The first few minutes of my ride reminded me of 28 Days Later. Not the flesh-eating zombie part, but the empty streets part. Apparently, not many people have the pleasure of working on New Year's Day (Observed) and traffic was minimal to non-existent. Except of course for trash men and a couple of zombie joggers (maybe 28 Days Later was a metaphor for jogging culture?), who circled Lincoln Park in trudgery (neologism?) like Francesa and Paolo. (If Dante were a local bike blogger, the NPS would stand in place of Boniface VIII. I'm fairly certain this is the first time in the history of the internet that someone started a sentence with "If Dante were a local bike blogger)...
To avoid continuing to ride behind a garbage truck, I rode an empty Massachusetts away from the park, catching green light after green light and arriving at a still-yet-unfinished Columbus Circle/Union Station fairly beat. After not riding for a while, I never know how I'm going to feel when I get back on the bike. Sometimes it spry and springing and
sprat and other times, like today, I just feel belabored and oafish. I even set myself up for self-determined success by putting air in my tires and lubing my chain, but sometimes your body just isn't quite up to something as mundane as a bicycle commute. Given the diverging options of PUSHING THROUGH IT INTO THE RED ZONE and just going a little slower in a lower gear- well, I don't really need to tell you what I did. My red zone is barely yellow.
E Street is a perfectly adequate cross-town route, running from essentially one end of the Mall to the 15th street cycletrack. It's direct, but it's not necessarily the best if you don't like stopping at red lights. Also a little undulating. I can't presume to know whether you like undulations, but I have no strong opinions about them.
Near the White House, I saw my first fellow bike commuter. He and I both had to work around a weird security barrier/caution tape assemblage constructed by the security guards. It's like some weird post-9/11 Cristo shit out there sometimes. I don't get it.
At 15th and K, I regretted not having my thermos. I would have enjoyed the coffee. I took advantage of the light traffic to jaywheel across K, a first. I didn't get a prize. After all, lawbreaking is hardly opening a box of Cracker Jacks. I got to wait at the next light instead. Most jaywheeling isn't worth it.
On 15th, I saw the
Great Citrus-mobile a Volvo with a sticker that said "Darwin Loves You." It was either put there by an evolutionist or its part of a very aggressive Australian tourism campaign. In either case, unless if provides me some advantage as far as natural selection is concerned, I don't think it matters.
Let's pause a moment from this riveting retelling and reflect upon the recent success of the button-selling campaign. It was a success and thanks to your immense generosity, WABA will be getting some serious coin. Perhaps a Krugerrand. And I'm fairly certain it will be put to good use, like a handlebar-mounted caviar holder on their newly elected president's DuraAce Mongoose. But if they don't use it for that, they'll probably use it to advance the ends of safety and inclusion for all bicyclists. I will be shipping the remaining buttons tomorrow and will be coordinating with those of you who ordered a tuxedo delivery or a ride-blog. If you ordered a button before 12/22 and did not receive it or received an empty envelope from something called "TFTS World Headquarters", please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get your replacement to you as soon as possible. Once again, I thank all of you so very much.
Along R, I encountered another bicyclist heading my way. He did the thing where he moved very far over into the crosswalk at an intersection, making the gesture that I pass him. That's fine, but I think it's totally unnecessary. I'm of the belief that the burden of movement should be on the passer, especially because I was pretty content to keep riding behind him. But my yellow jacket must have made me look like some serious must-go-fast bike type and I'm guessing he just wanted nothing to do with me. Bike-specific clothing doesn't make you any faster (in a commute, for the most part), but sometimes they give the impression that you might/could ride faster. even when this isn't close the case. I huffed along.
What about that part where I biked uphill for a while? I'd rather not talk about that. It was a bit ugly. The biking, not the scenery. Also, the wind, while in reality quite insignificant, was enough to make me feel like I was riding even slower. Or perhaps, this is the latent psychological effect of driving around all week. Sure, let's go with that one. Each ride will get a little better and on the whole, I couldn't be happier to be back on the bike. And considering how potentially miserable January weather could be, I'm really quite happy with the conditions that greeted me this morning. No reason to pick nits.