Ride In 2/2: Not Making Any References to Groundhogs or Days

A sort of sneaky nice morning, one when I wouldn't have expected the weather to be as receptive to bicycling, especially when only seeing the wet roads and overcast sky from behind the glass of our front window. But it didn't really rain (at least not when I was out) and the temperatures were warm enough to go gloveless and hatless, but no so warm as to feel the slightest bit of sweat. I don't know what it means that this is the weather in early February, a time when abominable snowmen should be building igloos or something, but I'll take it.
One of my bigger pet peeves is when a drivers decide that rather than block an intersection, where they might inconvenience another driver, to instead pull into the bike lane, where they will most assuredly inconvenience a bicyclists. This happens most frequently when a driver decides to unadvisedly pull through a green light even though car traffic is backed up or made a right turn, even though there's no room for them to actually complete the turn. Bike lanes are not for car overflow. I mean, I'm not going to smash anyone windshield with a baseball bat over it (it's a fairly minor annoyance), but it's an entirely avoidable bit of selfishness that I see every day.
Sometimes you see a guy on a moped and he's wearing an orange vest with Straz Miejska written on the back in black marker. Ok, not so much sometimes, as in, just once and this morning. I didn't know what Straz Miejska meant until I looked it up when I got to work, but here's some advice: you see foreign words written in marker on the back of an orange safety vest, don't mess with the dude! I didn't know DC had a moped-borne Polish civic police force, but One City, right?
Congress is back and the tourists are back too. Maybe it's time to ride in the streets again.
Long time friend of the blog, Michael has shared with me some awesome bike-related stuff on his site and I'd be remiss if I didn't use this platform to foist it on you. Here's a great map of DC area bike shops that is also overlaid with all twit-ish locales like cupcakeries and bowling alleys. I think that bike shop location mapped next to Capital Bikeshare location is a good idea, especially when you're thinking about bringing your bike in for maintenance and want to figure out how best to get home. He also has a Bikeshare usage map which is pretty cool, too.
Another Jon sighting! This time at the intersection of Penn and 14th. He tried to warn about the terrible traffic conditions between White House and Dupont (thanks National Prayer Breakfast!), but as a bicycle commute blog I'm always torn about what to do regarding traffic disasters. I could avoid them by rerouting, like a sensible person, or I COULD RIDE INTO THE STORM, like those tornado guys in order to collect scientific anecdotal data for NOAA this blog. So here's the report: I Street was bad and so was K. At both crossings, it was difficult to avoid the buses and cars blocking the crosswalks. Though, it really is the fault of pedestrians. They're the ones who cause traffic. That explains why the Beltway is so bad every morning. It was a little bad at Massachusetts, but by Rhode Island it was more or less fine. Volume picked up once more on R and was heavy again through Dupont Circle. On R Street, I rode behind a girl who was wearing both olive green (jacket) and mustard yellow (shirt) and I feel like she should win some award from a local deli.
By the Ross school, a woman used the stopped traffic in order to cross the street midblock, unaware that bicyclists might be using the open bike lane. I saw her and slowed down, my brakes making a monstrous noise, amplifying the "drama" of the whole affair. She had a weird look on her face, so I said "It sounded a lot worse than it [my stopping] was. It's ok," but then I think the look on her face changed to one of "why are you talking to me?" so I regretted saying anything. I guess I didn't become too bashful though, since when I saw a driver almost left hook a bicyclist on Massachusetts, I said to her "Don't worry. He'll get you next time." because there's nothing like black humor from a total stranger.

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