annoyed by them.

- The mean time ends tomorrow. My new route takes me right past the Adams Morgan Bicycle Space. This is dangerous. I have $40 in saved-up commuter checks left, but those won't last much longer. Pray for Sharrows.