Ride Home 11/22

If there's a Murphy's Law corollary for bike commuting, it's this: it will rain the hardest when it's the most inconvenient, which in my case is during the prolonged descent down Massachusetts, mixed with speeding car traffic. It sort of sucks, but I've developed some strategies: primarily, take the lane and go as slow or as fast as I need. It's difficult to strike a balance between following too closely (need room to brake) and following too far behind (giving drivers changing lanes or turning the appearance that they can do so with little impact when, in fact, it might result in great impact, namely my impact into their automobiles). And then there's the slippery manhole covers, which I might do slightly too much to try to avoid.
 I'm almost never honked at (excuse my prepositional ending). I don't know why this is, but I'm grateful. I'd like to attribute it to skill, but there's really no skill in this, but just dumb luck. Maybe traveling on streets with bike lanes makes a difference in that I have a proper "place" on the roadscape. For what it's worth, I'm willing to go a block or two out of my way to ride in a bike lane, something that I'm not sure others so willingly embrace. I often see people riding on roads that I would never take, mostly because I'd rather choose the slight inconvenience of traveling one block extra to my final destination than deal with the major inconvenience of squeezing between impatient drivers and a crummy door zone. But maybe that's just me. In my experience, it's not only more pleasant to ride in bike lanes (dedicated space is dedicated space, even if it's less than ideal), but it's also a socially useful act that shows motorists and city agencies that bike lanes are appreciated and not unused (double negatory!).
Nobody else on Q. Nobody else on 14th. In both case, I mean nobody on bikes. And I guess that's not completely true, since I saw a woman on a CaBi crossing 14th by Thomas Circle, maybe just having come fom the newly installed bikeshare station.
14th is the street of potential right hooks. Four intersections, four turning drivers. Not sure I'm going to keep it up. I'll take the scrum of lower 11th, which is at least kind of wide, to the likelihood of getting nailed by a turning taxi.
Today was a voluble ride and I couldn't help myself. The most common word I say while riding is "no" followed by "please" followed by "stop" followed by "rutabaga" (one of those isn't true). My talking, to be clear, isn't meant to be actual communication, but more a shamanistic mumbling, like casting a spell to ward off potentially negligent drivers. I can't say to what extent it works.
Rode through the bollards on Madison Place (For those of you who don't happen to live here or don't frequently consult maps, the bollards by Madison Place, Lafayette Park, and the White House are all the same security bollards). In either case, they were tapeless and I rode through, looking over to the security guard, but not really showing any sign of recognition. He looked up, mouth agape, but I don't think there was anything much that he wanted to say. He was pale in the unforgiving, antiseptic fluorescent light.
It wasn't an anomaly or maybe it was just a different bike cop, but he (or someone else) was still (or for the first time) lightless. I know that you're the "secret service," but your secrecy doesn't need to be amplified through lack of luminescence.
If the stoplights on Pennsylvania were timed for bicyclists, it would make my life.
I rode behind another bike commuter on East Capitol. Well-lighted, double-panniered, fancy-ish bike jacket, some kind of head wrapping underneath the helmet, going just fast enough. There's really no #bikeDC type, but this is kind of it.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more: If the stoplights on Pennsylvania were timed for bicyclists, it would make my life.