I got to go into work later today, so I wasn't riding during the normal rush hour crush. The dropoff in traffic is pretty precipitous, though not as much for bikes. I rode the CCT today and saw a lot of people riding in (this is the 9 to 10 crowd, not the 8 to 9 crowd) and I wish that I had counted. I suspect it was close to 75 people heading in the opposite direction and since this was an off-peak time, I was pretty impressed. On the weekends, the local trails can get pretty bad, but this number of bike commuters (and the very few joggers/walkers) can easily be handled by the trail on a weekday morning. As usual, I was the only one going in the uptown direction. I'd really like someone do to a typology of CCT riders, which will run the gamut from little league dad to soccer coach dad to girls soccer coach dad to proto-little league dad to former soccer coach dad. It's quite a group riding down from Bethesda-ways.
It was nice riding and it was very quiet. I wonder what the medieval Carthusians would have done if they had bicycles.
And now the "I'm sorry for flipping you off" section of the blog. I try to stay pretty even keel and I try not to let things get to me. Especially since in the parts of town I generally ride in, I feel that it's important to try to win motorists over by "sharing the road" with them and trying to be generally law-abiding and gracious. Ward 3 is hardly a bustling, dense and super-congested area and there's more often than not, plenty of room for bicyclists and motorists to coexist and avoid conflict. This is my first time ever flipping someone the bird while riding and while it might have been justified, I don't think it was very effective or something that I can be especially proud of. That's not contrition, just dispassion.
Here's the situation: I'm riding up Loughboro Road in the parking lane (which I use as a de facto bike lane, since there's almost no cars ever parked there. There's ample driveway space for each of those huge houses. Why not convert it into a bike lane? Anyway.) A utility truck is parked with its lights flashing. I look back and there are a few cars coming, but I'm sufficiently far enough in front of them to move out of the parking lane and move into the right side of the travel lane. This was my mistake. As I'm just riding past the hood of the utility truck and starting to move my way back into the parking lane, the motorist of the lead car drives within about 6 inches of me- having never even adjusted the car from its initial path. Not cool. I raised my right hand in an angry, fist-shaking type maneuver. Before I bring it down, I sat high up on the saddle and I let it fly. I might have also swore a little. I'm used to riding with traffic and I have a pretty good sense about these things- this was way too close for comfort and I believe that I was in physical danger. Will my gesture be a corrective? No, I doubt it- not for the driver at least. However, it will serve as a reminder that when I'm riding and I go to take the lane, I'm going to take whole thing and ride right down the middle of the travel lane. I think a lot of my anger stemmed from the fact that I should have known better- if you need the space to feel safe, take it.
I saw a plumbing van from a company called "Pipe Dreams." I don't think this is a good name. It might speak to the general hopelessness of trying to get a decent plumber on a weekend and not be gouged. Or, it might remind people of the mid-90's documentary film about two young men using their talents (and wrenches) to get off the street and into plumbing school. Except that the last thing is made up.