4/4/11

Ride In 4/4

First and foremost, I'm a bicycle commuter. That means I pretty much use my bike just go back and forth from home to work. I take direct routes, carry stuff in panniers, stop at grocery stores, things like that. But sometimes on weekends, I become a recreational cyclist, a strange kind of person who rides his bike for no practical purpose, but instead for the "fun" of it. In the name of fun, I went out on a Bicycle Space-organized ride for what turned out to be a metric century, which I believe is around 3054 miles all of which were uphill and through mud. Or at least that's how I felt yesterday afternoon after I got home. Hooray, fun!
So today's ride into work was a bit like the hair of the dog for me. My Cross Check was dirty and the chain needed lubing and I didn't much feel like doing that this morning, so I decided to take the Haul, which I recently kitted out with a new Brooks saddle. It has springs and is pretty comfortable. My goal with the Haul is to make it a "utility bike"/fop-cycle and I'm only cork grips and a Pletscher kickstand away. But while I'm talking about my wish list, I'd also like this. It sure is easy to covet bike stuff. Speaking of coveting bike stuff, I also wouldn't mind having this. And one of these. If you just heard a combination of an exasperated sigh and frustrated scream, you're probably reading this post at the same time as my wife.
Anyway, back to the ride. I decided that I would wear my work clothes in and see how that goes. It's sort of a long trip for work clothes, but the weather seemed right and I don't think that I arrived at work particularly gross. A lot of people were on the road this morning and that always makes me happy. Except for the guy who tried to pass me from the right by taking a wide arc around me as I went to pedal up the sidewalk on 35th street. I got a "sorry man," but it hardly felt sincere. That's ok, man. I could have been clearer with my signaling. From that point onward, I decided to use a lot of hand signals because why not? I felt inspired by cricket umpires, who signal quite jauntily. I'm confident I looked like an ass.
Lots of car traffic stuck on Tunlaw and 37th. I don't know if it's due to delays as a result of the streetcar track removal/replacement in Georgetown. It's unusual for there to be a lot of backup. It made for tricky riding for bicyclists coming in the opposite direction. Normally, one would just ride mixed in with the cars (on account of going downhill), but with the car traffic stopped, the few cyclists I saw had to slowly ease their way past on the right side, which on account of staggering, left them with varying amounts of space. While bicycling gets you out of waiting in some car traffic, it's not always a free pass around delays. I guess you could ride on the sidewalk, which is probably what I would have done, but there's a lot of pedestrian traffic there and that might not have been much better. The lack of bicycling infrastructure really holds bicyclists hostage sometimes.
On New Mexico, I stopped for a pedestrian at a cross walk. I'm pretty sure that traffic is supposed to yield to pedestrians. This was lost on the first four drivers coming in the opposite direction. Time for my op-ed about how drivers need to learn to follow the laws before we dedicated any more road space to them. Because that's productive.

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