Ride Home 7/12

I find that I feel the most secure riding at speed downhill when I ride in the middle of the travel lane. I also think it's the best position as far as your visibility is concerned- it's much easier to be "missed" by a driver waiting to turn when you're riding only a few feet off of the (occupied) parking lane. It probably also helps that I'm going fast enough to feel like I'm not unduly blocking car traffic and furthermore, that there isn't very much car traffic when I tend to do this. But, when it comes to safety, you don't want to let culturally ingrained notions about auto superiority cow you into riding against your own self-interest.
As much as I'm loath to admit it, the presence of the ACPD on the Custis trail might be having somewhat of an effect on my riding. I'm stopping at more stop signs and I'm jumping fewer lights. I can't say for sure whether it's causation or correlation (it's also been very hot and maybe I'm just tired and wanting to go slower), but I've noticed something of a trend towards being more law-abiding. Of course, I'm still causing immense traffic through my very presence (statistics pending).
Now that Mary Cheh's running the transpo committee, Ward 3 is getting more bike lanes? Right? She's probably meeting with Terry Bellamy about it right now. (Actually, WABA says she's ok, though the speed of the embrace was pretty funny)
I thought that Salon stopped paying their rent and got kicked out of the M street office, but it turns out that I just took a picture of the wrong door.
Wrong nondescript door.
I tried to help someone by enfolding him in my ding envelope ("Let me enfold you in my ding envelope" is the worst pick-up line ever), but I was just ringing my bell over his saying "on your left." Sorry.
If you get hit by a Domino's delivery guy, will he bring you to the hospital in under 30 minutes? Might want to get an answer before cavalierly riding past the Domino's on Wilson. That driveway is bad and the line of sight is almost always blocked by a truck or other, so please be careful.
My super-human climbing abilities allowed me to sneak up on an aspiring-superbiker at the top of the Court House hill.(who was rocking the quad-water bottle look, with two in frame-mounted cages and two sticking out of a seat-mounted holder. The back two looked like rear-facing turrets on a battleship, straight out of Jutland). He pulled over towards the side of the road to fiddle with his iPod (hat persze) and there was a car coming up behind so I couldn't use the world's most useless sharrows, so I passed him a little too closely and he made some sort of exclamatory "wha!?" followed quickly by an "I'm sorry," which was unneeded because his transgression, not moving close enough to the curb on the off chance that another bicyclist might pass, was relatively minor. I rose past and then he caught up with me at the light at Veitch, preceding the place his bike in front of mine as we both waited for the light to turn. And then I rode behind him, wondering what superllantas meant because he had that written on his jersey. At one point we rode past a guy, who at a stop light down the road would ask me if "it was hot enough?" It was hot enough.
I'm probably forgetting some other things that happened, but I'm gonna wrap this up in the name of getting pizza, which is the best reason to pretty much do anything.
I take that back. I saw a black BMW make a lady in the crosswalk jump back as he completed his left turn in front of her. I wanted to say "Don't worry, he'll get you next time" but I thought better of it because the lady didn't look amused and black humor doesn't always play well.


  1. I love your first paragraph (after "Hot", i.e.). This is true bike-riding wisdom, which people generally only learn after either taking a course or simply riding a lot. It takes a lot to overcome the years of THEM telling you you have to ride as far right as possible, "for your safety," of course. THEY don't know nuthin about biking.
    The rest of your post, well....

    Also enjoyable!

  2. I sometimes think I fall into this "wannabe super biker" category of which you speak...I wear bike shorts and the occasional, albeit generic looking, jersey. I also wear gloves. But I don't even ride a true road bike (mine's a road-ish flat bar, but a road bike is coming next season), I commute with a backpack (24 miles each way, hence the Lycra), and I have a bell and full lighting...what am I?!?

    And I must be leaving early enough to miss ACPD on the Custis (which is my least favorite part of the day, btw)...I usually roll through there around 6am, so maybe that explains it. I still stop at the light though...go figure.

    Have you ever wrecked in the middle of the road whilst commuting? I did that yesterday. Signaled a left turn like a good cyclist, and the absence of one hand on the bars caused me to overcompensate on the brakes (ithe turn was at the bottom of a big dip) with my right hand, locking up my rear wheel on the road paint, and bringing me down hard. That ish is like ice and in some places it covers a good portion of the road surface. So lame.

  3. @++==++: thanks! I initially read your comment on my phone and didn't see anything ater the elipses after the well and thought, wow, zing. But thanks for the "also enjoyable." The blog gives me a lot of time to think about biking and dos and don'ts and I'm glad that sharing some of the things I've thought of resonates, though I really don't recommend substituting my judgment for your own. I'm of the "do what feel right for you" school in general, but I learned a lot from people giving their opinions via bike blogs (lame) and I thought I might try to help in the same way.

  4. @MM- I don't think you're a superbiker, wannabe or otherwise. If you carry something while riding a bike, you're a commuter. And no superbiker would ever, ever have a bell. That would totally mess up the aerodynamics and whatnot. Though, a superbiker might use the word "whilst."
    If you're going 24 miles, you definitely need the bike attire. I wear it and I'm only going 6 or 7. The way I see it is that if I'm going to have to change for work anyway, why not wear clothes that are comfortable for biking and bike-specific clothes are pretty comfortable for biking.
    Cops haven't been out until the 8 o'clock hour. At 6, just go ahead of ride as law-breakingly as you want. But be safe.
    And yeah, I've wiped out, and perhaps more embarrassingly than that. When I first got my clip-in shoes, I fell multiple times while going about 0 mph. I once toppled over at a stop sign and some guy on the sidewalk was all like "that was funny" and I said "I aim the please." I should have said "eat shit," but live and learn. I also went down hard on grates once for my first trip to the emergency room (6 stitches on my chin). Falling is just par for the course, I guess. And I almost fall a lot more than I'm proud to admit- saved more by luck than skill.