Ride In 10/28

Some notes on cold.
1. If you don't like being cold, don't ride your bicycle in the cold. There are many other ways to get around. If being cold is something that is going to ruin your day, you shouldn't subject yourself to it.
2. There's no such thing as a bike commuting martyr. No one cares that you ride your bike when it's cold. You don't get a medal. If you bring up how you rode your bike to work even when it was very cold, your non-cyclist coworkers will greet you with something between total ambivalence, angry confusion and slight derision. Your cyclist co-workers will accuse you (correctly) of being a smug jerk and thinking that you're better than them. If you thrive on self-suffering, start your own blog keep it to yourself.
3. Layer your layers. I've got 'light winter' and 'heavy winter' clothes and I mix and match as the weather warrants. If you're wearing max 'heavy winter' everything, it's probably very, very cold. Today, for example, it was only sort of cold, so it was mostly 'light winter' gear. There are probably better ways to think about dressing yourself for the winter, but I think what I'm trying to say is that maybe it's not a good idea to declare one sweater your winter bike sweater because maybe it won't be appropriate for all kinds of conditions.
4. Chap stick? Sure.
Today was proper cold and it was kind of nice because at least it wasn't raining. I'd rather ease into the cold temperatures without also having to deal with rain and ice and snow, which are terrible. A fair number of people out on bikes as well, including a guy who didn't even come close to stopping at every red light on East Capitol. Lucky, I guess. I watched him skitter ahead as I at least slowed down to make sure the intersections remained clear. I wish I had his naive confidence (or health insurance, since it must have amazing hospital benefits).
I'm thinking about starting a charitable organization dedicated to the eradication of bike blindness. Bike blindness afflicts far too many pedestrians, who when even standing in a bike lane, fail to see approaching bicyclists. Some guy had to yell over whatever was playing on his iPod to a woman to "watch out" as she began to step out towards what would have been a nasty collision with me had I not been paying attention. Bike blindness is a pretty terrible disease and I'd suggest we'd 'race' towards it's cure but that might only result in considerable collisions between the charity riders and those they're trying to help. It would be bedlam. Sure signs of bike blindness include:
- The inability to see oncoming bicycles.
- That's it.
If you have a loved one who suffers from bike blindness, encourage them to seek help. Ride your bicycle by them frequently. Encourage them to take up bicycling themselves, increasing their level of recognition of bicycles and bicycle infrastructure. While carelessness is incurable, I hope to see an end to bike blindness within our lifetime.
If you don't think you're going to make the green bike light at the intersection of Penn and 15th, merge out of the bike lane and into the right travel lane, since that right turn arrow exceeds the length of the bike light. Then you can ride up 15th and jay-salmon (dangerous practice of fish-bird hybrid from an evil geneticist's lab?) back into the lane when oncoming car traffic dissipates. Or you could just wait.
Leaves of 15th got picked up. They were actually gone yesterday afternoon, but I forgot to mention them. Caution tape still down too, but I didn't ride through since one of the checkpoint Charlies was checkpointing a maintenance golf cart on the other side of the barrier. Best not to push one's luck. Or push other's buttons. Pushing yet another lucky buttons? Well, that's a different story entirely.
Is there any particular advantage to riding on the far left, rather than the far right, of a one way street? See it happen on L and M all the time and I don't know if I'm missing something. Since the numbered cross streets alternate between one way north and one way south, it doesn't seem that beneficial. Maybe something about being on the same side as the driver? Feel free to clue me in.
I think that Capital Bikeshare is amazing. I don't say that enough.
Pretty slow going over R and up Massachusetts. By Dupont Circle, I saw a guy riding with what looked like a canvas portrait under his left arm as he "drove" his bicycle using only his right. Someone check the Phillips Collection. I'm of the opinion that using mutliple hands to control a bicycle is better than not, but I suppose when you're absconding with precious artwork, you have to make do.
I don't like using my bell in the morning. I just don't think pedestrians are primed for it. Instead, I ride all stealthy and then regret not using it. Stupid.
I've been meaning to count but I don't have an exact number of cars that are occupied by precisely one passenger in the "bad traffic because of college students" stretch of Nebraska from Ward Circle to New Mexico. I guess car pooling is just a collective action problem. If you can afford driving alone or put a high premium on it, what's the benefit to any two people buddying up? So you can sit in traffic together and bicker over the radio? One less car on the road won't make a hill of beans (not edible) difference to the overall situation. And if there's no incentivized space, like car pool lanes or dedicated bus lanes or something, I just don't see how you get past the problem. This isn't even a "downtown" part of town when you could think about a congestion charge. It's just an affluent part of town where the monetary costs of driving simply don't factor. Is the "solution" just to make driving that much more miserable (and permanently) so people trade it for some other behavior? That doesn't sound appealing at all.


  1. This is where you get to snicker " you're not stuck in traffic, you ARE traffic" to your choice of drivers. Ok maybe say it more charitably if they are in say a smart car.

  2. I ride in the far left lane on H St - avoids the right hook in the far right land, and those going at a fast clip seem to prefer the middle lane.

  3. My boyfriend, who also cycle commutes to AU, is of the opinion that that "bad driving college student" stretch is actually the fault of Homeland Security. I'm with you, though, as I tend to blame the students.

  4. @Rachel: Your boyfriend is right. It's people who live in the neighborhood or who work at DHS or are dropping their kids off at National Presbyterian or whatever who are responsible for the majority of the car traffic in the area. Students might drive like shit, but they're definitely a minority of the motorists in the area. AU studied it as part of the Campus Plan and determined that AU traffic in the area is only 12% of total car traffic. Until neighbors accept that, we're not getting any closer to solutions.

  5. Fair point. That entire neighborhood has their panties in a bunch and really needs to get over it...the university was established in 1893, and I'm fairly certain all those folks moved in afterwards. As an alum, I always felt like I was taking my life into my hands with aggressive motorists (and student drivers) around Ward Circle...there was some gem in a local paper a year or so ago about folks getting pissed off because the excess traffic (apparently due to college students) was causing their maids to be late...or something like that.