Ride In 1/31:One Year Later

So, it turns out that today is the one year anniversary of this blogging enterprise. I use enterprise rather lightly or mostly incorrectly. Accordingly, in order to not repeat titles for the posts, I'm adding subtitles. Part of me (my gallbladder, I think) just wants to add ":One Year Later" to each post and keep the same naming convention otherwise. However, I don't feel that this word be sporting. Another part thinks that "Tokyo Drift" would be an adequate subtitle for each post, but I think what I'll actually end up doing is trying to add something flavorful (perhaps MSG) after the date. I'm not wedded to this idea, so if you think of anything different, please do let me know. As far as reflection is concerned, I choose not to really engage it. Blogging my bicycle commute for the last year has been mostly ridiculous, but a great deal of fun, in no small part thanks to the many of you who take time out of your busy lives to read and comment on it. The blog has also been an excellent vehicle through which to meet some of you in person, which has been a pleasure without exception. For those of you I don't yet to know, I look forward to meeting you in the coming year, perhaps on the road, perhaps in a coffee shop, perhaps in a bar, perhaps at the zoo, though, to be honest, I'm not a fan of zoos. Thank you all.
Nothing like the balmy temperatures of late January, where the thermometer will probably exceed 60 today. I'd complain, but I'll save that for when the sea levels are washing away the remnants of our civilization/bike facilities in the apocalyptic doomscape that will be our post-climate change future. It'll be more appropriate and dramatic then. Now, I'll just savor the opportunity to ride to work along with plenty of other bike commuters and parallel and separate (hopefully) from even more car commuters, who are really missing out on the joy of a morning bicycle ride. Two of the riders on East Capitol this morning were sock tuckers (I thought they were wearing knickers) and one of the sock tuckers was using her morning ride to talk on her phone to someone, a social activity I think is less than advisable. Sometimes because it makes other bicyclists around you think that you're some kind of crazy person.
Pencil-vania avenue? No, I don't think so.
For some time on Penn, I rode behind a person bundled up in long pants, helmet and and hat and in a yellow reflective vest. 3 blocks behind her and I finally realized it was a woman and this led me to think about bike clothes and androgyny and the cycle chic movement as a way of 'genderizing' bicyclists and I didn't know whether it did that in a bad way or a good way and then I realized that I was way out of my depth, both for thoughts on a morning commute and in general, as I have limited knowledge about a wide variety of subjects and practically no ability to engage in deep thinking. But if anyone has any thoughts on bike clothes and androgyny and WHAT IT ALL MEANS please feel free to email me or send me a copy of your zine.
I wanted to get a picture of tented General McPherson, but I couldn't get my camera to work with my gloves and I didn't want to take my gloves off. I think it looks ridiculous and I worry that the 1% is going to counter-tarp Samuel Gompers and soon all of DC's statuary will be covered in plastic and then I'll have to listen to someone explain how this is indicative of something about post-modernism or post-post-modernism and then I'll have to keep myself from yawning and rolling my eyes and I won't be able to and will then have to deal with the social awkwardness. This is a reductio ad me argument and I don't think it's especially compelling, unless you're the me in question.
I saw Jon on 15th street. I said "hey Jon." He was dragging a kidless kid trailer. I think he was leading the bunch of cyclists recently released from the thrall of the red light at Rhode Island. I love seeing people I know on the bike commute, especially when they're actually people I know and not just people like "that bike messenger with the yellow bike."
Not much special on the crosstown. If you time the lights right and really hustle, you can get from 16th to Dupont without having to stop. I rarely muster the requisite hustle. Today I almost did.
There's a special kind of dickishness that compels a driver to get out of queue and pull into a travel lane that is about to disappear a hundred feet later causing him to merge back in and maybe advance position by one or two places. There should be a name for this. I saw the driver of an ivory Mercedes do this and he cut off the driver of a white BMW to get back in line. It was like Godzilla vs. Rodan.
Never quite know what the driver of a car with diplomatic plates is going to be like. Total crap shoot. Maybe more like roulette. Anyway, sometimes you get lots of space, sometimes not. Mostly not.
Every once in a while, I'll try to see if I can catch up to a bicyclist who's out in front of me. Today, I almost got to the guy on the orange Motobecane and I think that if I had another 10 seconds before he stopped to cross the street, I would have done it. It's not so much a competition as just a way to break the monotony. Of course, had I caught him, it would have been a competition and I would have one. Bicyclists are excellent self-rationalizers. Ask one about stopping at stop signs some time. Anyway, the guy was wearing jeans and I think a Bern helmet and maybe some Chrome shoes. Bike commuter 2.0. or something.
I'm really looking forward to the ride home. Won't be long now.


  1. Since we haven't met in person, I guess I fall into the "that guy who rides the ___" category of people you know. I'm that guy who rides the green Raleigh with the front basket. Yeah... I caught you checking out my basket the other day. That's okay, I don't mind being objectified when it's about my bike.

    Actually, I saw you again today - just as that BMW tried to right hook you at 15th & K (what do you call a right hook when it's oncoming traffic and you're in a cycle track on the left side of the road? Maybe the English have a term for it). BTW, it had to be a BMW, didn't it?

  2. @Kyle I will readily admit to ogling your basket. I'm a sucker for front baskets. Now that I know it's you, I will not hesitate to accost you more fully. I'm sure you are know regretting your comment. I think it's just called a "left hook" or maybe a "left cross" if we want to stick with the boxing terminology. And yes, it's always a BMW. Always.

  3. Happy Anniversary!
    I look forward to meeting you at coffee, if I must, but frankly the zoo is much more convenient for me.

  4. I am pretty sure our paths have not intersected as my commute does not enter the district. I congratulate you on your perseverence with this blog. I took it upon myself to take at least one picture for each bike commute last year. I saw the exercise through to the last (145th) commute but found it pretty tedious.

    I have been wondering how you remmeber all the details of your commute. Most of my commutes are forgettable. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Work. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Home.

  5. @ultrarunngirl Maybe we can get coffee at the zoo? Does the zoo sell coffee?
    @Rootchopper Yeah, it's definitely an exercise in perseverance more than anything else. But I think the (rather modest) qualified "success" of the blog comes from the repetition. If I wanted to get all grad school, I'd say that the bike commute blog is a mimetic enterprise, but as I said in the post, I'd rather not engage in too much reflection. At least not without beer.
    It can get somewhat tedious, but I think one of my main advantages is bicycling on streets instead of trails and benefiting from the cars and people and all that. There's normally at least something that I can string out into at least part of a post. And when not, there's normally something on my mind vaguely bike related that I can string out into a paragraph or two. I've never had to make anything up, which I think says a lot about the benefits of bike commuting. It's like tv on wheels.

    1. TV on wheels! Exactly. I used to say that running in a marathon was like a movie. Same idea.

  6. Brian, congrats on a year of blogging -- I always enjoy reading your posts, and I thought of you this morning, as I was riding up 7th Street from the Mall, interrupted by 7 horn-blasts in quick succession, from a Lexus driver who then pulled around me only to have to stop 11 feet later, behind a UPS truck with its hazards on. I hope he enjoyed passing me half as much as I enjoyed passing him twice, at the next two traffic lights.

    The Lexus drivers are fewer in number, but they certainly match the behavior of many BMW and Mercedes and (occasionally) Audi-driving denizens of the DC area.

  7. I haven't had a daytime commute for months so it's hard to figure out if I recognize anyone, but maybe when it's light during my ride I'll see you and wave (most likely on East Capitol in the evening) or say hi if we are at the same stoplight. I'd also be tempted to shoal you just for shits and gigs, but maybe that's not such a good idea. Until then, happy anniversary!

  8. Congratulations on the year of blogging! Can't wait for more rush hour bike-lane induced thoughts on cycle chic and the genderization of cycling. My zine is in flux right now so I can't send you my own article about it at this time.

  9. I've been riding the folding bike this winter, anticipating having to take it home with me on the train a lot in bad weather, but it's been so nice, I think I've only had to do that twice so far. Today was so warm, I could roll up my pant leg and have exposed skin for the first time since October.