Ride Home 11/7

Today is one of my least favorite bike commuting evenings of the year. The first ride post-post-DST (ST, if you must) is typically the first one where it's dark, or mostly dark, from the time you to leave to dark, or very dark, by the time you get home. No one, motorist nor bicyclist, is accustomed to it and it makes conditions at least somewhat dicier. Even worse is the sheer quantity of morons one encounters, who elect (or perhaps just happen to through sheer ignorance) to ride their bicycles without lights. This is idiotic. Riding without lights is, in my opinion, vastly worse than riding with a helmet, the latter which might protect you in event of a crash, whereas the former might prevent that crash from happening. It's not excusable to ride in the dark without lights, in the same way it wouldn't be excusable for a driver to do so. If I counted the number of bicyclists I saw (or barely saw) without lights, I think I'd be far more disappointed because then I'd actually have an quantified number (redundant!) of morons instead of an undefined quantity (is this even possible?), which somehow makes it feel worse. I assume that if you're reading this, you're at the apex of cultured sophistication and would never dare to ride in the dark without lights, but you might have a friend or neighbor or colleague who might and you should posthaste mock and scold them and insist that they do not set upon another evening bicycle journey until the situation is addressed. It's patently absurd. I'd rather have far fewer bike commuters tomorrow than just as many but the same proportion of lightless.
Just because a bus is out of service doesn't mean that its driver won't cut you off. That's a tip.
Great ride down Massachusetts. This properly adjusted seat is really paying off. I felt fast, as in fast enough and that's good enough for me.
I hate when pedestrians are afraid to cross even when they have the walk signal. The extent to which pedestrians have been cowed to sheepishness and forced to duck like chickens due to the piggishness of drivers is bullshit and I could get hoarse over it. It's a real farm jungle out there.
I'm starting to recognize more "regulars" on Q, including Ms. Pink Wheels and Mr. Guy Who Turns Left at Vermont Ave. I hope remain "regulars" so I have more time to come up with better names. Good number of bicyclists riding up 15th.
I'm glad I've had a month to learn to the learn the ins and outs (read: potholes and manholes) of my route home because doing it in the dark is concomitantly much easier. Still didn't prevent me from almost biting it along 11th, but there's not much you can do when the road is craggier than...[insert your own Star Wars or Lord of the Rings reference. I'm tired]
Rode behind a bike commuter with excellent judgment along Pennsylvania. I always like it when I encounter another bicyclist who approaches things about the same way I would. Makes me feel more correct about stuff, though I suppose it could just be that we're both doing it wrong. We parted somewhere by the Capitol.
Rode behind a bicyclist with Velo Orange fenders, the kind I covet. We rode down East Capitol and then down A, SE and I thought/worried at one point that she was my neighbor (not the one we like, but the other one), but she wasn't and continued to ride down 17th somewhere. I wanted to say "nice fenders," but I'm not sure that's something one should say, much less could say with a straight face. So, there's that.


  1. I decided to take my bike back home on the Metro for precisely the same DST reason. I'll give the drivers a week to figure out their craziness before I insert myself in it.

    As I was walking my bike to the Metro station, though, I was also astounded by the number of bikers who weren't using lights. (Or wearing reflective, or even light colored clothing, for that matter). I'm not sure if DC law requires a light, but I would think the law of survival might.

  2. Was on my motorcycle today and left work early to beat the darkness, but a longer-than-expected grocery stop ruined that...but I was amazed at the number of drivers without lights on...why does the time change affect peoples' perception of darkness? I walk outside and think "boy it's dark, better use my lights"...I guess some people go out and say "it's only 530pm, no need for lights"? I don't get it. But I am kinda looking forward to riding the CCT in the semi-daylight at 630am...it's gotta be the worst trail in the area to ride in the dark.

  3. I love my fenders and think its great when someone admires them!

  4. @Tara I'm fairly decent DC law requires a light, but that's hardly the best reason to use one. It just boggles the mind how stupid some people are willing to be,
    @MM Once my clock broke at 12:30 and the only meal I ate until it was fixed was lunch. So many sandwiches. Good luck on the CCT. You're totally correct about its terribleness. Stretches of the Mount Vernon are pretty bad too.
    @Jerry'sdaughter Well, I guess I shouldn't be so shy next time.

  5. I noticed first thing when I stepped out of my building last night the many cyclists with no lights, riding up 14th (and how they were nearly impossible to see). Shudder.
    I'm also 100% with you on the pedestrian thing. People, WALK when you have the signal - making eye contact if you can and making sure you can get out of the way if you can't.
    And don't be afraid to scream at unyielding drivers. They're breaking the law and endangering your life. Plus it usually scares the crap out of them for at least a second when they realize you're there.

  6. I had the opposite observation -- my ride home on MVT from Old Town to DC last night was pupils dilate, PUPILS CONTRACT, pupils dilate, PUPILS CONTRACT, as the rush hour parade out of the city included the occasional careless user of those high-intensity new lights pointing straight into my eyes.

    People: you know not the power you have on on your handlebar or helmet. Point it toward the ground please.

  7. I concur, JT. I rode on the CCT last night, going in the direction opposite of most of the evening rush hour traffic, and had a hard time seeing because of all the lights pointed right in my face. (I try to shield my light with my hand when approaching a ped or cyclist traveling in the other direction.)

    There were also way too many people (bikers and peds) without any illumination or reflectors. I almost rear-ended a couple of peds walking side by side because it was completely dark, they were wearing dark clothing, and I had just been blinded by an opposite-direction high-beamer. Argh! Most nerve-wracking commute in my life.

  8. @JT and ++==++, I use the old driver's manual trick of shifting my gaze off to the right-hand side of the trail. It works.