2/9/11

Ride In 2/9

Paczki are donuts.

Powered by a powdered Polish paczki, I decided that I would try to repeat my route from yesterday (though without the mistakes) down Pershing to Barton to 10th to along Arlington Boulevard in the attempt to figure out where I went wrong and subsequently not be as wrong as I was yesterday. I even took a picture of the Arlington County Bike Map with my phone before I left. 
My bane.
I was zoned in for my whole ride down Pershing. I was feeling good. No mistakes today. I turned on Barton and was immediately distracted. I don't make it a habit of carrying my phone in my back pocket when I'm out riding because I have the mind of a simpleton and am far too distracted by too many things that I would want to take pictures of, stuff like funny looking dogs or bad spellings on street signs. However, when I saw this car, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share it. It's basically the greatest window decal set I've ever seen.
A picture of a car not blocking a bike lane? What?

I'm not a paleontologist, nor do I know very much about sharks, but even if sharks and pterodactyls coexisted in the same time period, I'm not entirely sure that a pterodactyl would fly low enough to make itself vulnerable to a leaping shark attack. Verisimilitude ruled out, this is probably a metaphor for a concept I don't understand or, conversely, simply a bad-ass dedication to awesomely terrifying extent and extinct animals. I actually got off my bike and took my phone out of my pannier to take this picture. Totally worth it.
The off-street route along 10th is a sidewalk. I suppose that's off-street, but it wasn't what I expected. The sidewalk continued under an overpass, then on a sharp left for about 30 feet before a cut-out which allowed me to cross the street that serves as an exit from Arlington Boulevard. A BMW didn't hit me there- the driver waited politely for me to cross. At that point, there's an access road (the one I biked through muddy grass to get to yesterday) that runs parallel to the continuation of the off-street route (which was a slightly wider sidewalk maybe) and then runs into Fairfax Drive and then to Lynn Street and then to the Key Bridge.
 They didn't change the road layout since yesterday, so I was on the "wrong" side of M street when I got off the bridge. I decided to take bucolic 33rd street (where DDOT might or might not be installing a bike lane. By installing I mean painting a stripe and drawing little white bicycles) which put me a little out of my way, but was fine.
Next bit of "drama" was at the intersection of 37th and Tunlaw, where traffic travelling north on 37th turns left onto Tunlaw and continues uphill through Glover Park and then past the Russian Embassy. It's a four way stop, but traffic really only comes frequently from three directions. Traffic coming down 37th (which is a one way) when stopped at the stop sign might want to remember a little better than those of us coming up 37th are going to be turning left in their path since we CAN'T GO STRAIGHT. I reach the stop sign. I wave the first guy through. I start pedaling up and to make my left turn. Apparently the next driver at the stop sign couldn't wait for me to get across so he tries to cut me off. I deploy the Magyar Death Stare (aka the Győr Glower aka the Újlak Eye-lock [which sorta rhymes in Hungarian])and succeed in making eye contact. Now, the Magyar Death Stare is a product of Hungarian culture, which runs purely on fatalism and sour cream. It's not meant to be hostile- in fact, your face should be kept as blank as possible. No knowing "you're a jackass" half-smile, no expressive "hey asshole" gaping, but just a blank expression of subtle disappointment and guilt-rendering disapproval. It's the most passive-aggressive of all of the Death Stares and the one that most recognizes the power relationship between the two parties- me on my little bike and them, behind a windshield in a two ton piece of metal. It's just about acknowledgement and you really shouldn't expect results from its deployment.

Got to to work and there was a scooter parked at the bike rack. Fair or foul? I never know. 
This is the kind of picture that happens when I have my phone on me.

As a bit of a post-script, I told my wife this morning about Bicycle Space's twitter shout out. (You guys are awesome and I really didn't mean to insult the Snake. I said it was the great bike, really, and once you start stocking the Kona Ultimate Warrior, I'm so there) Once again, please remember that all conversations in this blog are not vetted for accuracy:

ME: Guess what Bicycle Space says is a great new bike blog?
HER: Yours?!?

Now, we disputed the intonation of the "yours". I heard more question mark than exclamation point. She insisted that it was the other way around. I told her that I would take her word for it, but she followed up a few minutes later with something along the lines of, "Well, in my defense, you seem to talk about "great" bike blogs all the time, so..." Burn. Anyway, I think she's becoming the sardonic hero of this blog, just like she's the sardonic hero of my heart (typed with extra treacle). 

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