Ride In 7/25

Another week of expected high temperatures has me thinking some more about coping with the heat. I've seen some good posts with tips on route planning and clothing, but one thing that I haven't seen covered yet is the idea that a well-maintained bike (with air in the tires and a lubed chain) provides greater mechanical benefit than a poorly maintained one. Maybe it's just a given that people should try to keep their bikes in good working shape no matter the weather, but I nonetheless posit that you should pay even more attention to how well your bike is running when the conditions are worse than normal. You don't want to make things harder on yourself in this heat by riding on flat tires.
Is it better to salmon in a bike lane for 50 feet or to complete a looping counterclockwise button hook turn for 270 degrees against approximately two red lights? These questions keep me up at night. Ok, not really. Though the other night I had a dream about switching my shifters to friction. I think my sub-conscience is trying to tell me something: that I'm lame.
I stopped at the Custis bike light and there wasn't even a police officer there. It must be that I'm the most law-abiding road user ever. It was either that or my not wanting to ride into the car driving through the intersection. Can't exactly say which.
I like to wave to acknowledge a driver who does the right thing in yielding to me instead of completing their turn. It's more just putting a hand up than an actual wave and while I'm not compelled to do this, I think that it's a nicety that requires very little effort on my part. Of course, I won't wave if a driver makes any sort of "after you" gesture because it's really not his place to adopt such a magnanimous stance. If the light tells me I can go, let's not pretend like you're the one doing me some kind of big favor by doing the barest minimum of paying attention to the rights of way. Is this an internally incoherent way of looking at hand movements? Probably.
I'm fairly certain, though I didn't do an exact count, that more than 75% of bike commuters I saw today were female. I don't know what, if anything, that means for the "big picture" of bicycling in Washington. But I'm not really a "big picture" person, unless the big picture is Guernica, which is quite large, as well as moving, in person.(What does it say about me that I free-associate a painting that "shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians" with bike commuting? On second thought, let's not address that.)
Sometimes it's fun to be cheeky. Like when you're being followed to closely by a driver and take the lane, stop at a stop sign, put your foot down, looking left, right and left again, count to three and then go. There's nothing objectionable about following the law, right? Or when a bus tries to jump the light and make a left turn in your path and you ride very slowly through the intersection on purpose. I think that the heat is making me an asshole.


  1. I love doing the come-to-a-complete-stop thing when I'm in front of a driver. One, I'm showing them how it's done (so many don't seem to know), and two, it shows them to be careful what they wish for.

  2. Point 2 is exactly where I'm coming from.