Ride Home 11/10

Cold, rainy and dark is the triumvirate of bad bike commuting conditions. I suppose cold, snowy and dark would be worse. Today is one of those days where I convince myself that riding in it somehow better prepares me for riding in an even worse day, but it's hard to imagine that there are too many days worse than this, though I suppose it could have been much colder and the rain could have been more driving and the dark could have been more foreboding, perhaps with Scooby Doo-style monsters. At the bike rack, a guy who just arrived told me that it was nasty out there and told me to be careful. Nothing like bike rack chatter.
The roads were slick and I added wet white paint to the things that I should try to avoid. When the roads are wet, I'm reticent to ride on anything other than nice, even pavement, which seems to be less and less the more that I look for it. From work to halfway down Massachusetts I rode behind a guy on a fixie who seemed to be struggling somewhat with the conditions. Somewhere along Massachusetts, he dumped off to the sidewalk and I was able to increase my speed to 5 miles per hour or so. Actually, I was riding faster than that, but not by much because I saw bus's taillights on the horizon and I found prudent to some distance between us. At one point on Mass, I unintendedly ran a red and luckily didn't suffer any negative consequences. I got lucky.
There's no trick to riding in Sheriden Circle. Just get in and get out and avoid the drivers turning onto 23rd.
The Q Street Boogaloo could totally be something, but it's not and so I'm appropriating it to describe the usual car dodge a bike commuter embarks upon as he heads east across town. If it's not the turning cars, it's the cars parking and if it's not both of those it's the trucks in the bike lane and if it's not that it's the bicyclists and the jaywalkers and maybe instead of all of those things, it's just me. At Q and New Jersey, I watched two drivers turn right on red without stopping, only narrowly avoiding me and the driver next to me and then jockey to turn left another block down the road. I said, aloud, "stop fucking around so I don't die" without really thinking about how terrible it is that just trying to get home makes me say something like that.
Fewer lightless bicyclists tonight because there were fewer bicyclists overall. Guess everyone took the bus home.
At the circle in front of the Capitol, a motorist declined to yield to me. His license plate indidcated the car was registered in Quebec. No sir, Je me souviens.
Near the Capitol, I rode up the driveway I always ride up (though this time had to yield, for the first time ever, to two drivers heading in the opposite direction) and noticed that parking spaces at the Capitol reserved for compact cars can (and do) easily accommodate Lexus SUVs. Fail.
Along East Capitol, a bus driver waived me in front of him before he pulled into a spot and it turned out another bicyclist was riding behind me. He had a grey mustache and said that bus drivers always treat him well. Really. Must be the mustache. Then I misheard him say something that I thought was "Bradley Whitford."
I stopped at the Safeway and bought, amongst other things, watercress and beer. The guy in front of me in line purchased, not amongst other things, elbow macaroni and relish and beer. When I got back out to my bike, I realized that my rear light 's battery was considerably depleted and my visibility was (and had been to that point) severely compromised. This is a problem, especially in light (haha!) of my recent light evangelism. Perhaps it's time to get new, brighter lights. I likewise worry about my front lights. I can barely see pedestrians and on Penn, given its poor design, this will be an increasingly terrible problem and I genuinely worry about riding into one. So, shopping woo.


  1. My headlight died just as I turned onto East Capitol for the home stretch and I thought I'd just ride it out...but then I thought about your light sermonizing (which I totally support, BTW) and stopped and busted out my headlamp that I reserve for the inky blackness of the CCT, but is totally unnecessary for around town...in town I role with the blinky. So I didn't have to ride light-less, which was a relief. I usually carry spare batteries, but I think I removed them from my backpack at some point. So now I'm determined to load my pack up with spare AAAs.

  2. I was just noticing today that my front light is garbage. It was $8, so I guess I shouldn't expect a lot. But I think I need a new one.

  3. Sorry things were so bad. My 2:30 p.m. ride to work was a little misty, ending a four- or five-day streak of best 2:30 p.m. rides ever, but the 11 p.m. ride home was glorious. These cool nights are pretty awesome when it's dry.