This is the story of my ride, but it's also the story of three different women that I rode behind on the way home, but only insofar as they're in my story. The first was right near school, heading down Massachusetts. I call her Dama Bianchi and she was wearing cycle pants and riding a racing bike with skinny tires and a barely visible rear light and refused to pedal. Not just on the downhill parts, but the uphill parts too. It was curious.
The second woman I encountered was on the sidewalk on Massachusetts, near the British Embassy. After idling behind an idling bus, winning the Pyrrhic victory of taking the lane when the traffic wasn't moving a all, I decided to abandon the road for the sidewalk. This woman was on a lightless hybrid, with some sort of canvas tote bag dangling over the left handlebar. She seemed quite comfortable on the bike, much more than Dama Bianchi. She took the sidewalk along Mass until Florida and cut across at the light and was off to, I don't know, Columbia Heights, maybe?
The third woman was the fashionista of the bunch. A powder blue "city" bike with a detachable yellow rear basket. She was wearing what appeared to be a vintagey house dress under a grey wool coat that was too long and blocked for the most part her rear blinky. Occasionally, flashes of red shone through, sort of like the way ET's glowed. She also had on a beret, maybe, and hipstery glases. I can't remember where she went. Maybe up New Hampshire somewhere.
There's no real point to this story, other than to say that maybe the statistics about women and bikes in DC aren't right, but perhaps my observations aren't reflective of reality. I don't think there's any one particular "path" or strategy that's especially useful to get more women biking, or at least not a path or strategy to get exclusively more women biking. The way I see it, a rising tide lifts all boats, which is great for boats, but might rust your bike.
I wish Q Street were named Avenue Q and that there were obscene puppets instead of blocked bike lanes.
Maybe I was honked at when I rode (in the bike lane) between the stopped bus and the stopped cars, but I don't know why that would have happened. Maybe it was some other reason, but I normally assume these things are because of me, which might make me a narcissist or a paranoid or a paranoicissist, which is the worst/greatest affliction/attribute of all.
Love, love, love getting passed way to closely by someone driving a big expensive Jeep. Just love it. Did you know what I love? That thing I just described. Because of love and such. I luv it. Me + that = 4ever. I have notebooks full of whimsical doodles of hearts surrounding my name and poorly drawn pictures of Jeeps within inches.
Oh yeah, the morons who ride without lights are back. Out in the warm weather, I suppose. I had to special order this, but I made sure that my buttons (available at manfredmacx.com) don't work if you're riding a bike without lights. They develop button leprosy and fall right off. Button leprosy.
I saw a woman riding by the Capitol with a trailer, that seemed full. It might have been full of kid. I don't know. Good for her. Or maybe she was just bringing home work and she had a lot of it and needed the trailer. Hopefully she doesn't work at a smeltery. (S'meltery is the name of fast casual s'mores concept. Choose your graham, choose your mallow (I go with marsh every time), choose your chocolate and our team of progressional "s'melters" put that in the microwave and we charge you like 8 dollars)
East Capitol isn't boring, but there's not much doing either. It's a nice way to end. I ride on another street around there, as well, and that was mildly more exciting thanks to the speeding West Virginian and the two kids riding bikes and smoking pot. Ill-advised.