I spend somewhere between 0 seconds and 4 hours staring at the DC Bike Map each morning looking at new potential routes. (You can ask the Official Wife and she will attest to my constantly looking at my phone) Why? For you, my readers. Well, no- that's not true at all. I do it because I'm a restless soul, convinced that there must be a "better way" and "optimal route" and one that's "marginally more convenient" because, ultimately, I'm "indulgently looking for a way to make my ride in easier." And why shouldn't I? Your route is like a tattoo, in that it's deep, ontological statement of self, but it's also like a temporary tattoo in that it's variable and fleeting and might or might not be a butterfly or from a school carnival.And sometimes that requires deep exploration (of self, through meditative exercises and quiet contemplation, and of cartographic charts, including weather maps and tide schedules for some apparent reason) and other times it just requires Ride the City. But it's worthwhile. Or something
I think I'm going to start riding through the Capitol grounds. Much nicer than being squeezed into the curb on Constitution. Just not a great way to start the day. Nor is getting stuck on Constitution when the Penn Ave bike lanes are right there, but you can't get to them because it's like 9 lanes wide and you're in the far right and every single taxi in the city is wedged between you and some sense of respite. Speaking of taxis, one taxi drive tried the typical u-turn across the bike lanes and really got some shit for it from some bicyclists. All because he almost "hit" them. Share the road, bikers! So self-righteous about not getting grievously injured as the result of an unpredictable, illegal and highly dangerous driving maneuver. The driver never actually did complete the u-turn either. A lady in a volvo rolled down her window and told us all to be careful. She also said she couldn't believe that happens. I said "every day." She said that she "dropped her phone" and was ready to call 911, but thankfully it didn't come to say and no one appeared to have suffered the ill effects of a taxi drivers careless disregard for life and limb. When I was taking to the lady, I was sort of distracted by the not-quite-long-enough argyle socks of the bicyclist in front of me. Nice flair.
15th and Pennsylvania is always a crazy mess with pedestrians and bicyclists coming from every direction. I think that this would be the case regardless of whether the Railing of Doom didn't push pedestrians into the bike lane. The caution tape at the guardhouse in Lafayette Park seems needlessly petty and spiteful, in that it pushes bicyclists to ride on an already too narrow brick sidewalk. Mr. Obama, tear down this caution tape!
Lots of CaBis on 15th.
Leggings aren't pants. This message brought to you by your freezing ass.
On Mass, I got psyched out. Happens to even daily commuters. I'm not ashamed to admit it either. Just one too many too close calls and I started riding scared, which is the absolute worst thing that can happen. I need to decide whether I'm going to stay in the road and take the entire lane the whole way up or just ride on the sidepath. I can't keep doing it the way that I'm doing it. And yes, I did say "just move the fucking other lane, you stupid shit head" to no one in particular after the third or fourth driver decided to pass within 2 feet of me instead of moving into the other, completely wide open lane. Getting honked out when I stopped at Mass and 34th didn't really help my mood either, but I just moved slightly over to the left, as was my intention, to allow the right turn on red. I waved the drivers through with something of a bowling motion and that earned me a smile from the honker. Still not cool to honk, though.
On the other side of Wisconsin, I found myself riding behind a girl who had a u-lock bungeed (sort of) to her rear rack in a way that was definitely less than secure. It was so less than secure that it fell off after we passed Macomb, crashing into the street with a clangy thud and luckily not hitting any car or people or me, landing solidly in the middle of the lane. She rode ahead maybe another 50 feet, but I stopped, dismounted and "hustled" back to get it, which I thought might be less perilous on account of my canary jacket. A driver even stopped for me, so I picked it up and handed it to her. She said thanks. I hope my good deed (which required essentially minimal effort) buys me some good bike karma.