8/4/11

Ride In 8/4

Whereas a triathlon is a contest with separate elements of swimming, biking and running, walking my bike outside today was the excited synthesis of all three. Muggy doesn't even begin to describe it. I think I've been in rainstorms and been less damp.
I still haven't fixed my cleat, so I'm still biking bow legged. I imagine this to be less than attractive. Maybe I'll get to it this afternoon. It's like a 3 second fix so I don't know why I keep putting it off. Maybe it's because I think I want to get new shoes and pedals. I've almost one hundred percent sure I'm going to do this. My subconscious is powerul...?
There are two kinds of drivers in this world (and probably two kinds of people, but let's not generalize. I mean, aside from the generalizing I'm about to do). Here's the situation: there's stop-and-go traffic and a row of parked cars on the right. A driver sees in his rear view a bicyclist approaching between the line of stopped cars and the line of parked cars (filtering, if you will, and it's perfectly legal. What does he do? Well, some drivers move their cars slightly to the left, making sure the bicyclist has an even more unobstructed path. We call these people heroes. And some nudge their cars over close to the right in an attempt at some kind of frontier justice that wrongly seeks to enforce a "wait yer (I said frontier) turn" norm that isn't in any way applicable to this situation. We call these people jackasses. Please don't be one of those. You know what I do when this happens? I ride on the sidewalk. Because I'm on a bike and not a car and I can just slightly adjust my path and keep going. It's pretty stupid.
Unrelatedly, I've got a list in my head of acts of "vandalism" that I'd like to see committed to redress various "injustices" on certain roads. For example, I'd like to paint a green bike lane on parts of Fairfax Drive. I'd like to put up a bunch of Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs, especially on the narrow streets that abut schools. I'd like to remove the parking meters on New Mexico closest to Nebraska because when cars park there, it creates all sorts of problems with right turns.There's probably a bunch of other things that I'd do as well, but I can't think of them right now. Basically, I'd like to adopt the vigilante pro publica ethos of Batman but without the costume and instead of fighting people, I'd just modify elements of public space to make them more bike friendly. Were this turned into a series of blockbuster movies, they would be poorly received by everyone except maybe Streetfilms.
Speaking of "heroics," I saw a college aged kid standing next to his bike futzing with the tire in front of the Russian Embassy. I stopped and asked him if everything was ok and he said that he tire needed air. It did, because it totally flat. I offered him use of my frame pump (he asked "you have a pump???" as if he was asking if I had emu feathers. Yes, I have a pump) and he tried to put air in the tire, but nothing doing. I suggested that we try to patch the tube. He said ok, and we took the tire off to see what was wrong. He asked if I biked a lot. Do I bike a lot? Please, son. I'm like the 37th most influential DC bike commuter blogger. I guess he's not one of the 8 people who read this. Whatever. We exchanged other pleasantries, but not our names (he was a Georgetown student, in the College, majoring in Math and Economics and taking summer classes at AU. I decided his name was Alex, even though it probably wasn't). Turns out that the tube was ripped where the valve attaches and there was no way of patching it. I had a spare tube, but he needed a bigger size, so I declined to offer. His chain was rusty as all get out. He asked if he could still ride on his flat tire. I suggested that it wasn't the best idea. I told him that a bike shop would be able to replace the tube pretty easily and that he might want to get a new chain. His wheel looked fine and the tire was ok too, so he should be back on the bike soon. He wondered what might have caused it, but I didn't really know. I suggested a pot hole. I left him to to walk his bike up the hill, having done a pretty crappy job of shoving his tube back into his tire. It would have been nice to actually help him, but as far as bike karma goes, I think I'm still on the right side of things.

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