Ride Home 12/8

On the off chance that you're new here, perhaps lured from someone's well-intentioned tweet about some buttons and charity, let me fill you in on what this site is all about. Longtime readers may skip ahead. I blog my bicycle commute in Washington DC. Sometimes I also reference Ellie the Poodle.
Tonight I had to run a rare errand after work, namely the errand of ascertaining how broken my phone is and how helpless I am with regard to in any way ameliorating the situation. Accordingly, I was unable to live tweet the affair, which was, to say the least, disappointing. But before I got there, I rode down New Mexico and through Glover Park and Georgetown, my old route. Not much has changed, though my legs felt a bit more spry than usual. Huzzah for spryness. After having ridden down Mass for the last couple of months (I can't believe it either), New Mexico seems like a gentle, little slope with gentle, little car traffic. Not little cars. For some reason living in the hills of posher Northwest requires an SUV. Perhaps one needs to make it to a non-refundable yoga class in adverse weather. Bazinga.
I rode behind something called an Ambulette. I think Don Draper got to our ambulances.
I don't miss riding in front of Duke Ellington on R. Always a stopped bus in front. I skirted around it as it made a left turn onto 35th, managing to pass the black BMW that had just passed me. Take that, German luxury.
I stopped short on Wisconsin to allow a family to cross, mostly because the Mom was like "Watch out for the biker!" as her charges stepped out into the crosswalk. I was thanked by the children. I would've stopped anyway and I didn't exactly appreciate the dramatic "OMG BICYCLIST!!!!!!!!" vibe that I got from the adult in charge. The extent to which people freak out over the potential danger of a forward moving bicyclist while ignoring the potential danger of a forward moving car always surprises me.
Then the Apple Store happened. I had to lock my bike to the chains near the parking near the PNC bank. Less than ideal. Georgetown has a paucity of bike parking and it also has a paucity of sidewalk space. For the amont of the depths concerns over historical verisimilitude and "preservation," I can't imagine that "old timey" Georgetown had such narrow sidewalks. If you want vital spaces, give pedestrians more space. This is rocket science.
 Then it was down M, past the nonsense of Washington Circle and then onto the nonsense of Pennsylvania. Throughout the whole stretch I was thinking to myself that the thing I strive for the most in bike commuting (and in pretty much everything else) is the desire for passers-by to think "Now that guy, he knows what he's doing." I think that there are worse aspirations.
Some OccupyDC chanting somewhere near the White House. Something like "Jobs, not mumblemumblemumble." I wonder if they were in the street again. Just some unsolicited advice: don't mess with drivers commutes. I'm just one dude on a bike and doing my best just to get where I'm going and I still get the impression that I ruin some drivers' lives.
Saw a bicyclist-motorist altercation near the National Gallery. Cyclist rode over and called the driver a "fucking asshole." Don't know why. Driver called the cyclist a "fucking bitch." Probably because of the asshole thing. A bit jarring. I hate seeing stuff like that. My rule of thumb is that you can call someone a gerundive expletive expletive in the heat of the moment (like if they're putting you in immediate danger), but the window closes pretty immediately and you can't/shouldn't continue the altercation a block later. But, that's just my opinion.


  1. I was at the Georgetown Apple store this afternoon as well. Locked up at a pole outside the store. The rain had hosed my Iphone yesterday ... I now know the limits of rainproofing on my jacket's pocket. Hope you didn't have the same $157 problem.

  2. Was yours the bike right out in front? The grey trek? I fear I've learned the same lesson about rainproofing, though it's possible that I have an "upgrade" coming from my carrier, so I don't know how much I'll actually be out.

  3. Very ironic, that group of pedestrians (and by pedestrians, in this case, I mean those who walk from where they parked their car to their destination a few blocks away at most) who act like being run down by a bike is the greatest hazard they face out there.
    The irony is that cars running red lights doesn't seem to faze them in the least - because they EXPECT it at this point, and bikes are still "unexpected."

  4. A recently got a folding bike because of lack of appropriate bicycle parking in my area. Most places that don't let you bring a bike inside don't mind, and besides, I have a carry bag for maximum stealth.