2/7/12

Ride Home 2/7: I got the date right this time. Why did no one tell me this morning?

I don't blog anonymously or pseudonymously (though I tweet somewhat pseudonymously now, but that's a relatively recent development) and I've never really made a great effort to disguise who I am or what I'm all about (bike commuting, moderately priced gouda) when I write posts on Tales From The Sharrows or Tales From the Cheese Cheese (blog forthcoming), but I don't really advertise either. For example, none of my current or former coworkers, to the best of my knowledge, know that this is how I waste my lunch time.  My professional self (whatever that means) is relatively distinct from my unprofessional self (slouchy bike blogger) and I don't necessarily feel the need to reconcile those two things, because honestly, this is a fairly niche project. That's why it caught me by surprise today, when, pulling away from the bike rack, an approaching (and then passing) cyclist said "Brian?" and I was like "yeah?' and he was like "Sharrows?" and I was like "Yeah?" and he was like "I know your blog" and I was like "Yeah?" (Note: all conversations relayed herein are based more on my perception of them rather than the reality of them, hence not verbatim) Anyway, I was happy to meet sometimes commenter Adam (We Ride North), who told me that he wondered if he'd ever run into me since I make no mystery about commuting to where I commute. I complimented his bike, which I've admired at the rack previously (a Jake the Snake from Bicycle Space. Erik and Jordan got shout-outs, as they should) and he wished me a safe ride home and I wished him a good class. He seemed like I nice guy and I wish that I had talked to him some more, but there's always next time.
Presidential motorcades are cool, right? But what are vice presidential motorcades?
Trust me. Biden's there somewhere. 
Anyway, a Secret Service guy blocked both travel lanes on Mass and at the stopped traffic, I hopped up on the sidewalk and rode another 20 or so yards before stopping. He was out of his cruiser, looked over apologetically and said "it'll just be a minute." Dude, I commute by bike: a minute isn't a big deal. He was pretty friendly about it, which isn't always the case with Secret Service. But, it's just the Vice President, so, yeah.
Someone might have honked at me on lower Massachusetts, so I did what I always do when someone honks at me, which is nothing.
I rode past a red SUV with the license plate FEAR ME. It's rare that bad drivers advertise, so thanks.
Engaging in wrong-way riding in a bike lane is a jerk thing to do. Especially when there's a bike lane on the street one block over that goes in the direction you're heading. Come on, man. I declined to make eye contact. I have beautiful eyes, so this is a terrible punishment (I'm joking. My eyes are only ok. But I still didn't acknowledge him. Cold shoulder and whatnot. He knew he was doing wrong.).
I need to figure out a better way to get from 11th to Pennsylvania. Any suggestions? I find myself in the right lane on 11th and can't merge into the left-er two turn lanes to get to Penn, so sometimes I cut across the crosswalk and other times I sort of make my way into the middle of Penn, let the left-turning cars go, and then cross when the light is red.
While there's always a little bit of tension between "racing" bike commuting, rarely have I ever seen a bike commuter display such anger and bile as what I encountered tonight. I was riding along on the right hand side of the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane and the woman in front of me was riding slightly to the left of the center line or maybe right on the center line. In any case, we were both just bopping along, when from behind us, another woman, she of the green jacket, said in a tone I could best describe as needlessly mad, "Ride on the right so those of us going faster can pass on the left!" Angry. First of all, why be so angry? An "excuse me" would probably have worked. And secondly. why the verbose explanation? Yes, that's what it would say in a bicycling handbook, but you don't need a whole sentence to get the point across. So the woman in front of me moved over and then green jacket beat us both to the red light, where we stopped. In the mean time, I ran over something plastic and I worried that what I had run over fell out of my pocket, so at the light I asked yet another female cyclist (THERE IS NO WAY THAT FEMALE BICYCLE COMMUTERS IN WASHINGTON DC ARE A MINORITY, but I digress) what that might have been and she suggested a reflector and I checked my pockets and everything I thought were in there were still in there, so I didn't worry. In the mean time, the light turned green and the race was off again and it was intense and silly. By the Capitol, the passed-woman rode on the wrong-side of the parking lot before Grant Circle and I passed the green jacketed cyclist and declined to say anything (because really, why be petty) and then it was up the hill and down East Capitol and home. At Lincoln Park, I think green jacket was again behind me, but I didn't really look back. I'm just going to give everyone in this situation the benefit of the doubt (in case they're reading! [yeah right]), but it's just a reminder that no matter the mode of transportation, sometimes people get annoyed at other people and have expectations that those around them comport themselves in a particular way and aren't afraid of saying as much.

5 comments:

  1. A mom, dad, and little girl were strolling in the bike lane on 14th St north of DCUSA this morning, I yelled the first and only thing that came to mind, a TFTS classic, "NO!"

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. She can't have been going THAT fast if she had time to deliver that diatribe at the both of you. Just a thought.

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