Per usual, my sieve-like memory will make it difficult for me to recall the events of last evening with the accuracy and detail that you've come to expect (highly descriptive words like"dude" and "thing" are the most overused words on this blog), but I'll soldier on for your sake and, more important, my own. I left work early upon learning that my new fenders had arrived and with the hope they could be installed the very same day. I never know the best way to get anywhere from my workplace. Presumably, Massachusetts Avenue is the most direct way from AU to the shop, because it's a diagonal avenue and as we've all learned from triangles, something about the hypotenuse = shorter than going a different way. I always think, though, that it might be faster to head down to M and then take that and L across town, mostly because that's the way I'm used to going and because I think L (even without the separated cycle track) is a pretty good biking street, especially if you time the lights correctly.
A few things to note about Massachusetts Avenue. I will now use bullets.
- From the university of Wisconsin, it's downhill then uphill. On the uphill parts, the right most lane is sort of a parking lane (sometimes) and there's not really enough room to ride safely between the parked cars and the dashed line. There was a guy in a pickup truck blasting Kary Perry's Firework. This video features beautiful Budapest, the most capital-y of all Hungarian cities. (I JUST LEARNED THIS NOW! I feel preposterously derelict in not knowing this already, both because of my previously avowed
love appreciationmentioning of Katy Perry and because I scour the internet every day for interestingthings about a city where I used to live and I love. There's a direct correlation between the size and general irrelevance of a place and the preposterous lengths its devotees will go to praise it). I can't identify the building where the balcony is. It's Pest. Is at off the Nagy Korut? (are those tram tracks on the left?Anyway, this is mostly just me asking my wife to try to figure it out. If anyone else who reads this has extensive knowledge of Bp or very good googling skills, leave a comment.
- From Wisconsin, it's all downhill. This is both good, because you can go fast, and bad, because cars can go faster. People drive Mass like it's a racetrack. I passed a genuine hipster on a track bike heading down Mass. Mustache, plaid shirt, u-lock in back pocket. Hipster and I pretty much alternated in passing each other all of the way to Sheridan Circle. At the entance to Rock Creek, he used the right-turn only lane to jump a line of cars and then ride the sidewalk while I waited behind the previously mentioned line of cars. He rode the sidewalk all the way to Dupont, whereas I stuck to the street.
- Dupont Circle is not a great place for bicycling. However, Shake Shack opens on May 17.
- Massachusetts Avenue after Dupont Circle is also not a great place for bicycling.
- Massachusetts Avenue where it turns into New York Avenue is not a great place for bicycling.
The shop wasn't able to put the fenders on yesterday on account of having other bikes to take care of. Not a big deal. On my way out, I saw Erik, who continues to be a huge booster of this blog and I publicly thank him for his continued compliments of my "writing." We talked a little about the idea of a co-sponsored Tales From the Sharrows/Bicycle Space (I'm being totally presumptuous) group ride to the Port City Brewery in Alexandria for a tour and tasting some weekend in the future. I'll keep you posted if that ever comes to fruition. Think June.
To get home, I worked my way over the the 14th street bridge. It is impossible to get here from, basically, anywhere. I took New York Avenue (mistake) to the Kleinway to where it stops and then past the tour buses and vending trucks along 15th past Constitution. Tour buses are ugly and unsightlt and should be banished from the monumental core. I'm waiting for the Committee of 100 to get back to me on their support of that.
Got stuck behind a fellow cyclist crossing the bridge. I heard a rumor that it's bad luck to pass another cyclist on a bridge. Ok, I sort of just made that up. But it seems like bad form. Unless you have plenty of room, which I didn't. From the other side of the bridge, I took the windy Mount Vernon trail to the Custis and then to Quincy and then home.
The Mount Vernon trail is very nice on account of the unobstructed views of Washington across the river. It's both wonderful and horrible that it's not developed.
At the start of the Custis, I rode behind a man who probably wasn't Bruce Springsteen, but maybe there was a .5% chance he was. If it was the Boss, he has really large calves and rides a Trek touring bike. He also attaches his Kool Kovers via metal ring to one of his saddle rails.
At the intersection of Quincy and Wilson, I dinged my bell twice at a woman who was texting instead of a going even though the light had changed. I don't think she heard me. Look at me drivers! I can be impatient too!
Once I got home, I immediately went to sleep because blogger didn't work and I had nothing else to do. That's not entirely true.
This morning I rode back to the shop via Pershing, 50, the TR bridge and through Foggy Bottom. Happy graduation some GW kids!. My wife was actually at the commencement ceremony in which a number of her interns were participating (because she's cool like that) but I didn't see her.
H street is not a great street for bicycling across the town. In Foggy Bottom, where I've spent about as much time as I have EOTR, there are too many stop signs and taxicabs. Now that they're constructing the Mall of America II or whatever the hell it is at the now former old convention center/world's most wasteful parking lot and bus depot, H isn't very good there either. And in Chinatown, it's not very fun either. The past two days have really made me appreciate L street.
My fenders were affixed this morning and they look very nice. I took off my old fenders at home and it felt weird to ride my bike, even for just one trip, without them. The bike felt naked.
To get back to work, I decided not to ride Massachusetts the whole way, but instead ride I to 15th, take the Kleinway to R, and then bike lane on R to Massachusetts. I liked this route though pedestrians crossing the Kleinway proved unaffected by dinging. I even had to yell hey and some guy to prevent him from walking right into my path. To be clear, I had the right of way and the light, so the extent of my jerkiness is mitigated. Though I'm sure I was still the jerk cyclist in their eyes. What can you do?
I took the sidewalk on Mass the entire way to Wisconsin. I just didn't feel like riding uphill on a street that's proven treacherous/unfun before. I was thinking as I rode about the kinds of metrics by which one can judge a city as a "bike city." Maybe it was because I read this article this morning. And while I'm sure that you could prove it by statistics and counting and surveys, I thought all of those things sounded scientific and hard. I'm submitting my own metric and it's this: A city is a "bike city" when a bicyclist never rides for more than a minute without seeing another bicyclist. Should there be caveats? Sure, why not. But I like this idea and I think we should try it on for a while and see how it fits.