On a more reassuring note, I want those of you that either already are or especially those that are considering cycling in DC: it really is safe. It has come to my attention recently that many folks out there feel that cycling is a dangerous activity. It really isn't. It is unfortunate when incidents like mine and the cyclist's in the video happens, but it doesn't mean it will happen to you.Many of you might have already read this, since it comes before the paragraph in which K. far too graciously recommends that you visit this blog in order to "get a good idea of what it's like to ride a bicycle every day." As far as the sentiment above is concerned, she's absolutely correct. It is safe to ride your bike in the city. (Could it be safer? Sure. But that comes with more people riding). And it absolutely does reduce stress. For all of the ancillary benefits (carbon reduction, health benefits, cost savings), the primary benefit is one that's entirely selfish: it's the only time during my day that I really feel belongs to me and for as much as drivers and pedestrians and other cyclists impact my travel, I still have the overall impression that I'm the one dictating my own pace and my own route, something that I can't say I've ever felt while driving in rush hour traffic, when the entire world seems to be against me.
I ride a bicycle *every day*. For many days, I ride a bicycle between 4-6 hours a day in various parts of the city. I would say that 98.9% of the time, it is without incident. Since I have taken up cycling, my stress levels during my commute (and at work) have dropped significantly. You know who are stressed? Motorists! Drivers are disgruntled. From the impolite gestures to the impatient honking, I wonder how some of them simply don't collapse from heart attacks. Luckily they tend to aim their frustrations at each other. The best cure for a bad mood is a good, long bike ride. There have been plenty of times I've woken up & dreaded going to work--but by the time I arrived I felt a million times better. I've never, ever heard a motorist make the same claim. I can't imagine that being stuck in the morning rush hour is a mood-booster. Sure, I encounter the annoying/aggressive motorist or fellow cyclist (and even pedestrian). But they are the minority. Most of the people I encounter while I'm riding simply fall off my radar because they aren't doing anything to draw attention to themselves. Most people know how to behave. It's when people misbehave that you notice them, and it only takes one arsehole to ruin your day. The best remedy for that is to simply get back on your bike and ride.
Ok, enough waxing.
[Breaking the fourth wall alert: I got a little distracted by the new Ken Archer on GGW. Frequent readers of this blog know how that my world stops any time K-Dawg (not an officially sanctioned nickname) lets a new one drop. This one's on Georgetown University (that college everyone hates) and streetcars and branch campuses and jobs. It has nothing to do with bicycles, but don't let that stop you. Also, read the comments.]
A gentle breeze and a gentle ride down the wide boulevards of central Arlington. Rode behind a gentleman on a beautiful Trek bike, the frame a color somewhere between Bianchi celeste and British racing green, with an internal hub, mustache bars and hammered metal fenders. This guy was definitely going for a look, especially since he was also sporting green canvas panniers and an old-timey looking bell shaped, tweed and canvas saddle bag. It might have been Ken (not K-Dawg), but I don't know for sure. Anyway, I rode behind him off and on down the R-B corridor and soon we were joined by some superbiker type in QuickStep jersey, who soon rode past when I decided to begin to stop at a yellow light. If I'm not sure that I'm going to make it through the intersection before the light turns red, I'm not taking any chances. I caught up to QuickStep on the other side of Court House and we parted ways again in Rosslyn. I guess he wasn't a true superbiker since he had a backpack (a real superbiker can't actually be going anywhere, much less commuting. And yet, they always seem to be on the roads and trails during peak commuting times).
Has anyone seen any new bike lanes lately? I haven't, but admittedly, I ride in only one small corner of the city. Sharrows? Has anything been striped at all this summer? Will we get our mystery 10 miles before the year ends? Will I keep harping on this and maybe even more now that I'm actually a DC taxpayer? You betcha!
There has been a parked police car in the middle of the Key Bridge each day this week. Lights flashing and officers standing on the upstream sidewalk. That seems odd. Maybe some traffic control mechanism? Not that the traffic needs controlling since the inbound gridlock gets that done anyway. Maybe the police are there to try to prevent DC residents from sneaking out and trying to vote for Congress. I don't know.
Work locker rooms. They're great because they make showering and changing super convenient. But like workplace kitchens, things can get bad. Real bad. I submit the following:
|You thought dirty dishes were bad.|