Ride In 5/17

Have you voted yet (or again) for Tales From the Sharrows as the best bike commuter blog in this contest? You can vote once daily, so I encourage you to keep voting every day from every computer you own, especially if you own many, many computers. We've made tremendous progress so far in that Tales is now a listed choice (at least on my computer)!
Duh. Winning.
As we all know, internet popularity is the truest measure of quality. That's why Hungary almost had a Stephen Colbert bridge. I thank you in advance for your continued support and dubious ability to separate quality blogs from tripe.
Some cyclists are so dedicated to never stopping (and unclipping) that they'll ride in small circles in the crosswalk in front of stopped cars. They look like idiots. What's so hard about putting your foot down and just waiting like a normal person? Riding a bike in a small circle is something that monkeys do in the circus.
Some math: Mercedes + Texas license plate = aggressive driver. Surprise < 0.
I rode Wilson and Clarendon today on account of this tweet from Bike Arlington. I had recently bitched blogged about the road markings and I was curious to see what changes had been made. My suggestion hadn't been taken into account (not a big deal) and there's still a fully striped lane in front of the parking garage entrance/exit rather than dashes and there's no sideways bicycle men to alert exiting drivers. Moreover, the lane wasn't turned into a sharroad (new term for road with sharrows? Or can words only be portmanteau-ed so many times before they become meaningless?), but kept laney from Courhouse to 16th Street, which is the same as it's been. From 16th Street to Rhodes, the bike lane continued, whereas it had previously disappeared. Did it feel less dangerous? Meh. I'd still be worried about cars crossing the bike lane in order to turn right onto Rhodes. So be careful. Also be careful because there's construction on Clarendon and the giant sign indicating as much manages to block the entirety of the bike lane.
The primary "drama" of this ride came on the Georgetown side of the Key Bridge, where I rode up my usual wrong way sidewalk on cobbled  35th street. Between the wet red bricks and the wet tree droppings (I don't know what they are- they're not leaves, but they're compact, ball-like bits that fall from the overhanging tress every time it rains), it was a thoroughly slippery and unsafe-seeming ride. I tried to stay balanced by keeping my weight directly over the bike and by pedaling as evenly as possible and I managed to stay upright (success!) while minimal feelings of impending doom. I attribute this to good luck more than any particular skill on my part and I think in the future I'm not going to take this kind of needless challenge.
Immediately after my pointless victory (and yes, I am describing not falling over as a victory), I tried to shift back to my large front chain ring. Nothing. I tried again. It still didn't work. I thought that this was curious because typically my bikes works as expected. I have bar-end shifters, so each time I shift, I feel like I'm pulling down a giant lever in an old submarine. Please keep in mind that I'm wildly unfamiliar with the technological trappings of old submarines and I'm only assuming that large levers are required to blow the ballasts.
My first thought was that I should do something, like stop and see what's wrong. I soon realized, though, that my further examination of the problem could only lead to disaster. I essentially have negative mechanical aptitude and I try not to touch my bike with a tool unless it's totally necessary and the brakes worked fine, so as far as bike function goes, I felt like I was doing ok. I was riding along fine on the small front ring and why would I want to muck that up? I could deal with the problem when I get to work or at least not deal with it somewhere inside rather than on the side of the road. Nonetheless, I was curious about what could be wrong, so I spent a good amount of time looking down at the derailer. Didn't seem broken, so that was good. It was after about 5 minutes of looking down at the derailer when I thought the problem might actually be with the cable (what connects the shifter to the derailer. No, I'm not proud that it took me 5 minutes to figure this out). The cable was dangling rather loosely and this slack was the reason I couldn't shift. Thanks, Tool Academy!
When I got to work, I flipped the bike upside-down for some reason. Yup, that's the underside of a bike. Then I startled fiddling with the cables. I don't exactly know what happened, but the cable tautened and I pedaled the wheels forward using my hands and when I shifted, everything seems to work again. Apparently, I fixed it. We'll see what happens during the ride home, but I pass at least four bike shops, so my situation isn't especially dire.

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