Ride In 2/21: Have a cantaloupe, Lassie

Sometimes you're the lead guitarist, thrashing through power chords with a raw energy and other times you're in the back with the tambourine, beating it against the front of your leg and swaying side to side. Today was a tambourine day for me. I was more than content to sit patiently behind the riders in front of me, let them dictate the pace and just have a mindless morning of gentle pedaling while looking at the backs of other people's coats.
My tires are great and I almost certainly will never pick up a flat from using them (which is why I bought them) but they're rather unforgiving and have reasonably unfun rolling resistance, making a lot of trips seem more like slogs than they should be. I think I might swap them out when it gets nicer, which will be approximately 2 days from now. I don't know. I'm confident that as soon as I switch tires, I'll immediately ride over a nail. But that's what I get for living in an old converted nail factory.
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, I watched the cyclist in front of me have to swerve to avoid a pedestrian standing directly in the middle of the bike lane at the intersection, rather than a few feet back in the part of the mid-street pedestrian refuge that isn't marked as a bike lane. Personally, I think it's sort of obvious that there's a bike lane there and it might be a good idea not to stand in it, especially when one can see oncoming bicyclists (who were plentiful), but maybe it's not actually obvious and I'm just in some sort of bike bubble. I don't know how, without re-engineering the lanes (again), it could be made more obvious that there's a cycletrack. Maybe glitter? Neon lights? Bouncers and velvet ropes? Bike lane heralds whose sole job is to trumpet the arrival on bicyclists and thereby clear the area with a blast of their horns? It shouldn't be so hard to peacefully coexist, and yet here I am suggesting velvet ropes and trumpets.
My decision to turn right and follow another bicyclist up 11th was based in part from commuter ennui. I've taken more or less than same route to and from work for the past couple of weeks and I wanted to break it up a bit and do something marginally different. I mean, I ride 11th every day, but do I ever ride in north? I think I've done it once before, but not in months. It was mostly fine. A lot of pot holes. A goodly amount of manhole covers. Wide enough streets, though the guy in front of me, black coat, earmuffs, road bike, chose to  ride in the door zone, so I decided to do the same. Sparse car traffic and no one opening their car doors made this just fine. A bike lane on 11th would be nice. It would basically shortcut the "need" for the laughable bike/bus lanes on 7th and 9th. Were I DC bike czar (not a real position...yet), I'd try to space out the north-south downtown bike lanes every 4 or 5 blocks, so 15th, 11th, 6th and 1st NW. That seems like a reasonable thing to do. Of course, were I actually bike czar, I'd probably end up on Fox News and/or deposed.
It was nice to ride uptown behind another person, since I'm almost never traveling in the same direction as anyone else in the morning. I wonder where the guy was going. He turned down Rhode Island and I turned left at R and for a few blocks, I had a slightly different commute from normal and then it was the normal commute again.
I think that passing a bicyclist on the right is rude and poor form. I don't know if bicycling draws iconoclasts and libertarians who like to flout rules and conventions (I flout Comic-Con, nearly daily) or whether there's simply not enough standardized guidelines to proper behavior in traffic that no 'norming' can actually take place, and far be it from me to actually tell other people what to do, but there's a certain sense in behaving in a predictable, logical manner. I'm not even talking about following the law, which, being a Comic-Con flouting iconoclastic libertarian, I don't especially care for, but a separate set of guidelines by which bicyclists operate vis-a-vis ourselves. You know, like a social contract.
I spent from 15th to past Dupont Circle riding behind a woman wearing a green coat. I'm sorry that I don't remember more about her. Her coat was very green and it apparently wiped my memory with its greenness, like a high-powered magnet would do to a computer.
Budget Rental Trucks, U-Hauls, and the like are probably the most dangerous vehicles to bike near. This is because, unlike other larger vehicles in operation, these rental vans are operated by amateurs with little knowledge and experience and limited awareness concerning the size and parameters of their trucks. Being passed by one within two feet is decidedly unpleasant. I'm usually fairly ambivalent to bad driver behavior, willing to say 'no harm, no foul,' because really, why dwell on what could have, but thankfully, didn't happen? But I must have eaten the morose-flavored Pop Tart this morning and I was more bothered than usual about how someone else's lack of care for my well-being could have had such terrible consequences. Some days it's great to the "vanguard of the revolution" (all bike commuters are Bolsheviks. Dan Maes was right!), thinking that you know something "special" and what you're doing is somehow paving the way for others and helping the advance of a better, greener and more sustainable future (even if you don't brag about it). Other days you just think how much bullshit it is that you could've gotten hit by a truck by a driver who doesn't care on a road that doesn't cater to you by a government that barely acknowledges you in a society than vaguely disdains you. I recommend the former over the latter.
Well, that was glum. Sorry. To make up for it, here's a picture of Ellie the Poodle, looking cute.
"I'm cute"
As always, thanks for reading. See you on the ride home.


  1. I feel you on the vacilitating emotions about being a cyclist. I just hang in for the next ride. And by the way, I'm all for glitter in the bike lanes. Who do I call?

  2. ROGUE GLITTERING!!! What time do we meet?