12/2/11

Ride Home 12/2

What? Blogging at this late hour? That's crazy! Initially, I had planned to put this off until tomorrow, but it's past 10 and I'm still awake, so that's cause to celebrate. To celebrate with a self-indulgent rehashing of an evening bicycle trip through this our (for domestic readers) nation's capital!
What's that thing called when a driver from Maryland decides to squeeze his mid 90s sedan past you in the space of one travel lane rather than move into the other, completely empty travel lane on the other side of Ward Circle? Is there a name for that? (Not broadly applicable enough for a name? Take out the Maryland part, the sedan part and the Ward Circle part and see where that gets you. It got him a "seriously, what the fuck dude" that I'm assuming he ignored.) The Old Line Squeeze? (Though that's Maryland specific) I don't know.
One of the curious things about the Haul seems to be its gears strange relationship to the amount of effort required to push the bike along at a certain speed. I sort of doubt that the derailer has any connection to the bike and that it's just there for show. Superfluous derailers are somewhere between vestigial tails and peacock feathers (Between Vestigial Tails and Peacock Feathers is the title of a book by C.S. Lewis, maybe). In any case, I just don't get the gearing on this bike and I'm far too novice in both my understanding of bicycles and of mechanics (this kind, not that kind) to know why or what to do about it. I think I could get by on three speeds, but that's not the hand I was dealt.
I reverted to old habits at the base of Massachusetts (somewhere by the Italian Embassy, I think) and rode in the right-turn-only lane to the intersection, but I saw the flashing lights of a police car and panicked and didn't merge back into the go-straight lane because that's just how I am and I rode on the sidewalk for a block and then waited at the next intersection in order to merge back into the street. I waited for the traffic to pass, regretting, like always, my decision to ride on the sidewalk. Why must I make dumb choices? Why? WHYYYYYYYYYYYY? (that was dramatic)
It's ok to ride past a stopped cyclist if you're doing so in order to turn right. You have my permission. (I've just jumped the shark)
Stopped FedEx truck in the bike lane = stopped bicyclist in the bike lane.
Stopped car in the bike lane = stopped bicyclist in the bike lane.
Must be the bike lane that's causing the problems. Bike lane is never blocked when there's no bike lane.
All sorts of nonsense of 11th. Here's my suggestion for bicyclists: don't bother doing anything other than taking the middle-right lane (The road isn't really marked, so I don't know how many lanes it's supposed to have, but by my guess, it's three). If you ride too far to the right, you're going to get squeezed by a driver looking to turn right or by a driver pulling out from one of the parking garages or a bus pulling into or out of a stop. I watch far too many cyclists get pinched and have to stop and starting from stopped on 11th just isn't a good deal. I went left and passed the buses, she went right and I have no idea what happened to her. Probably got Tremors-ed. Or something.
If you're still riding without a light, you're a dope.
House side of the Capitol tonight. It seems steeper, though I don't think that's true. I only rode to Penn tonight, for a great evening of drinks and conversation arranged through a hasty tweet demanding requesting that anyone join me for a Friday happy hour.  Discussions were had, plots were hatched, the passive voice was used, verbal repartees were repartee(d?). It was great getting together.
Rest of the ride was easy. Everything on Capitol Hill is pretty close to Armory West. Have a great weekend everyone.

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