Ride Home 11/30

Goodbye November. You came in like an ocelot and went out like a pterodactyl, or so the saying doesn't go. It was sufficiently cold, like October in New England cold and was forced to wear earflap cap and all sorts of cold-repressing doodads like gloves and socks and whatnot. And it was darkroom dark but without the safelights and with streelights and headlights and blinky lights instead. It was an odd ride home, soundtracked by Smokey Robinson at least in my head. People say I'm the life of the party because I tell a joke or two. I'm not actually the life of the party, but you could still trace the tracks of my tears. Please, I hope that I'm not the only serial cryer.
In bike commuting, you don't always get to do what you want to do. Or to rephrase, sometimes it's more prudent to do things, like go a certain speed or stay particularly close to the car in front of you, to forestall DANGER (Will, not Smokey, Robinson!) that you wouldn't do otherwise if left to your own devices. I consider it a part of the wholly imaginary compact embodied within the "share the road" concept, or perhaps more properly, the "I'd really like to make it home in one piece, so if I have to ride a little faster to avoid a potential disaster, I'm more than willing to do it" compact. I take a lot of pains to avoid a lot of pain and I've found so far that what I tend to do tends to make a lot of sense. Of course, it could just be complete happenstance. The place where I'm willing to make these compromises most frequently is along Massachusetts, especially at the Waterside Street interscetion. When that light turns green, I hustle like nobody's business to get myself as quickly as possible to the next light where the road opens up a bit. Do I have to do this? No. Am I legall bound to do it? Not at all. But does it, in my mind at least, put me in the best position to safely interact with those around me? Yeah, I guess.
Trench coats and sweat pants are the newest trend in bike attire. You read it here first. Unfortunately, trench coats and sweat pants are a well-established trend in other exercises, namely those related to sketchier activities.
I rode Q to 11th and then down 11th through downtown. I was the only bicyclist, except for the girl on the Peugot that had been recently overhauled. I think she had a hub generator as well, but I couldn't really tell. Along 11th I thought a lot about how some bicyclists "tuck" themselves in between moving traffic in the curb in a way that suggests/belies their feeling of vulnerability. Ironically, this makes them even more vulnerable.
And now, Christmas markets. After the Vietnam War, I moved to Hungary (what? 2005 was after the Vietnam War. I didn't say immediately after) and each year in Budapest, there was a Christmas Market in Vorosmarty ter and the Christmas Market was wonderful. It had mulled wine (gluwein/forralt bor) and sausages and knickknack vendors and brooms made of sticks and it was/is pretty much the best thing in the world. It's not unique to Bp. in any sense, but it's the Christmas Market that I know best and I think it's highly emulable. And every day when I ride past a number of vacant squares in the District of Columbia, I can't help but think how nice they'd look if populated by Christmas Markets. We could even call them Holiday Markets or whatever. My latest favorite place for the establishment of said market is the massively empty space by the courthouses where Penn meets Constitution. Here's an image:

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This isn't fucking Pyongyang. It's America. Let's put some commercial shit and alcohol in our empty public spaces and let people enjoy themselves. "Let's put some commercial shit and alcohol in our empty public spaces" is going to be my slogan when I run for ANC. I'll get votes, too. But not enough.
I rode behind a woman on Segway on the bike lanes along East Capitol. Segway commuting! She was wearing a pencil skit and kitten heels and a weird, textured coat that she was clasping on the collar to cover her chin and mouth. At least she wasn't texting.


  1. You're not alone. When I'm biking in sub-40 degrees I look like my dog just died. Sunglasses don't help and I'm not sure ski goggles are quite the look I'm going for on my way to work. Also, the only thing better than mulled wine is drinkIng it outside, under the stars in a public space.

  2. Thanks for your confession. I feel much better about crying knowing that it's not just me. Well, not really, but it still helps.
    I've learned since posting this that there is a rather strong contingency in the bike community than enjoys the outdoor drinking of mulled drinks. I suppose this shouldn't be a surprise, but it'd be nice if someone willing willing/able to sell us these drinks.