Ride Home 12/12

And now for something completely different. Well, not really. Not at all.
It wasn't as cold as I feared and I was plenty afeard. Caliban afeard.
It's a great feeling when you're the last person to ride through the light at Mass and Garfield and you can just ride down the hill relaxed and unworried about a driver pulling up too closely behind you or passing you with not enough distance. Little things like this can (and do) make a big difference to me on my ride home in terms of my demeanor. I'm much demeanor when a driver acts like a dope. Much.
I witnessed some poor decisions tonight. I watched an unlighted bicyclist run a light (not jaywheel) and cut off some drivers. I watched a lady jaywalk and then an approaching driver refuse to brake, instead opting to honk and swerve, even though it was pretty obviously that slowing would have been safer for everyone. And I narrowly avoided a driver who sped past me in order to beat the light in spite of the approaching loud and flashing fire engine. Full moon, I guess.
The hollandaise season (that's what it's called, right?) is one in which bike lanes seemed to be more impeded by delivery vans and trucks than usual, including those of the USPS. Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night will keep these steadfast couriers from blocking my way home. Drivers mostly understand and the ones who don't mostly abide, like the Dude, but not really.
One of these days I'm going to get t-boned on Q by a jumpy bicyclists in the Kleinway (haven't used that one in awhile a while). And I'm going to be so mad. One of these other days, I'm gonna get walked into by a pedestrian jaywalking between cars stopped in traffic. Note: stopped cars doesn't mean the bike lane will be empty. Just a friendly reminder. I hope that by committing this to writing neither of these things actually happens.
Whenever possible, I try to ride to the front of queues of cars and trucks and buses when there's a bus in front. It's just a visibility thing.
Another bicyclist gave me a big smile when we crossed paths at 11th and Pennsylvania. That's friendliness!
The Capitol is pretty much a symbol of contemporary America, in that it's surrounded by free parking lots and over-militarized security personnel. My suggestion about the latter: classier outfits. I'll even let them keep their gigantic guns, but it'd go down better with me if they looked more like Beefeaters, but Americanized enough so tourists don't gawk too much. I'd start here. Wigs optional.
Segway commuter! And some grey beard on a Bianchi! And some other guy, who was wearing khaki colored jeans. They all jumped the red and 2nd NE and East Capitol. I expected the cop to say something, but he didn't. Guess he wasn't psychic or he would've stopped them.
And now for something completely the same. But not really. BUTTONS! THEY'RE HERE. And here's what it looks like on the bike:

Tell your friends. There's a possibility that I'll bring 16 of them with me to the WABA Holiday Party and would be willing to sell one to you if you tell me the SECRET PASSPHRASE (it's: "um, can I buy a button?" Remember the um!) If you've already ordered, I'll be shipping/delivering in tuxedo in the next couple of days.


  1. I'm convinced that GWU has a mandatory module in its student orientation on walking through cars blindly into the street. On H, I lose count of the kids who emerge from behind the ubiquitous food trucks looking right, but oblivious to the fact that the cars nearest them are coming from the left. It's only when they're standing right in front of me in the middle of the lane that they realize their luck that I'm just a bike and I'm anticipating them, and not some SUV driver on their phone...oh, and why is it that people think that putting their cellphone on speaker and holding it 6 inches in front of their face somehow constitutes "hands free"? And why do people in luxury cars that no doubt have Bluetooth still hold their phones to their head to talk?

  2. Pedestrian at 15th and L on Monday afternoon a (cow-orker, for all I know) wandered into the cycle track against the light and stared straight ahead as a bicyclist braked to avoid hitting her, and kept staring straight ahead and wandering as the same bicyclist silently and far too graciously walk-maneuvered around her before resuming pedaling. I can only conclude that this was a cyclist visible only to me.

  3. @MM You're like halfway into a Seinfeld routine at this point. I don't understand when looking both ways before crossing the street went out of vogue.
    @BW I love the cycle track standers. They always look so shocked when there's a bicyclist coming. Like it's endlessly amazing to them that the lane with big pictures of bicycles painted in them might actually house a bicycle. I bet these are people who get confused/angry when someone jumps out at them in a haunted house or when there's anti-immigrant sentiment at a GOP debate.

  4. Downhill catching the tail end of a green light rocks!! Love that on 14th, although some days, it seems like I hit every light.
    I wish I could make the party, even just to speak the secret passphrase! Shhh, I won't tell anyone. hahaha. Nice.

  5. Brian: "2nd NE and": ok my memory is not great (it is a 1971 schwinn I commute on that I got for my 13th birthday......) but I believe this is the first time I have seen the quadrant indicators. Even knowing your new Armory West commute, there were times in the beginning and without the morning tea that even I couldn't figure out where you were in your story.....until I realized that like most I assumed NW when in fact at that crucial point in the story you were in fact in SW.......anyway, welcome.

  6. @Ken- I'll try to do a better job clarifying where I am and add quadrant markers as need. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. As a former Yeoman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberlin_College#Athletics), I approve of your Yeomen Warders/Beefeaters suggestion for new USCP threads. That approval was required, by the way. Now you're well on your way to this enhancement.

  8. Brian - just lookin' out for your best interest: I mean, how are you going to be mobbed by fans at Stanton park when they are all massing at Seaton Park? (no, I never knew that triangle had a name before either).