12/1/11

Ride Home 12/1

I had an errand to run in Georgetown, so it was back to the ol' New Mexico-Tunlaw-34th route that I rode for the many first months of this blog. Nostalgia! I can now report on the new bike infrastructure that has been installed since I last rode the route: none. So, there you go. It's kind of like when you go back to your home town and see how things have changed to pretty much realize that everything is still the same as it ever was, except maybe more so.
I rode in street clothes. I appreciated the change (or lack thereof). I also left work before it was totally dark, which was also quite nice. Vampire bike commuters are totally missing out.
Pretty much the same traffic pattern, including a minor disruption by Duke Ellington School in the form of a stopped, unloading school bus. I couldn't get around it on the left, so I pushed my bike on the sidewalk and made my way through the pack of just-returned-to-school teens. Awesome.
When a bike lane is too narrow, there's less room. That's obvious. When a bike lane is too narrow and there's less room and a driver can't keep the right side of their car outside of the white line, it just sucks. There's plenty of money to be made ticketing drivers driving in bike lanes in Georgetown. Plenty.
I locked my bike to an M street lampost in a way that would not be considered "secure" by any bike locking professional, assuming there is such a thing. In the shop, one of the attendants told me that she liked me jacket. I don't know if she was being serious.
Rode behind two dopes without lights. Attention local bike shops: I think it'd be a good idea to sell people lights when you sell them bikes. Maybe you could even discount the lights. Like half off? This shouldn't be an optional, after-market purchase.
All sorts of suck-itude riding down Pennsylvania. It seems like it took forever, mostly because I was stuck in the right lane behind consecutive lines of cars looking to turn right at various numbered streets. Slow going. And then there was Washington Circle, which, every time I ride it, makes me like both George Washington and circles less and less and I formerly held both in high esteem.
And then the road closures started. The intersection of Penn and 18th was blocked by a police officer. The girl riding in front of me on a fixie shouted to the cop whether we could ride though, as we were already doing so and he was like "no" but sort of half-assed and already too late, so we just kept going because it wasn't clear whether he was serious. And then at the other side of the White House, the real fun with road closures started, though the 15th street cycletrack remained open to bicyclists, as did the Penn Ave bike lanes, but only open in the sense that you weren't explicitly prohibited from riding, but not open in the sense that guarantees a police car wouldn't be parked in it. And the police cars were also parked at 14th. And 12th. And 9th. These latter two bike lane blockages seemed very above and beyond the call of duty, but I'm going to give the police the benefit of the doubt on this one. It's been my experience that MPD is generally more cognizant of citizen mobility than the various federal security apparatuses.
Aside from being safer (maybe), the path on the Senate side of the Capitol is also shorter to the stop. That's obvious, since in the inner-side of a concentric half-circle, but it's worth remembering. Yesterday, I screwed up and rode my bike off the curb to a four inch drop (not falling over, surprisingly) and today I likewise missed the curb ramp in the dark and I had to circle back. Does this mean I need a brighter front light? Or maybe that I just need to pay better attention?
Congestion again on the other side of Lincoln Park on Mass. I don't know what was going on there. Didn't affect me much, except that it diverted more drivers onto my street, none of whom saw fit to lower their driving speed to one appropriate to a residential road. But they had to get home to my family quickly, whereas I only needed to get home to my family safely, so you know how that goes.
I've accumulated some more commuter bucks, so if anyone has any recommendations for how to spend $40 on bike stuff, hit me up.

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