4/25/11

Ride In 4/25

Contents of my bag today: 2 tax returns, a can of WD-40, breath mints, and a wrinkled suit. No lunch because I forgot it. I even went back inside to put on sunscreen and still managed not to grab anything from the fridge. 3 squares fail. 
I was browsing through the iPhone app store as I am sometimes wont to do and I came across a free ($0) app called Strava. It's basically a GPS route tracker + counter that hooks into a website that allows you to share your most rockingest rides with your hardcore cycling friends and family (they won't care). It's very similar to MapMyRide, which I've used in the past. Unlike MapMyRide, the interface is a little cleaner- it doesn't have as many random options that all seem to do the same thing, nor does it show an actual map while you're riding- I know where I'm going (for the most part), so I don't really need a map. It's also probably not safe to look down at a map on your phone anyway. Strava only shows your elapsed time, distance and average speed. Since the phone is in my back pocket (unless I'm taking a picture of a shark attacking a pterodactyl), this works just fine for me. So I pressed to big blue (what looks like the Play button from Youtube) button and went.
Do the police cars parked outside of DARPA ever leave their post? Not because I want to sometimes roll through that red light on Fairfax or anything. Like most drivers, the sight of a police car does make me a bit more attentive to following traffic laws. Plus, I'm extra paranoid from reading all that crazy New York bike crackdown stuff.
Nice riding along the calm streets of Arlington and also down the brief stretch of the Custis until the Key Bridge. A good number of people out, but somehow not as many as I expected. I got lucky with the light sequencing, so that was a nice surprise for a Monday morning.
In Georgetown, I thought that a girl was waiting to cross the street. She was looking down at her phone, but wasn't wearing headphones. I stopped and waited. I asked "Would you like to cross?" Nothing. I said, after 10 seconds- I'm very patient!- "Ok, I'm just gonna go." Then she looked up and was all like "Oh, yeah, no, thanks though. Sorry." I think she was waiting at the bus stop, which I'm pretty sure is a good 15 feet before the corner. Oh, urban life.
My crossing guard acknowledged me again today. I guess we're friends again.
Swiveled my head and yelled "HEY!" at the driver of a minivan today as she attempted to turn from a perpendicular street at the same time as I was occupying the space she was about to move her car into. It might have come off meaner than I wanted. She might have been trying to turn her car into a postion that was not exactly where I was but slightly to the left of me, but it still seemed prudent to indicate to her (through yelling) my feeling that her driving maneuver might have endangered me. Unfortunately, there's no way to succinctly convey "Excuse me. I'm not totally sure of your intention or if you ever see me, but I'd like to call to your attention that I am bicycling here and I believe that if you are to proceed with your automobile the way I anticipate, then it is likely that it will lead to an unsafe situation, mostly for me on account of my relative exposure to your vehicle," so "hey" will just have to do.
So, according to Strava, I made my trip today in 28:14. This is one second slower than my fastest recorded time ever (I don't usually time my ride in because I'm not one of those people normally). I checked Strava once when I was stopped at a light and I was pretty sure it wasn't working. I was by Duke Ellington School and it said that I had gone 1.7 miles. That is not correct. I thought that its GPS was busted. No big deal.  I guess it righted itself eventually and did appear to record my route correctly. I like the web interface better than MapMyRide as well, because along with the route and elevation, it records my "performance." I guess I hit 28 mph going down the hill by the Russian embassy. That doesn't quite seem right, but I'm not going to argue with a computer. Or a robot. Because of Short Circuit. Anyway, end verdict on Strava is that if you like recording your bike rides and tracking your "performance" and you have an iPhone, go for it. If, instead, you like to eat pie, then maybe you should get a pie made with fresh fruit from a local farmers market. These things, I suppose, are not mutually exclusive.

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