Ride Home 7/26

Bikes everywhere! I don't know if it was solely a factor of the weather (almost autumnal) or that I left work later (maybe Washingtonians don't call it a day as early as I normally do- circa 2:15 [just kidding anyone who reads this who happens to either be my boss or pay tuition to mu university]), but I could hardly keep up with all of the bikespotting. They came in all sorts: superbikers, regular commuters, irregular commuters, kids on bikes, Meshies (my new name for guys on hybrids who wear mesh shorts), old guys, sporty cougars, khaki office guys, and so much more. I imagine that as "bike culture" (whatever that is) solidifies in a place, there's less deviation from the mean and pretty much all bicyclists start looking the same. I imagine that in Amsterdam everyone rides omafiets and wears wooden shoes and in Copenhagen everyone rides omafiets and carries around a copy of the Edinburgh Agreement. The (relative) novelty of bike riding in DC makes for such wild deviation in bikes and fashion and approach to riding that there, for practical purposes, is no "normal" for the DC bicyclist. It'll be curious to see if/how, over the coming years, the norms are established (especially vis-a-vis helmets and vis-a-vis bikeshare) bicycling "culture" (whatever that means) is built in Washington.
So, the debt ceiling! It's such a thing that people here seem to be worried about for some reason. The ay I see it, it has to be good for bicycling (I am myopic):
If the debt ceiling is raised:
We avoid financial collapse forestall the end of civilization and that's good because a Mad Max-situation will not be conducive the bicycles. There are no bike lanes in the THUNDERDOME.
If the debt ceiling isn't raised:
The full faith and credit of the United States will be irrepably damaged and we won't be able to afford gas, much less cars, and everyone will switch to riding bicycles all of the time. Of course, we'll have nowhere to ride our bikes since our economy will be in tatters, but there will be one bright side: Hobo Cycle Chic. I'm totally prepared for this: I have so many braze-ons, my bike has a bindle holder.
(Yes, I'm fully aware that these two scenarios are totally contradictory. If you want logic, read this instead)
I hate when you're riding in front of someone and then a car pulls out of a parking spot and you stop and then the person who's riding behind you is all opportunistic and rides past you instead of waiting for you to resume. It seems impolite. I don't know.
I'm pretty sure a pedestrian shouted "watch out" to another pedestrian (who could clearly see me, though she had headphones on) as I approached. I'm not sure if this is extra-caution or bike-paranoia. Either way, it's superfluous yelling and if there's anything we need less of, it's that.
The Key Marriott's parking lot isn't the ideal bike cut-through, but it's better than riding on the sidewalks. Sure, you have to dodge a stray tour bus or reversing-for-no-apparent-reason tourist or an angry bellhop (never actually encountered an angry bellhop. I have seen some bemused line cooks), but I'd rather to that than make a blind-ish right at the trail intersection where normally there's a stacked-up group of bicyclists and a gaggle of perma-nnoying eighth graders.
Rode behind a spandexed fellow who was "sponsored" by M & M Dental (?) and some such other organizations with .de websites. I don't know where he was heading, but he was heading there rather slowly. If you're going to the whole spandex thing, I really expect you to bike at least sort of, who do we say, kind of fast. This is why I've always been a big proponent of lycra licenses, which are given out after a written and road test administered by local bicycle shops. Just think of the cachet. (And maybe you  can wear lycra if you've got a permit and you're on a tandem with someone who has a license.)
Speaking of lycra, the panoply of road-riding types were assembling from near and far at the back of Conte's to embark on their weekly ride. So many of them. I ride in the D Group, where D stands for dinner because I like to go home after work and eat and I'm fairly content with my weekday commute as my primary bicycle excursion. I wish you godspeed!
My helmet isn't fitting correctly and I plan to another comedy of errors tomorrow morning when I go to adjust the straps. I have a smallish (non-thundrous) dome and I've never quite been able to make the helmet fit in a way that's comfortable and yet attached-feeling. I suppose the only solution is taking copious quantities of HGH and relying on the "Bond's Boost" to ensure a smugger slugger snugger fit. I know that bike shops do bike fittings, but does anyone do a helmet fitting? And can I muster the self-effacing admission of ineptitude that need presage a trip to a store in order to ask a professional to pull on some straps in the manner that a parent might help a small child? Well, I didn't have a problem blogging about it, so probably.


  1. What about guys who ride the small bmx looking MTBs wearing jean shorts (is "jorts" now the accepted nomenclature?) and possibly a professional sports team jersey of some sort, and their seat so low their knees stick out to about shoulder width? They don't really fit with the meshies, but they are so prevalent I think shouldn't just be categorized as "other."

  2. Yes, it's impolite. Because, you know, we just love to stop and wait for absolutely no reason, so why not go around us, right?

  3. Yeah, I don't have a good name for the jeans shorts guys. I guess we could just call them "Jorts" a la meshies, but I don't think that quite does the trick. I feel for anyone riding a super-small BMX as their commuter. It can't be good for you long term. I wonder what would happen, though, in terms of impression of bicyclists, if all the cheap boxstore bikes looked more like Linuses.

  4. I treat the "going around" as some sort of challenge. Like I've been sized up and the other guy determined that he's going to be riding way faster, so why not get in front now rather than blowing past me later. And sometimes it is the case that the guy is going to be riding way faster, but I'd rather have that revealed on the road, in the flow of traffic, where there's more space and less social awkwardness.