Ride In 5/11

I need to start writing these posts earlier in the day. I barely even remember what happened on my ride, in part because it was hours ago and in part because I was in kind of a dour mood. Partly (with all these parts, this is getting to sound like a recipe) because of a tweet, which I'll admit is highly lame. But I have thin skin and I am highly lame and while it wasn't even directed at me personally, it was aimed at my people (I'm the Moses of bike commuters) and it just rubbed me the wrong way. The tweet was from someone I never met and it said this:
When you blow through a red light with a line of cars stopped you lose credibility. Stop being idiots
I don't get it. Not the sentiment or the idea, but just the notion of losing credibility. Do any other road users worry (or are made to feel like they should worry) about losing credibility? When a car speeds on the highway, are we all like "that's it. cars have lost their credibility. I do not believe in them. They are useless. I like staccato sentences. Full stop." Ugh. For what it's worth, I don't disagree with the "stop being idiots" part. I think people should stop being idiots and it sounds to me like this bicyclist was probably being an idiot. I just don't get what that has to do with "credibility." For some reason, when it comes to bicycling, there's a moral element involved that isn't evoked with other road users. We don't say "no more highway funding until everyone stops speeding" (like we do with bike lanes and stopping at stop signs) and we think jaywalking should be a capital offense, but there's something about this particular modeshare that brings out super-legalism and hyper-proscriptivism. It's just people trying to get somewhere, just like everyone else.
Brooding over this distracted me until about the the intersection of Key and Veitch when I started to follow another common DC bike commuter, type "roadie light." He wasn't not a superbiker, in that he was wearing a cotton tee and mesh shorts, but he had the expensive road bike (23s, Keo pedals, some kind of very narrow fizik saddle, no rack, no fenders, wearing a backpack), fancy ($$) bike shoes and was young, white, male and was interested in going fast (but mostly on the downhills). I don't know if he's someone who rides a lot on the weekends or if he's been tragically oversold by a local bike shop, but I think that this type is the second most common (not counting CaBi users) DC bike commuter type behind "dude on hybrid." Someday I will complete my taxonomic classification of all DC bike commuters and turn it into a coffee table book.
It's finals season at Georgetown (the university, not the cupcakery) and that means a surfeit of (zombie) joggers. The end of the semester at Georgetown is synonymous with jogging. I even had a roommate that was sporty in that he liked watching football who frequently used finals to pick up jogging. This kind of jogging is the equivalent to social smoking. "Oh, I don't jog, but I mean, since it's study break, sure, I'll just do like a quick few miles. Don't tell my mom!" I guess it's for stress relief. Not mine though.
I like riding my bike uphill. (Not as much as this guy) At least I've convinced myself of this because otherwise all I'd blog about is "downhill parts good, uphill parts bad" every single day for each and every post which, when I think about it, might actually be an improvement. I don't think it's a coincidence that cities with the most developed bike culture (Copenhagen, Amsterdam) are cities that I believe to be pretty flat. Has anyone studied this?

1 comment:

  1. I go through red lights often. I don't "blow through" them though. If I am at an intersection I know is low volume for traffic (as a car driver who drives the same roads I bike, it is easy to gauge) I will look before doing so. There are some red lights I never go through though even if I don't see any immediate traffic. Mostly because I know people drive crazy around them or if I am starting for a stop someone could come along and I would be where I shouldn't be when they do.

    I guess that makes me partially credible.