I took some time to adjust my front brake pads last night and to install new rear pads and to the best of my knowledge, my bicycle remained operable this morning, or at least operable enough to get me to work. With the new chain and the new cassette, my bike seemed like it was running better than ever. Nothing like a well-maintained bicycle to make one's commute easier.
It almost rained this morning, but it didn't and I was happy for it. I think it might be raining now and will most likely be raining when I head home. That should at least wash away some of the salt, or maybe just create Dead Sea-like conditions along Pennsylvania Avenue.
How many of you coordinate your helmet color with your jacket color? I pass a woman nearly everyday whose purple helmet is almost the exact same shade as her winter coat. Maybe she's sponsored by Grimace. I don't know.
I haven't taken a different route to work in a while and I still didn't this morning. Maybe tomorrow. I'm just somewhat certain that the way I go is the way that's most convenient and perhaps most expedient, especially insofar as getting from Armory West to downtown is concerned. Route planning is simultaneously one of my favorite and least favorite things about bicycling. Lots of potential for variability, but this is only rarely utilized.
Watching the car traffic back-ups at the usual places car traffic backs up, I wondered a little about the idea of 'mindless driving.' That's not to say driving without a mind, which is prevalent in the hypnotized community (I once attended Hypnotics Anonymous, but we couldn't get anywhere because this guy clucked like a chicken every time someone said "My name is"), but just getting in a car and driving without questioning whether there's another (and perhaps better) way of getting somewhere, like biking, walking or transit. Cap'n Transit hits on the same kind of idea with the Law of Transportation Mode Inertia, which I encourage you to read. Simply put, I'm just not quite sure how dynamic anyone's thinking (including mine and other bike commuters) is concerning the different ways by which we can get to work. We make choices and we repeat those choices and then the choices become habits and habits become hard to break. Not as hard to break at Hobbits, but still pretty hard.
I forgot to bring coffee again this morning. That's twice in a row. Ruins my commute. At stop lights I just have to stand look and look like some guy who's just doing nothing. I'm convinced that a lot of people smoke just so they can be doing something when they're standing around outside.
At K Street, a guy on a yellow mountain bike shoaled on by. He had money ($20 bills) visible through the mesh pockets of his backpack. I guess he wanted to make it easy for lobbyists.
Saw Jon in the cycletrack today, kid trailer in tow. We're going to WABA today to give them the $$$ earned from the button sales/ride blogging. I haven't yet secured a comically large check, so it might just need to be a regular-sized check, which is boring. I hope WABA doesn't mind getting one of my adorable kitty checks.
I spent much of my westward journey thinking about bike commuting as backgammon, something I've written about before and won't rehash here. I might eventually elaborate on those ideas and submit the article to Bike Commuting and Backgammon Quarterly, a Conde Nast publication. I wonder how the publishing industry loses money. Very few bicyclists about, but I did see a fellow bike commuter talking with the crossing guard at New Hampshire. He's a very pleasant man.
There's some kind of sweater affixed somehow to a tree along R between Connecticut and Florida. I don't get it. Maybe someone yarn-bombed the tree? One of these days I actually stop and try to figure out what it is or why it might be there.
Fun fact: a new Pakistani Embassy building will be kind of around the corner from the Indian Embassy. They're going to be neighbors and we all know how well that's worked out. I've been wondering if paying countries foreign aid in USD with the caveat that they have to spend it on embassy construction would be some kind of backdoor economic stimulus for the domestic construction trade. I'm co-authoring a book on foreign policy with Rube Goldberg. It's sort of like promoting travel to your country to boost supplies of foreign currency (which based on the bus ads, I believe Iceland is doing) but probably not nearly as economically efficient or useful.
Rode behind another up-Mass bike commuter this morning. I actually went out in the road to pass her since my legs were feeling all right and I didn't want to continue to feel afraid of riding in the road, which is ridiculous to admit, but entirely true. I just don't like getting passed too closely by drivers going 50. Is that so wrong?
It's cool when the third stopped driver looking to make a left turn which the two drivers in front of him doesn't think is possible to do before the light changes decides to honk and act like an ass. It's even cooler when all three drivers decide to make the turn after the light turns red, even though there's a bicyclist trying to cross the intersection with a green light. Funny that he though my look of indignation funny. Oh well.