Now that I've been voted DC's best bike blog (they always put the best one second from the bottom and even though there technically wasn't a "vote" per se, I'm pretty sure we can all read between the lines. No, I don't know what that means), it was hard not to immediately quit my job, puts ads up on the site and live off the proceeds of the hits generated by the 12 of you who consistently visit. But then I remembered that the conceit of the blog is documenting my commute and if I didn't have a job, along with not being able to afford groceries, the blog would lack it's raison d'être. It's the worst kind of Catch-22. Oh well. I guess I could blog my rides to and from the unemployment office and live tweet episodes of the Rachael Ray show, but I'm pretty certain that this won't keep the electricity on. In any case, I'm ridiculously honored to be included in a rather great list of bicycle bloggers and I encourage you to stop reading this post right now (not now, but at the end of the sentence) and check out those other blogs immediately. Also (assuming you're still reading), check out Wash Cycle. This is the DC bike blog and if you're not already reading it, you're doing it wrong.
I did leave work early today, nonetheless, because I had to once again visit the DMV, this time in order to procure license plates for that car that sits in my garage all week. This didn't end well and I'll be going back tomorrow, but more on that later. I took New Mexico Avenue down the hill and through Glover Park and Burleith and rode through Georgetown on M and down Wisconsin. I didn't bother changing into bike clothes, but I took the time to "scarf up" and felt more or less warm enough. There are a few different ways to go from far-ish Northwest to middle-ish Southwest, but I figured the easiest, and perhaps most expeditious, way would be to head down towards the river and bike relatively free of stop signs and stop lights using the Rock Creek Trail, Ohio Drive, and the interim Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. You know, because I'm so blazing fast and the only thing that slows me down is stop signs. Or something.
This plan worked fine, except of course, my forgetting about the wind, which proved unpleasant and proved increasingly unpleasant the closer I rode to the river. I counted two zombie joggers and one superbiker. I think that superbiker was coming from Hains Point, which I think, like Capital Bikeshare, should get a corporate sponsorship. I like Hanes' Hains Point, but I don't think that cotton is nearly wicking enough for the average lap rider down there. Just throwing it out there. Anything really, so long as it's not Cialis.
I rode down the new, wider sidewalked Maine Avenue. I hate to say this, but I'm kind of less than impressed with the improvements. Yeah, it's a lot better and definitely wider and certainly a better surface, but it's still a sidewalk and still has the limitations of a sidewalk. The other difference, I guess, is that bicyclists will be able to pass groups of pedestrians a little bit easier instead of having the ride behind them. I don't know what I was expecting.
The DC DMV has bike parking. This is a very good thing.
I'm not going to go into too many details, but I realized that I had forgotten a key documents for my vehicle registration about 10 minutes into my waiting for my number to be called. I didn't really know if I could BS my way through it (yeah, at a DMV, right?) or whether I'd need it and the whole time waiting would be for naught. I glanced at the big board. I was A110. They were at A86. I decided that I would bike home (about 3 miles, I subsequently learned) and try to bike back and hope to Jeebus that they wouldn't, for the first time ever, become the world's most efficient DMV.
I rode without a hat and gloves and threw the various papers that I had assiduously assembled into my bag and oomphed my way along M street (exceeding maybe 3 miles per hour riding up the hill near the entrance to the (not yet corporately sponsored Old) Navy Yard, up 11th and then down to the house, wherein I startled the dog, rifled through the family papers, grabbed what I thought I needed and threw it back in my bag. I set off again, took South Carolina to 11th, crossed Penn (catching what might have not "officially" been still a yellow light) and then galumphed my way back down M, dreading looking up at the big board to see A111 or some such other number indicating that my time had passed. Back to the bike rack, u-locked to top tube, shuffled inside and looked up to see A96. So much for rushing. The rest of the numbers ticked off pretty steadily and soon enough it was my turn. The employee, Ms. Mayfield, was exceedingly pleasant. I noticed that she had a computer printed picture of Kwame Brown, he of the "fully loaded" SUV scandal, on her cubicle wall. I wonder if that's standard issue. Ms. Mayfield remained pleasant as he told me that since the lease is in both my name and my wife's that we would both need to sign the form. My lack of present wife would prove an impediment and my trip (and frenetic rushing home and back) was essentially for naught and I have to go back again tomorrow. Awesome. I think this is the closest thing to a time trial for a utility cyclist.
Dejected from the DMV experience, I made haste to the nearest bike shop, hoping to drown my sorrows by spending a commuter check or two. I also needed new cleats. There are two bicycle shops close together on Barrack's Row and one of them sells the cleats for $15 more than the other. I'm glad I went to both before making my purchase. I also bought a spare tube, because one should always buy spare tubes. It's like baksheesh to the hobgoblins that cause flats. Yes, I do believe in mystical, flat-causing hobgoblins. Do you have a better explanation? (Other than reality?)
From the bike shops, I went to the grocery store. Six bikes belonging to bicycle police officers were parked out front. Unlocked. I find this to be tremendously badass. I wish I could leave my bike unlocked with impunity. I don't think this is reason enough to pursue a career change into bicycle policing, a job which for which I have tremendous respect and know that I couldn't do even remotely due to a serious of character deficiencies/fear of matching uniforms.
The bike parking at the Jenkins Row Harris Teeter is terrible. Abysmal. Having a gigantic maroon SUV with the license plate MELANIN (dermatologist?!) parked directly in front of it didn't help either.
A reasonably easy trip home. I rode briefly behind a mustachioed cyclist with a crate on his rear rack. The crate was labeled "Crouch Meat for Wendy's Burger Patties." I can't help but think he selected this crate on purpose. The crate held a messenger bag, but I don't know for sure if the messenger back held any ground meat.
It was nice to ride home in the dusk rather than the dark and I'm looking forward to the later sunsets. Soon enough, I suppose. But there's still a lot of winter to go and we haven't even had much snow or freezing rain yet and what's bike commuting without a little bit of texture?