Ride In 2/15: Oxford Constables Make Oxford Collars

I live on a fairly quiet street between two less quiet ones and one block away from an east-west street with bike lanes, so I don't see too many bicyclists on my street since it's not really a major thoroughfare and it parallels one with bike lanes. This morning, when I stepped outside with my bike, a superbiker happened to be pedaling by, which as the first sentence might indicate, is something a rarity. He said "nice set-up," presumably about my bike and not about the first few sentences of this post which are both attenuated and somewhat unclear. I said "thanks" and then "your's too," even though I couldn't really tell you much about his bike other than it was a road bike and had skinny tires. "Nice set-up" is a nice pleasantry and one that I've used before and it sort of made me smile that someone complimented the "set-up" (which could mean anything) of my bicycle. He probably didn't know about my ongoing chain skipping problems (which I think I'll try to have addressed tonight) or my desire to entirely overhaul the "set-up" of my bike.
I hate when I don't see a pedestrian in a crosswalk until too late and don't stop. It happens sometimes when I'm in the bike lane and the person is walking across traffic and they're blocked by an SUV or some other kind of tall-ish car. I feel like a jackass when it happens, even when I apologize. Yet another argument for taking the lane? I don't know. Maybe just an argument for lucite SUVs.
More green bikes today. Green is the new every other color.
I think my favorite part about writing these posts is trying to remember all of the people, on bikes and otherwise, who temporarily drop into my life and then leave it. That's probably a sad metaphor for something even sadder, but it's at least a little true. And then there's the whole business of trying to figure out who to mention. Do I write about the lady on the vintage mixte, who I thought would turn right right into me? How about the guy with the leather gladstone bag tucked on the rack behind his kid in the kidseat? Or the guy on the red road bike who waited with me briefly at the light at 3rd and Penn, before making a left-turn and heading off who knows where? And did the man jogging in the middle of the bike lane really want me to ask him about public charter schools, as the words on the back of his shirt suggested? I would have preferred to ask him about why he was jogging in the bike lane, but as a compromise, I declined to ask him anything. Maybe next time.
Remember when they (?) said that the 15th street cycle track would be extended to Euclid and to Constitution? I do. This was from August 2010, which is roughly 27 DC government scandals ago, which is pretty much a lifetime. I just think that extending the cycletrack to Constitution might be a really nice thing to do before the Bikeshare stations are placed on the Mall. You know, so people could bike from the Mall to the White House in some protected bike infrastructure. Just throwing that out there. I'm fairly certain that I (through blogging sorcery) summoned that Stoddert Bikeshare station into existence, so maybe the same thing will happen here.
Looks like the DC Bicycle Advisory Committee has some vacancies. If anyone wants to be Vincent Orange's appointee (and for comedy reasons, one should), now's your chance. Someone needs to advocate for fictitious bike parking at the fictitious Ward 5 strip clubs.
I think the Jamis is gone, probably forever. Maybe the guy just moved it inside. In any case, it's not there and that's one less thing for me to write about. Doesn't the owner know I depend on shit like this for filler? Some people.
There's something about the timing of the lights on 15th street that causes bicyclists to bunch at Rhode Island and then there's something about bicyclists that causes them to act all crazy when that light turns green and start racing southward as quickly as possible, which makes me have to either hold my ground or nearly ride into the bollards. One woman actually left the cycletrack and salmoned on 15th so she could get around me and the other people she was racing against. Um, if the lights are timed the same way as they are in the evening, you're going to get stuck at Mass anyway, so, um, why is this happening? Also, shouldn't the stretch of blocks between Rhode Island and Massachusetts have some funny neighborhood nickname like Woonsocket?
Kids, don't do stupid stuff borne of vanity. Kids, also if your parents are letting you read this drivel, you'd be better off orphaned. Anyway, here's what happened. I got shoaled. Shoal me once, shame on you. So when the light changed, I passed the guy, and just because, I decided that I would ride in the drops and see how fast I could go in the bike lane. And this was all well and good until a taxi driver decided that he would leave the travel lane, try to cross the bike lane and get into the right-turn lane. Which he mostly did, but with enough room to allow me to come to a complete stop. So I slowed and squeaked, but I ended up having to use the rear right side of the car to come to a complete stop from the 3 miles per hour that I was then going, placing my gloved left hand near the gas tank and avoiding my bike actually coming into contact with the vehicle. Long story short, it was fine. It was barely even anything, but, generally speaking, one looks to not collide into things, even when going quite slowly. The driver said "My fault." Yes, that's incontrovertible. I said "We both got lucky this time." Then he said "I'm sorry" and I said "no worries." And then he didn't even make the right turn, instead moved his car back into the lane from which he had just exited. Also, the shoal guy caught up to me and ended up in front of me again on R when I decided to ride on the sidewalk to try to avoid some construction and ended up behind an old lady. So, here's the takeaway: bike lanes aren't for going fast and getting stupidly competitive about the relative speed with which one can operate a bicycle vis-a-vis a totally contrived positional hierarchy relative to stop lights is a dumb and you shouldn't do it. Implicitly, I know this, but maybe I should know it explicitly, too.
Mary Poppins Effect test while riding behind a helmetless blonde on Massachusetts. I didn't notice anything different from the drivers. She did the thing that some bicyclists do when riding in the door zone, which is move immediately to right (away from traffic) when there's a break in the parked cars, just to move back into the door zone when the parked cars appear again. It's probably better just to keep your line, but what do I know? I slowly collided with a taxicab, so I'm hardly one to give advice.


  1. If real estate agents ever successfully rebrand those blocks Woonsocket (or even Seekonk or Watuppa), I'm moving immediately.

  2. It would be really nice if the 15th St cycletracks extended up to Euclid. As it is, I generally move to the right lane at U and continue up, which is not ideal.

    I think YOU should be Vincent Orange's appointee. I think I might start a Twitter campaign to make it happen.

  3. Be careful with Vincent Orange's eventual appointee. His/Her hidden agenda will be to take all the solid lines that define bike lanes and make them dashed lines, ostensibly to save money, but really to allow him to breach them as needed in his Mercedes.

  4. I spotted my first "Tales from the Sharrows" button in the wild headed eastbound on E. Capitol on this morning's commute.

    At a stoplight I came up to a stop behind a guy (I never shoal) and noticed a familiar symbol on a button attached to the back of his pannier. I said, "Hey, a Tales from the Sharrows button!" just as the light was turning green. He looked back at me, but rode onward. I caught up with him at the next light and introduced myself. Apparently, I just met your friend Brian.

    Next time you see him, tell him the guy with the blue Big Dummy says hello.

  5. dcdouglas: I think that was me - only *westbound on E. Capitol this morning, right? You called at me at 4th St., and then we caught up with each other at 3rd St? (that light is always timed badly). I appreciate the non-shoal of course :)

    As I continued on down the hill and onto Pennsylvania, I figured this is why I love bike commuting - on how many car commutes can you say you shake hands, say hello to, and smile at your fellow commuters?