Ride In 2/23: Shrimp Scampi

One of those mornings where the carryover effect of bicycling is a happiness that isn't immediately crushed by sitting down at your desk and opening your email. It was just that nice out. Hard to believe it's late February.
Another day on the Haul and another day wearing work clothes, albeit with sneakers and untucked shirt. It might have been cold enough for a jacket, but that would have spoiled the illusion. Nothing quite captures joie de vivre like an untucked dress shirt. And I'm all about joie de vivre, which is French for lazy and unkempt.
Every morning, I expect to see lines of bicyclists out on East Capitol and every morning I'm woefully disappointed. Maybe a couple here and there, but it's not like there are caravans or anything, which is a shame, because I think that the Hill (including Armory West) might be the residential area most saturated with bike infrastructure, has relatively calm residential streets and even the arterials (I hate this word. It makes me think of heart disease) like E Capitol, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and C NE have bike lanes and fairly low speed limits. Maybe the good weather just snuck up on everyone. Or maybe I'm leaving too early or too late. Or maybe it's downtown infrastructure that's the problem and people won't bike off the Hill. I don't know.
I wore a helmet today. May you judge accordingly.
I spent much of my ride behind a guy on a CaBi. He was wearing jeans and a jacket and looked like a normal person. "Bike commuters- they're just like us!" coming to a tabloid near you. Does anyone have a strong opinion about what a bicyclist should do when he needs to stop to take off his jacket, as did the CaBi guy in front of me? He stayed in the bike lane and I rode around him, but there's probably a case to be made that he should leave the bike lane out of courtesy to fellow bicyclists. I wasn't especially bothered, because, really, there are more important things in life (space exploration, corn chips), but I know that some of you have strong opinions about these kinds of things and I'd like to solicit them. Sometimes I stop at a light to check my phone or put something in my bag (corn chips mostly) and I don't know if I should be pulling off to the side or whatever.
I wanted to Storify this, but I sort of determined that it would take too long, so I'll just reduce it what happened into the usual TFTS-approved stilted narrative. You can read my twitter if you want play-by-play and analysis. Some driver parked his car in the 15th street cycletrack. Here's a picture:

At the time, I called him an ass hat and I deeply regret that, mostly because the correct term is asshat (one word). Long story short, enough people (the entirety of #bikeDC, so like 17 of us) complained about this on twitter that Jack Evans (Ward 2) roused the powers that be at DDOT and DCDPW and MPD and whatever other members of the local alphabet soup that handle parking enforcement and the car has now been towed. But not before the following: a parking ticket (which was there when I first saw it), a broken side mirror and a hilarious note. I applaud whomever left the note and I'll just assume that the mirror was broken accidentally because [DISCLAIMER] vandalism is wrong, even when someone parks in a cycletrack. I'd like to thank the many people who saw fit to tweet and retweet about this, as well as Councilman Evans, whom I pretty sure got involved because he hoped that car belonged to Vincent Orange. (Just kidding! Jack loves #bikeDC. Think he wants a Sharrows button?)
Speaking of buttons, I think I saw Rachel at the next intersection. I think, but I'm not sure. Another con for helmets. If it wasn't Rachel, then hi to whomever it was.
I've recently added a front basket to the bike I was riding today and I very much enjoy it. It was empty today, but I still liked having it there. Seems like it makes the front of the bike a bit more imposing causing the cyclists coming down the other side of the cycletrack to move over. Not without some reticence though. I'm thinking about making a sign for the front of the basket that reads "Move over." [phone ringing. "Hello...yes, this is he...really? An award?...most passive-aggressive idea of the year? Thank you so much! I'm honored. No really, thanks.]
I saw a guy on 15th with a plastic coat hanger dangling from his handlebars. That's kinda weird.
Too many drivers on R street and too many drivers driving alone on Massachusetts, where I counted six cars (out of approximately 1 million) that had more than one person in them. This, as usual, made me think about HOV lanes and congestion taxes and here's the thing: why aren't there HOV lanes in the city, where it's actually crowded? Like, what's the use of making the highways less congested if it's just going to dump everyone downtown on city streets that can't accommodate them? I suppose enforcement would be a hurdle, but it doesn't seem logical to have the narrowest, most crowded streets allowed to be occupied predominantly by lone drivers, right? I'm not a traffic expert, though. If you're not going to mitigate downtown congestion by having people to walk or ride bikes or take Metro (all of which are enviable goals), then maybe try to mitigate it by suggesting/enforcing carpooling. But this is America and that sounds like socialism or something.


  1. Hey, you should covet that award because your passive/aggressive tweeting fired up a lot of other passive/aggressive tweeps and got that car towed! If that's how myopic little twits get sh*t done, I'm cool with that.

  2. I saw your tweet and laughed. Glad the car got towed. Also: I am very envious of you folks who bike in the city. It's been a long time since I've done any serious cycling and I will admit to being a little afraid of these mean streets of DC.

    Stay safe.

  3. Yep, that was me!

    I was biking to work one Sunday last year, right after they installed the cycle track, and there was a series of maybe 7 cars parked in the bike lane. I'll assume one person parked there, then groupthink kicked in, but it was incredibly annoying, and having to inch by that red Honda conjured up a similar rage-y frustration. I'm glad someone took time to leave a note.

  4. Alexandria has in-city HOV lanes on Route 1 going through Old Town.


    So it can be done.

  5. About that Kleinway: Given my cycling commute is from NW (around Politics & Prose bookstore) to further NW (Bethesda), and my route to other places (e.g. Meridian Pint for DC Brau and excellent food) I needed to consciously choose a route that used the 15th. street lanes. Finally this past Monday I did so and rode in the southerly direction and may I say - the frost heaves were so consistent and so bad that I didn't sneer at the guy on the CaBi riding equally southerly but in the northerly lane. And I am riding my 1971 Schwinn Racer Abridged - can't imagine riding a newish & stylish bike (Surly?) down that lane....DId I miss you describing this state of affairs? GIven our very mild winter I can not believe the poor condition is new this spring. I really couldn't believe how bad it was. Sigh.

  6. I was following honda-gate 2012 on twitter, but somehow missed that BRILLIANT note. Love #bikedc