Ride Home 12/5

Shorts in December. I felt like the light-up surfing Santa from the roof of the front awning of the Australian Embassy. He's being pulled by a pack of kangaroos, who I guess can walk/jump on water or maybe surfing Santa surfs through the air and the kangaroos are just "normal" flying ones. I noticed surfing Santa today when I rode past the antipodeans' embassy, where the toilet might or might not flush clockwise thanks to mechanical intervention. The embassy is along Massachusetts Avenue, somewhere near Scott Circle. Anyway, surfing Santa. (These are your tax dollars at work, Aussies.)
But before I saw surfing Santa, I rode a couple of miles, much of it about 15 feet off the back of an out-of-service city bus. Good times. The bus ad was for some Prince George's County hospital group, which seemed to have a multitude of locations. Bus ads: they work! Anyway, it's sort of fun to try to stay about 15 feet off the back of a bus.
I missed my turn onto Q because I got stuck in the wrong lane at the wrong time. These things happen. I terrifiedly (almost certainly not a word) rode through Dupont Circle and luckily managed to get through without getting sideswiped by a less than an attentive driver. I find driving in traffic circles to be somewhat trying, mostly because I never seem to put myself in the correct lane to exit where I want. Bicycling through them is somewhat easier. Take the lane.
Cleaning my drivetrain (as I did yesterday) was a good idea. Seemed like a much smoother ride with much less effort to get the pedals moving. Overlook routine maintenance at your own peril. Peril!
Have you noticed a distinct lack of buttons in your life? Ones with "clever" designs that blend the DC flag and the shared lane road marking? Because I'm going to be able to help you with that. Soonish and just in time for end of year gift-giving holidays. In my family, we celebrate EOYGGH, which is also Welsh for Christmas.
Rode past McPherson Square. No surreptitious erections. (I'm referencing illegal structures)
Misunderstandings happen all the time and sometimes those misunderstandings get amplified through passive-aggressive, snide remarks. For example, tonight where the cycletrack picks up at the intersection of fake Pennsylvania Avenue and New York Avenue, I slowly approached the crosswalk, as pedestrians were crossing. And I stopped because it looked like a girl was waiting to cross the street. But after a couple of beats, she didn't move, so I started to ride forward through the crosswalk. I freely admit that I did so while the walk signal was still counting down and it wasn't technically my turn, so I was in the wrong. But the girl, who didn't move when I was fully stopped, decided to say "Fine, you can go. Don't need to wait or anything." But I had waited! And she stood there and I thought that maybe she was waiting too! Oh well. I guess the moral of the story is never, ever to do anything. Or just wait for your proper turn and get it over it when someone calls you out.
Some guy on a CaBi had a zebra-striped helmet cover with a black, fuzzy mohawk. What is going on? He rode his CaBi quite aggressively, at least to my estimation. He also refused to put his foot down at red lights, instead riding and rocking gently in front of stopped traffic in crosswalks. That's cool. I just put my foot down when I have to stop. Seems easier.
Still more bike traffic on East Capitol. And blocked bike lanes. So it goes. EOYGGH season, so delivery vans are going to be an increasing part of our bike commuting lives. I recommend a relaxed patience, like that exhibited by surfing Santa. Hang loose.


  1. I pay tax in Australia - and once even considered trying to be a diplomat. I am now embarrassed about both of those facts.

  2. In Australia, toilets do not flush in a circular fashion at all. I was mystified by that Simpsons episode. Not until I visited your American states of unity did i see a toilet flush with a tornado style water evacuation.
    It's due to different water pressures, I understand. Our pipes pump more water in and out faster so it doesn't have the chance to be affected by the earth's rotation. It just churns.

  3. I saw an unusually high number of bikes with lights this morning on 14th Street, even though it wasn't actually very dark or rainy at the time.

  4. I'm guessing the caller-outer didn't particularly care that you went because you were inconveniencing her, she just wanted to point out that you were technically in the wrong for going when it wasn't your light. And she can now count you as another anecdote she's collected that proves there is a growing scourge of SCOFFLAW CYCLISTS.

  5. Hey Sharrows! Just came across your blog thanks to WABA posting the Washingtonian piece on FB. Noting the blog content and your route, I wondered (egotistically) if you might mention me, and you did! I'm the zebra-headed cyclist who rides CaBi bikes "quite aggressively." I guess that's true, though I think of myself as "fairly" rather than "quite." FWIW, I try to have pretty strict rules about what is and isn't okay, and rule #1 is never affect anyone - car, bike, or ped - when being a (self-admitted) SCOFFLAW CYCLIST. In other words, no one should ever have to change anything they do - slow down, change direction, jump back - because of my actions. But, like your crosswalk adventure above, even good intentions don't always work out for the best.

    Anyway, really enjoy your blog, keep writing, and see you on the path. (If ya think about it and care to, give me a shout if/when you see me.)

  6. @Stephen Well, when you wear a zebra-headed helmet, you're hard not to notice! I think the difference between "fairly" and "quite" is one more related to my slowness and overall passivity than anything that you might do.
    I completely agree with you about scofflawism. It's basically being a ninja- you get in and you get out and no one knows. And that's some phrase about good intentions maybe, something like the bike lane to hell is paved with them.
    Anyway, thanks so much for reading and I'm sure I'll see you around and I'll definitely give you a yell.