Ride In 6/8

In what I hope will be a continuing series, this morning on Washcycle, "Dr Bikelock" responded to questions and answers concerning bicycles and bicyclists that appear in Dr. Gridlock chats. I think that this is a pretty great idea and I'm glad that someone who's attained doctoral status (which eluded me) is seeking to weigh in with a bicyclist's perspective. I don't read Dr. Gridlock and I don't participate in his chats because I'm easily fatigued by the fake hand-wringing over the behavior of bicyclists. If as much time and angst was spent on complaining about bad drivers (speeding, running red lights, using cell phones, not yielding to pedestrians, whatever) or if I believed that this kind of complaining affected any real change, then perhaps it'd be worth my very precious (?) time. I'm just sort of sick of the whole "follow the law" line of argumentation. First of all, physician heal thyself. If most people when they drive (myself included) held ourselves to the same rigorous standard of behavior that we do others, then perhaps we'd get better outcomes vis-a-vis road safety. But lawbreaking is habituated for all modes of travel and that isn't going to change without a different enforcement regime. I guarantee that if you tabulated the illegal behavior of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, you'll find that no one group is more virtuous than the other. Drivers speed, cyclists roll through stop signs, pedestrians jaywalk. C'est la vie. I guess that's what this video is about.
The other reason (that is, aside from the rank hypocrisy) I'm tired of the "follow the law" line of argumentation is because the laws aren't designed for equitable outcomes for all users. There was no veil of ignorance when traffic laws were written or when public space was redesigned to accommodate the car above everything else. If you didn't know ahead of time whether you'd be a driver or a non-driver, would you support a road design regime in which a jumbo jet's worth of pedestrians are killed each month, in which there are minimum parking requirements that lead to inefficient land use, in which public space is transferred at a below-market rate for the storage of personal property (i.e. cars), and where tax money is transferred from non-drivers to drivers to fund highway construction? Traffic laws, and more importantly the attitude about what kinds of trangressions are ok and what kind are anathema, are shaped by the same autonormativism.
If people truly care about the safety of bicyclists (which is frequently cited in the "I wish they just stopped at stop signs" hand-wringing), then support separated bike facilities which have actually been proven to reduce injury to all users and stop resorting to the misguided belief that somehow just by "if someone else just followed the law" everything will be better. I'm skeptical that there's a direct correlation between maximum everyone-following-the-laws-as-written and maximum overall user safety. But, then again, since we're nowhere close to maximum everyone-following-the-laws-as-written, I'm probably wrong.
Sorry for the screed. Is there something like the opposite of Godwin's Law whereby a self-righteous blogger resorts to a Jesus-like appeal to a higher law in order to advance his own petty-self interest? I think that this should be the opposite pole (and equally disqualifying) for internet arguments.
It was hot and gross and the air quality was terrible this morning. I don't have much advice about 'beating the heat' while riding a bicycle other than to say that you're never going to beat the heat while riding a bicycle. Sure, you'll get wind in your face and that'll feel nice, but you'll still get sweaty and gross and if you don't want that to happen you probably shouldn't ride in weather like this. Bicycling is great, but you're exposed to the elements and there's no way around that. That might explain why I saw so few people riding today.
Where the Custis Trail meets the Lee Highway sidepath, who is supposed to yield to whom? I was coming straight down the sidepath, but I was technically merging onto the trail, which bends at that point before going over the bridge over 66. Thoughts?
Texting with CaBi-ing is maybe not the best idea.Maybe she was checking Spotcycle to see if a station was open? I prefer to trust dumb luck and the fates, but I haven't been dockblocked as much as others.
I'm thinking about ditching the lock-holder and adding a second water bottle cage. This seems like a prudent decision for summer, more for longer weekend rides than commuting, but still. Then, I can take two different kinds of drink and that would make me cool or something.  Or I could take double the water. The possibilities are endless or maybe just slightly less limited.


  1. So true about "beating the heat". When my commute starts with 70 degrees this morning, I know it's going to be a brutal ride home!

  2. It's best not to sugarcoat it: hot is hot. I normally get a good sense of how bad it's going to be when I take the dog out for the first time. If it feels hot then, I know I'm going to be in for a bad one.