I spent much of the early part of my ride anxiously fretting that either my back wheel would fall out or my back tire would explode. This is the level of confidence I have in my own repairs. There are only so many ways to brace yourself for the idea that your bike will break and after maybe a mile or two, I gave up on it. I guess I didn't do too terribly negligent of a job. Small victory.
At the intersection of Veitch and Lee Highway, a man lined up next to me and when the light turned green, I proceeded to bike across the intersection to get into the sidewalk that leads to the trail, whereas he opted to salmon down the roadway and pick up the sidewalk at the next intersection. This wouldn't have bothered me so much except for that fact that he wearing wearing a tank top and I'm radically pro-sleeve. Did he think that my sleeved attire would necessitate slow travel whereas his bare upper arms mandated his much more rapid movement down the trail? We were never stopped again, so I didn't have an opportunity to ask.
Ever start walking to work and just have to rip your shirt off because it's too hot? Or something? Cause I think you might be that guy I passed by Nash Street. He was two slipped-off sneakers away from not being able to enter a convenience store.
Is there some sort of law of physics/sociology that explains why some groups of people have the tendencies of gases in that they spread out the fill the maximum amount of space possible? Do other animals do this or is this specifically a human trait? Is there a scientific discipline called experimental comparative zoology whereby I can rent some pack animals from a local zoo or game farm and see what happens when I unleash them on the Key Bridge sidewalk? Would a sheep look back with the same level of confused resentment as the outermost teen girl did this morning when I rang my bell to pass? (Yes, I know I complain about this a lot.)
Sometimes on my commute, actual fun stuff happens. Today, for example, I was challenged to a race and it was kind of awesome. Not like a fake Cat 6 where me and some other guy are just going along and seeing how fast we can go, but a straight-up actually verbalized challenge. On 36th between S and T, a guy who must have been no older than 20 rode his bike out from the alleyway. He wag long and lanky, with a mop of dreadlocks, sagging baggy jeans and a loose white undershirt. And headphones. I passed him and turned left down T heading to 37th and he must have followed. On 37th around Whitehaven, I notice that he's following me pretty closely and then he pulls up alongside of me and says "Let's do this! Let's do this!" You gotta love a guy who's his own hype man. Now, some bike commuters are just whiny prigs and to prove that wasn't me, I looked over and was like "You wanna do this?" and then he nods and goes for it. We ride side-by-side for the first 10 yards or so until I decided to make use of the considerable mechanical advantage of my bike, drop the bar end shifter two clicks, push down a little harder on the pedals and put myself in front by about ten lengths. I'm beating him to the stop sign and I decide to slow down and look back to see if I was going to need to put in another kick to get up Tunlaw or if our race was over. I guess it was over because he went off in another direction, saying something garbled to me, to which I responded "All right, man" in a manner I hope was both jocular and respectful. Did I utterly exhaust myself in trying to beat a kid riding a crappy box store bike up a gentle slope? Yeah, I did. Could I have stayed in front of him if the race was any longer? Not entirely sure. Are there youth on bikes challenging strangers to races through the tonier and slopier parts of DC? Well, at least one.
Since the rest of my ride couldn't possibly match the excitement of my impromptu battle, I sort of tuned out. I did notice, however, that the driver of Mercedes SUV who cut me off and ran two stop signs also illegally parked in front of the Strabucks. Gotta admire the consistency.