Gaggles of bike types out today, in spite of the wind. A group of four of us bunched up along Pennsylvania Avenue and it felt very competitive and very male and a little more intense than the normal morning ride. There was the one guy on the old single-speed with the chain guard and the leather mudflap on his rear fender. He was wore a light blue wool cap with the image of a stylized moose on it. And there was another guy on a crappy looking, over-suspensioned cheap-o "mountain" bike. I don't remember his headgear. And the last guy, the guy who I think started the whole fake competitive thing was riding a Bianchi road bike. Anyway, the whole thing made me think about the concept of Commuter Pace (CP), that speed at which each individual bike commuter finds him or herself to be comfortable and progressing at the desired rate. It really is an individual preference and varies widely between bicyclists. CP has no real relation to your overall "fastitude" (not even close to a real word) that you might demonstrate on some recreational ride or anything. And since CP is so variable, it's really nothing to be competitive about. You don't win a medal for having a high CP. You just get to work all sweaty. You also don't win a medal for being all wiley, as I was when I left the center bike lane and moved into the right turn lane so I could proceed up 15th while Mr. Bianchi got stuck at the light. You just get to self-satisfiedly blog about it, I guess.
I'm happy to see more bicyclists riding through the non-taped security bollards. It really is safer than riding on the crowded sidewalks there. Just don't ride into a bollard.
I left 15th for M, which is one way west, and rode in the left lane the entire time. Except for when the left lane becomes a turn lane because every single freaking stupid street downtown is one way and it's very annoying. I don't know how the cycletrack on M is going to work- whether it'll be one-way or two or whether it'll flow with traffic or be contra-flow or whether it'll be on the north or south side of the street. Whatever it's going to be, it'll be better than having nothing, I guess. It wasn't exactly harrowing, but the width of the one-directionality of the street does lend itself to speeding cars. Nonetheless, it doesn't seem to deter cyclists as I saw plenty of them.
I turned down 20th and this was the wrong street. I ended up locking my bike a few blocks away and walking. The coffee was excellent and I think I drunk a gallon of it. A large, apparently, is served in something bigger than a normal cup and smaller than a bathtub. Not much smaller, though. I commented afterward that these coffee meet-ups are pretty much a distillation of everything I like (coffee, camaraderie, talking about bikes) and I said that if we added beer, they'd pretty much be perfect. But I thought about it and that's not really true. We'd need pizza too.
From Bourbon (or from the quarter mile away from Bourbon where my bike was locked up), I rode 20th towards Dupont. There's a little hill there that I was quite expecting. I also wasn't expecting the number of inconsiderate pedestrians who thought nothing of walking right in front of me as I was about to bike by. Bike blindness, I guess. Not worth scowling, I suppose.
Around Mass, the wind really started to pick up and I must have looked like a pathetic lummox barely able to move forward. Maybe I should have gotten off and pushed. I don't know. I think the best demeanor for a bicycle commuter is one of detachment and effortlessness, not trying very hard and certainly not "suffering." I didn't live up to that standard today.
I hate it when a driver can't be bothered to look before changing lanes. Some jackass almost got me when he pulled out from behind a dump truck that had stopped to turn left, without looking to see if anyone was in the right lane. He managed to get out in front of me and I braked enough to avoid riding into him. I yelled "stop" as I saw him do it, but to no avail. Some guy who was walking his dog looked on the other side of the street looked up to see what had happened. I wonder what he thought of the whole thing. I gave one of the all-too-common left-handed open-fisted frustrated shakes at the driver, but I don't even know if he saw. He certainly didn't acknowledge me in any way. I was going to stay mad, but then I saw a license plate (and this is totally true) that said LIMIN8 H8 and I took that as a sign from Jeebus or Zeus or whatever deity/demigod in charge of fortuitously placed and situationally apt license plates that I should just calm down and be happy that nothing bad actually happened.