Ride In 7/13

I did forget something yesterday. It was that I saw a forest green Chevy Tahoe with the license plate CAPTLZM and a window decal that read Danneskjold Repossession (you can buy your own Atlas Shrugged-themed gifts  through johngaltgifts.com, no joke). I love it when people proudly display their political and ideological affiliations, especially on a means of travel that requires significant government outlays based on the collection of revenue through property and fuel taxes. Anyway, if you get the chance, please go see the Atlas Shrugged, part I movie. The Official Wife and I did at Arlington Cinema Draft House and had a wonderful time, perhaps aided by the pitcher of beer and mozzarella sticks. This morning, I saw a bumper sticker that said POOP with the Obama Hope O used as the middle two vowels. I like it because it's sophisticated. But then again, I'm a member of the Arlington Tee Party. We advocate limited government, except in protecting golf courses, which are symbols of freedom and rugged individualism. The amount of ruggedness depends on how bad a golfer you are.
I would appreciate a flashing yellow bike signal at the intersection of Fairfax and Jackson that allows cyclists to cross while the car traffic on Fairfax and 10th is stopped. This would allow me (or anyone else on a bike) to cross Jackson while the cars on Kirkwood have the green and then further allow me to cross 10th while in the crosswalk, which has the walk signal when westbound Fairfax has the green. Of course, I didn't think a flashing yellow bike light is AASHTO approved and probably for good reason.
You don't have to bike very fast to keep pace with car traffic on Clarendon. That's more just an FYI for drivers than anything else. What I'm trying to say is that if you're trying to get down Clarendon in the morning, you're not going very quickly.
I like to ride about 6 inches inside of the outside stripe of bike lanes. I think this gives me enough clearance in case someone opens a door or steps out from in front of a parked car. It also makes it easy to get out of the bike lane and into the travel lane to avoid pot holes or manholes or debris (amazing the number of banana peels in bike lanes) or a stopped bus. Just a personal preference.
I thought that today was finally going to be the day that I would get pulled over by a waiting police officer (I'm way paranoid). I made my left onto Lynn from more or less than center lane. This made sense to me since there was a long line of cars waiting in the left turn lane and because a nice, wide turn from the center lane would put me in the Lynn street bike lane, which is on the far right side of the street. And then I saw the cop. And he had a funny, distracted look on his face. I guess pulling over semi-scofflaw cyclists wasn't in his purview. There's a cop standing in the bike lane on Lynn all the time. I wonder why.
Speaking of police, apparently there were none on the Custis today. It was probably a return to the wild west.
Is there a word for tailgating when someone rides too close behind you? Fender-rubbing? Spoke-grinding? Something that doesn't sound lewd? Guy was way to close to me coming off the bridge and had to grab his brakes hard as I slowed to politely pass two old ladies in sweatsuits. He continued to ride too closely as we approached the stopped Circulator and it was only after we skirted around it that I was could get away from him. It's just not polite.
Up Wisconsin. Because I'm a dope. It's too hot for non-shaded hills.
Is the cumulative dry cleaning bill for Georgetown residents more than the GDP of a mid-size African nation? Can someone look this up?
I hate yo-yo-ing with buses, but sometimes that's the hand your dealt if you don't want to suck exhaust. If you do want to suck exhaust, well, that's weird and you should probably seek help from both a therapist and a pulmonologist.
The best part of the ride up Wisconsin is the stretch between Q (by The Dog Shop, Ellie the Poodle's erstwhile groomer) and R street, where there's only one traffic lane and ample room to ride your bike. After you cross R, it's the Social Safeway danger zone, and then the Holy Rood/British School semi-danger area, followed by the commercial Glover Park danger zone, followed by parked cars until the Cathedral semi-danger zone. These aren't the official names.If I had to provide some sort of parameters for declaring an area a "danger zone," I'd say it's the combination of fast car traffic, few stop lights, lots of curb cuts and no bike facilities. Based on that description, sounds like there are a lot of danger zones. There are.


  1. If you don't mind someone riding right behind you, it's called "drafting." If you DO mind it's called "wheel sucking."

    It's dangerous as well as rude to latch onto someone's wheel without asking, or at least making your presence known (um, but I do it occasionally for short stretches on the Crescent Trail if I can't get past someone easily because of traffic, or if some guy passes me and then immediately slows down). Anyway, the person in the back is the one who's going to go down if their wheel touches the draftee's wheel, so there is some justice in the world.

  2. It's a justice that I'd rather avoid, if possible. I just really dislike that feeling of knowing that someone is right behind me. One of the best parts about cycling (for me) is the solitariness and I'd rather not have that interrupted.

  3. If you want to get rid of someone, sometimes it's worth it just to start going really slowly so they'll go ahead of you.

    I sometimes don't mind someone drafting, in which case I try to signal when I'm going to slow down or change lanes or whatever.

  4. I have the problem solved... I just don't ride very fast. No one wants to draft a fat-tired bike with fenders and baskets, anyhow.