6/14/11

Ride Home 6/14

I have a summer routine for leaving work that involves sunscreen and sunglasses and little questioning as to whether both or either of those will be necessary (I also have a winter routine that involves cutting open a tauntaun, but that's a different story). I didn't know that rain might be (literally) on the horizon and upon riding out of the garage, I found my sunglasses to be abundantly unnecessary and needlessly gloom-inducing. I can see gloom just fine and hardly need optical enhancements, so I pulled them off and threw them in my back pocket. I like the back pocket of a standard bicycle jersey for precisely this kind of thing (which has happened exactly once), but more to use to carry my phone and keys rather than having to stow them in my bag. Much can be said about the merits and demerits of bicycle specific clothing, but I figure if I'm going to change for work, I might as well wear a shirt that has a pocket in which I can keep the things I prefer to have on my person. Somewhere (Denmark?) a Dane is reading this and crying.
I realized that bicyclists and drivers pretty much approach stop signs same the same way. We both pump on the brakes before the sign to slow down to a crawl, crawl up to the sign (and past it), look both ways and then start towards full speed again. I think that I previously wrote that I'd never write about stop signs again, so I'm sorry.
Tips for beating the rain: hope it doesn't rain before you get where you're going. You can go fast, but if Zeus wants it to rain, it's gonna rain. No use stressing over it. Its just rain.
I was the fourth cyclist in a line of cyclist crossing the Key Bridge. That was sort of cool. No one in front of me had a bell though (or opted to find) and I elected to follow suit and not to ding either (since we were sort of spread out, there was no obvious ding envelope), so that's the deleterious effect of peer pressure for you.
Coincidentally timed my trip home to coincide with my wife's stepping out of her office on Wilson to wait for the bus home. That was nice. I heartily encourage all of you to arrange your routes home/place of spouse's employment so that you can see a loved one about halfway through your ride home. Ideally this won't involve you having to take a many mile detour or forcing your spouse to work at a place that involves a considerable skills mismatch. Also, you should rearrange your route home so that you pass a delicious burger joint and the associated wafting smells of grilled meat.
Behind another biker from roughly the Whole Foods through the intersection of Fairfax and 10th. At a stop light, he turned around and asked me if I wanted to go in front because I looked "like I wanted to go faster." I said that I didn't want to, until I changed my mind and then wanted to, but I waited until there was an appropriate amount of space for a non-aggressive-seeming pass. I think this kind of nicety is worthwhile.
Sometimes bicyclists are viewed as Zabka-esque jerks, immoral alpha-male fitness yahoos, and sometimes I contribute to this view by doing things that I later regret, such as sitting up on my saddle, holding my left hand out to the side in a frustrated WTF semi-shrug and saying "come on" as I cycled past some inconveniently jaywalking pedestrians, one of whom was wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt that was far too tight around his midsection. Was I in the right? Sure. Did they completely misunderestimate my speed and make a poor, lawbreaking decision to cross the path of oncoming traffic when there really wasn't ample room or time to do so? Yes. But am I doing anyone a favor by being a selfish jerk? Probably not. Is this inconsistent with anyone else's selfish jerky behavior? Not really. But it conforms to the pre-existing belief that people on bikes are assholes and it's stupid of me not to exhibit a bit more self-control and patience. I don't think that cyclists need to be better or more moral or more law-abiding than everyone else- I just think that, as a personal maxim, I should try not to be a jerk to people, even when I'm "in the right" because ultimately that doesn't do anything except lead me to write long, semi-apologetic, preening blog posts that serve neither to inform or entertain. And what fun is that?
I beat the rain, so, all things considered, I'm pretty happy.

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