Ride Home 5/16

Why is it called Bike to Work week and not Bike from Work week? Is it because any sensible person wouldn't bike home from work in something like today's rain?
It started between the time I left my office (window) and when I went to the locker room (no window). I didn't realize it until I saw a guy on a motorbike stopped at the exit of the parking garage. I assumed that he was blocked behind a line of cars, but there were none visible in the convex mirror, I guessed he was just being daffy (Use of the word daffy- yet another reason you should vote for Tales From The Sharrows as the best bike commuter blog on the interwebs. Please tell your friends). When I turned the corner, I realized that was not the case and that it was raining. I took some video:
Make of it what you will. Didn't seem unduly raining, so I took off my sunglasses (how naive I was), put on my jacket, turned on my lights and figured that I would just ride in it. While I was changing, I saw this graffito:
I took a semester of palaeography and I've got nothing. Warsteiner? Merlin? Ma Blink? I know that tagging isn't about legibility, but I'd really like to know what this says.
The ride down the big hill wasn't so bad. It was nice to have new brakes and I was happy that no cars made any dramatic turning maneuvers in or around my path.
At Russian Embassy Hill, I heard my first/only thunderclap. I also saw blue skies, so maybe I could have just waited 10 minutes before leaving.
Down the next hill, the Tunlaw hill, the rain really picked up. The droplets as they hit the pavement were like a simile a better writer could come up with. Let's settle on a trillion tiny mushroom clouds of wetness. No, there's no way to unvote.
Tip time: in a rainstorm, ride down the middle of the street instead of on the right side. This is because the rain drains on the right side of the road and there tends to be really large puddles (or small lakes) the closer you get to the curb. Can someone in Burleith demand better stormwater management as part of the next GU Campus plan? Like, ok, we'll let students live here, but the university needs to put in a green drainage system to help bicyclists who happen to be riding home in the rain.
Don't ride on red bricks when it's raining. They're slippery.
On the Key Bridge, I saw my first fellow bicyclists on my ride. It also stopped raining as soon as I got to Arlington.
Dearest zombie joggers: you know I love you and your zombie jogging ways. But the thing is that I can tell whether you're a real zombie jogger who was caught out in the rain storm or a poseur zombie jogger who just splashed some water on your face after you did some extra stretches while waiting for the rain to stop. It's perfectly reasonable not to run in the rain. Advisable even. I know that part of zombie jogger culture is to look like there's never been a time when you weren't running, but a slicked back hair and some splash marks around your collar isn't going to fool anyone.
Cerulean blue Gitane Mixte with a honey Brooks B17 outside of the George Mason Law School. Sorry no real picture. Great looking bike.  
Two other cyclists and I were waiting at the light at Quincy and Fairfax. Initially, I was going to wait at the left turn lane on Fairfax, but I decided that I wasn't going to get through the light behind the two cars that were already waiting, so I cut back across the traffic lanes and lined up behind the other bikers. Hipstery was on a mountain bike, no helmet. Girl was on a Trek racing bike and looked sort of uncomfortable, but very earnest. No one made eye contact. It was sort of awkward.
Stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Yellow onions and spray roses and no offer of a senior discount. Lady next to me at the self-checkout, per usual, didn't know how to operate it and asked me where to sign for the credit card. She said that she didn't get out much. Ok, lady. It's just the store. And they've got trained professionals who can check you out if you don't know how. I never know why the people least capable of scanning and bagging their own groceries drift to the self-checkout lines. Can some behavioral economist sort this out?
Bike was basically dry by the time I got it home. That was nice and I totally didn't expect it. I guess a little non-rain riding can dry off your bike pretty quickly. That made my day because I sort of hate drying off my bike. There, I've said it. I've been holding that in for a while and it's nice to have it out in the open.


  1. I hate drying off my bike, too.

    I will say that people go to self checkout because the lines for the regular checkout are too long. Also, at one of my local CVS stores, there is an employee whose main job seems to be telling people waiting in line that they can use the self checkout.

    I sympathize with the lady in your story -- at my local Giant, the signing pad for the credit card is not in the same place as the pad where you enter your information. It's really stupid design, IMO. I needed help from the next guy in line to find it the first time I used it.

    Anyway, I think it's evil that these stores are forcing the customers to do more and more of the work ourselves. Is it keeping costs down for us?

    You are probably too young to remember the days when gas stations were "service stations" and customers weren't allowed to pump their own gas, and the guy who did pump your gas also washed your windshield. We are getting down near the bottom of the slippery slope. [What next? DIY Pap smears?]

  2. If some reputable medical supply company would market DIY Pap Smears, I would be all for it.

  3. Touche! (I don't know how to do an e with an accent on this computer.) I'd prefer to do my own Pap smear, too.

  4. This is the very best Pap smear blog on the interwebs!