Ride Home 6/15

For whatever reason, I decided that I would ride down Wisconsin today rather than my usual New Mexico/Tunlaw route. This decision happened to coincide with a coworker's decision to bike the same way and we biked along Nebraska together for a bit. It was an odd sort of ride, where we weren't exactly riding together, but also tried to carry on a half-shouted conversation about nothing in particular. I learned that she was planning to drop her bike off somewhere near the intersection of Connecticut and Nebraska because she was going to the baseball game and also that she doesn't like biking on Nebraska because it's too narrow, which is true in so far as there's no space dedicated exclusively for bicycles. The road itself is plenty wide, just much of it is dedicated to moving cars. It was the kind of awkward conversation that you can only have with a coworker that you see everyday, but with whom you have nothing more than the most superficial of relationships. Having it on bicycles made no real difference, though that's hardly the bicycle's fault. Social ineptitude is the same regardless of your means of travel. I imagine it would be worse on a Segway.
I took Van Ness to Wisconsin and then the fun began. Wisconsin is a street that have a seemingly endless supply of manhole covers, all of which are approximately three to four inches below the surface of the roadway. It wasn't so much bumpy as it was craggy and the ride was rough to the point of uncomfortable because you can't exactly weave when you're boxed in by cars, buses and delivery vans in various states of pulling in or out. I'm glad I didn't break my bike or my wrist or both.
The National Cathedral is quite picturesque. The 31 bus less so. Though the driver (of the bus, not the cathedral) waved me around on the left side when I wedged myself between the bus and some stopped cars. I thought it was nice that he noticed the predicament I put myself in and graciously let me in front.
Sometimes assholes drive BMWs and sometimes those assholes need to drive really fast and aggressively and pass bicyclists as if we were on a racetrack and not on a street with (maybe) 35 mph speed limit. Then we stopped at the light on Wisconsin and 34th and I rode up behind him and stopped really really close to his rear bumper and stood there. This proved nothing. When the light changed he cut off the driver next to him and I turned down 34th. Good times.
34th was a mess. When cars get backed up, bikes have to slow down, too. That's because half-completed turns (I know that you're just trying to alternate and assert your place, but if there's no room, there's no room) manage to block where I would normally ride, so I rode on the lefthand side of the cars. If you ever want to know why a bicyclist is doing something, the answer is probably because he's reacting to something a driver has done. Bicycling is very reactive. Turns out a utility truck was blocking the left lane on 34th at M.
How many cameras and phones have been dropped from the Key Bridge as a result of attempts to photograph kayakers and crew teams?
I took the Custis, initially riding behind an older guy in lycra and then behind a woman wearing what I think was a free shirt given to Deloitte employees who assisted taxpayers at a VITA site. Free t-shirts make for really good bikewear. Free tax preparation makes for useful community service. Using your tax refund to buy a bicycle? That'd be a good idea and would close the loop to some otherwise totally random observations about shirts and taxes.
I rode the Custis to Lee Highway (turning off the trail the way I would to get to Veitch), skirted around another bus and at the bottom of the hill, got lucky that there was no oncoming traffic and made a left on Kirkwood back to Washington and then up Fairfax, in the exact reverse of how I rode in. I think this is the first time I've taken Kirkwood in the morning and evening. I can confirm that Kirkwood does in fact slope since I rode the uphill slope on the way home. Joggers in the bike lane. Gotta jog somewhere, I guess, and there isn't a sidewalk on both sides of the street. Joggers should be fierce advocates for better pedestrian infrastructure. Is that a polite way for me to say that they should get the hell out of the bike lane? Sure.

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