I Strava-ed my way home. That's the last time I'll mention that. Endorsement accomplished.
I know that many of you read this blog for its trenchant local political analysis. So, on my rides today: I saw one Biddle sign, one VO sign, 2 Weavers and a Mara. Verdict: The Great Citrus will win. (btw- anyone got the origin on that nickname? Google isn't helping me.) Analysis over. I'm basically Martin Austermuhle.
There are a lot of things that can discourage someone from bike commuting. One of them is having to hear the conversations of Georgetown pedestrians. Banalhaughty isn't a word yet, but maybe it could be.
Not too many cars out on the road today. I think it's a holdover from the holiday. Good amount of foot traffic though. Especially on the bridge. Heavy stroller traffic, too.
Also, a ton of bikes. That means unsolicited advice time. These are some tips for new bike commuters. That's not to say new bicyclists, but those who are now newly (or once again) engaged in the activity of riding a bike to and from work. Please take these suggestions with as much seriousness as you take the rest of this blog, which is to say not very much.
- Look up. Staring at your front wheel isn't going to help you. Don't be Beautiful Mind crazy, but you've gotta keep an eye on the world around you. Ride with healthy skepticism. One of the differences I've noticed between the daily commuter types and the rare commuter types is that the daily commuters not only know to look up, but know where to look. This isn't on account of some preternatural ability to sense danger (Spiderman on a bike? [Slide 7]) but from the accumulated knowledge that comes from riding every day and seeing the multifarious ways that harm might befall you. You don't develop this ability if you're just making sure your front wheel doesn't come off.
- Use hand signals. They don't need to be official or anything, but they should do enough to indicate to the world around you that you'll be doing something more than continue to ride straight. Hand signals help fellow cyclists, too. Make the signals your own. Maybe you like to pistol fingers. Maybe you're a fan of popping and locking. Maybe you just like making an ass of yourself in public (guilty). Just do something to help other people get along better.
- Please for the love of God don't ride the wrong way in a bike lane (or on a street)*. This is annoying. It also shows that you're a rube. Rube, they'll all say as they point (with pistol fingers) and laugh. Perhaps they will hoot. It's also unsafe.
- Don't take the easy way out. Like riding the wrong way down a bike lane. Just wait for the light to change and cross the street. I was stuck at light after light after light today. The difference between my ride in and my ride home? 3 minutes. It's not a big deal.
- Don't eat cat food. This is self-explanatory and not related to bike commuting.
- You're not going as fast as you think you are. This means that when the light is yellow and you're not yet there by about 30 feet, you're not going to make it through. It's annoying when drivers do it and it's annoying when bicyclists do it. Learn to judge your own speed and make decisions based on how fast you're really going, not how fast you think you're going. Epistemology fail...?
- If you want people to know that you're fully stopped, put a foot down. That's really the only way to show that you've come to a complete and total stop. For some reasons, drivers and pedestrians have a hard time telling that a bike isn't moving forward. It might have something to do with the Doppler effect (it doesn't). Anyway, a foot on the ground is an unambiguous sign that you have no intention of moving forward.
So, there's my "tips" and "tricks" for "riding" your "bike" around "town" and abusing "scare quotes."
* I do this every day for about 100 feet. I apologize to myself.