Ride In 11/9

In case you didn't notice, I like commuting by bicycle. I guess I'd have to in order to do it every day and blog about it. It's easily the best way for me to get to work, save some money and get some exercise. But while overall the experience is quite positive, some days just aren't as fun as others. Today was one of them and I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed or maybe I was just more easily miffed or maybe conditions were actually worse today than normal (though highly unlikely since it was fairly gorgeous), but for whatever reason, I didn't have a great trip and I got to work feeling vaguely stressed and unhappy. These things happen and I wouldn't want to let one bad ride spoil all of the good ones.
I think the cause of my bad mood, to a large extent, is the observed behavior of other bicyclists. This is a problem with misanthropy. I guess I just don't like to see other bicyclists do stupid things and risk grievous injury in the process. I've found that riding a bicycle in the city is a non-stop series of judgment calls and, while judgment calls are entirely subjective, I'd like to think of myself as having fairly good judgment. And pretty much what I've come to figure is that being risk-averse on a bicycle isn't a bad thing. Though I suppose in order to know if a behavior is risk-averse you need to both recognize what you're doing and what constitutes risk and I'm just not entirely sure how many people (bicyclists, motorists, pedestrians, zookeepers, etc.) are even making these kinds of calculations. That doesn't mean riding scared and it doesn't mean deferring to drivers or anything like that. I just hate the idea of people putting themselves (or someone else) in bodily harm because they're not thinking about what's going on around them. That's all. (Excuse me if my thoughts, like a mojito, are muddled.)
Give money to WABA today.
I think I saw a woman riding her bicycle wearing what might have been hot pants and go-go boots. For real.
I'm ending my passive-aggressive "war" on shoaling bicyclists. I don't have the ability to keep it up. Just too many of them and I don't even think they know what they're doing. One's willingness to pass a stopped bicyclist isn't necessarily the same as one's ability to maintain a pace such that the previously passed bicyclist won't just pass you again. I think this is Newton's 6th law of velodynamics, or something. I'm done complaining.
Something new today in that I rode down V street. It was fine. I then rode on Florida briefly and turned onto 19th, where I waited at the end of a row of cars while a bus driver attempted a three point turn on Columbia Road. It took a while and seemed imprudent. After a bit, I decided that I would just ride up the sidewalk. So much for that.
At the intersection of Calvert and Cleveland, I watched the crossing guard deny a pedestrian the ability to safely cross the street even though, as the pedestrian indignantly noted that she "has 8 seconds left." I don't know why the crossing guard did this, but it was quite the standoff. The woman really wanted to cross the street and had ample time, but the crossing guard kept shooing her back. I rode away before I saw what would happen at the next crossing sequence. I wonder what happened. I guess the question I would ask is why the crossing guard is in the business of ensuring that drivers can turn left and not in the business of ensuring that people can safely cross the street. Oh well.
I don't like how the bike lane on Garfield just disappears. It'd be better if it went the entire way to Mass, but it has to stop somewhere, right? I think stuff like this is the saddest reminder that bike facilities in this town as just one-off add-ons and don't seem in any way to be part of a larger, more comprehensive system. I'm all for bike lanes, but I'm more all for a coherent bicycle infrastructure network.
Nothing puts me on edge more than the sound of car horns. I almost rode into the back of an SUV as I swiveled my head to try to figure out what the hell was going on. I always swivel when I hear a honk because if it's something serious I'd rather know what's happening so I can take steps to avoid it. Apparently what was going on was the driver in from of him stopped to allow pedestrians to cross in the crosswalk. Awesome.
This post seems unusually dour. I promise all rainbows and sunshine (figurative) on the way home.


  1. I feel like I've seen more of the seriously scary cyclist behavior lately, too.
    The other morning someone just HAD to ride across Rhode Island Ave & 14th -- it was a close call. That's a fast, busy intersection.
    Though I know it's scofflaw, I'm personally don't feel too bad about jay-riding IF I look both ways and ascertain that nothing is coming, just as I would feel ok in the same situation as a pedestrian. Interestingly, I don't think drivers get upset about pedestrians crossing against a light in the absence of traffic.

  2. I think that one can be a scofflaw and still ride cautiously, just like I think that one can follow all the laws and still be riding dangerously. Following the law is neither a marker nor a substitute for exhibiting good judgment. I read far too many terribly sad things on the internet about bicyclist safety (or lack thereof) and I really hate the idea people might be doing things out there that imperils them needlessly.