8/9/11

Ride In 8/9

Embrace the sweat, says a video on DC summer cycling. I don't necessarily recommend embracing it, as that's both damp and saline, but instead suggest not making a big deal over it. It's cold in winter and hot in summer and accepting these things as mundane facts makes the life of a bike commuter must less existentially angst-ridden. Of course, when you realize that your brow is moist before you even leave the garage, it's a bit harder to keep the calm air of temperature ambivalence and not bemoan the fact that you'll end up at work thoroughly gross. But I guess that's why God some guy invented showers. I still don't know how people ride to work in their work clothes because my experiences sitting in a besweated (not a word) collared shirt have been thoroughly unpleasant. As has probably been this paragraph to this blog's now one remaining reader.
This morning was marked by a curious lack of automobile traffic and a high number of dogwalkers and bicyclists. Maybe DC drivers have left town on their last-ditch summer vacations, leaving the city over to those who must bicycle for transportation (and for whom every day is a vacation! said with treacly smugness) and those who make a living bringing dogs outside so that the canines can take care of their "business." It made for a quiet ride. I especially enjoy seeing poodles and vizslas.
I rode behind a guy on the loudest, most jankety Nishiki for a time on the Custis. When we lived in Bp., one of the few non-news English language television channels we got was MTV Europe and during this time I had ample opportunity to watch the indelibly American tv program, Pimp My Ride. If someone from Current TV is reading this (and this is probably not the case), oughtn't there be a bicycle reboot of this show? Instead of LA, it can take place in Portland. Xzibit can be replaced with the lead singer from some precious alt/indie/emo All Songs Considered-esque band I've never head of and otherwise the conceit of the show will remain the same, except that hooptys are swapped for beater bikes. There will still be custom paint jobs,  random and vaguely useless accessories and big reveals in which the lucky winners jump around like yahoos. Even if this isn't a full-fledged tv show, I still think it'd be a cool thing for a local bike shop to do to show off the skills and creativity of its mechanics. I think that this is a worthy retread for a greener, recessionary America.
I love how some drivers are just completely brazen in their last minute lane changing at the Key Bridge/M Street intersection. It's fantastic to watch. I saw a guy wedge his car into what wasn't really enough space and then just point to the driver behind him as if to say "yeah, I'm gonna need you to give me some more room." It's amazing to me that, in spite of all the flaws in the system, people manage to get in and out of the city every day.
My continued cat duty took me through GP again. This time, I rode up Manor and Observatory, instead of taking 37th to Benton. I traded a weird intersection and left turn for a left turn and a steeper hill. Manor Place probably isn't the best bicycle route. There are some cool bikes locked to street signs on W Street and the next time I go down that way I'll take some pictures. I ended up salmoning down (up?) 40th Street Place, so sorry to the guy in the big black pickup truck. I managed to get over enough (since there was a break in the parked cars), but it still wasn't the most nicest thing to do. It was a new route and I got a little lazy. My bad.
There's no good way to get out of the west end of Glover Park without going up and down hills. I remember when I first starting bike commuting, I would ride through the neighborhood instead of pushing myself up the remainder of Tunlaw hill, as something of a respite from climbing. That's a penny wise, pound foolish move as it lengthens the route and has just as much climbing. Live and learn, I guess.
Another time I jump lights is when I know that the right side of the lane is going to be blocked by an occupied loading zone. Since I'm going to need to "take the lane," I'd rather put myself out in front of any cars then try to squeeze in once the light turns green. Just offering a explanation for my behavior, in case you're wondering why one of those evil bicyclists don't just follow the laws like everyone else.

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