Ride In 2/27: Sampson and Delilah

When I set out to write this blog, I had one goal: to become the web's premier destination for bike commuter-themed Hello Kitty fan fiction. I soon have that up, on account of my own lack of interest in that subject matter, as well as the lack of interest from the remainder of humanity. So, I had some back-up goals, but here are two of things that I didn't want to do: 1. become the arbiter of proper bike commuter behavior and 2. become a bike commuter apologist. Perhaps it's because both of those things invite confrontation and when it comes to confrontation [I'm now hiding under my desk to avoid any potential confrontation from finishing this sentence]. Sometimes I slip up and express preferences, such as my thinking that it's poor form to pass someone at a stop sign or ride directly into a pedestrian at a crosswalk or cut off a rightfully turning driver, all things done within my field of view this morning by a woman in a camel (color, not material) coat. But it's really not my intention to foist my suggestions of what I think is "good" ridership on anyone, because, frankly, I'm not an expert or anything and I'm sure there are plenty of things that I do while riding my bike (juggling, eating corn chips) that rankle other bike commuters. We're all independent actors (like Parker Posey, maybe) and everyone should do what works best for them. You know, judge not lest ye be Judge Rheinhold, or whatever that saying is.
First ride in with the new pedals and I liked them very much. No clipping made me feel free and volatile and like it could fly off the bike at any moment, like a bird on a motorized scooter. Also, it being Monday meant that my legs felt relative springy (like a spring, not like spring) and the morning air was brisk and cool, like the copy on an iced tea print ad. I took the normal route and saw the seven people you meet when you bike down East Capitol (Mitch Albom is slipping), which included at least one person walking a big dog, one person walking a small dog, and one guy biking with a gym bag tucked under his left shoulder. I made it to First Street NE at the same time as the off-white SUV that I passed at Lincoln Park. Driving: not as a fast as you'd think.
Many a CaBi out today. System can't expand fast enough. Once the stations get in on the Mall, it's going to be in even greater demand. If Bikeshare did another Living Social deal (and I think they should), I bet it'd pick up maybe another 5000 yearly members. But that's just an ill-informed guess. I'm sure they have "math guys" (technical term) figuring out stuff like that. The overwhelming majority of Bikeshare riders seem to be of the variety that wear normal people clothes and skip the helmet [Judge (Rheinhold) accordingly], whereas I'd suggest that most people on their own bikes make some sort of sop to athletic wear and head protection, though this doesn't describe anyone. It just makes for an interesting dichotomy, but I don't very much about who people choose to attire themselves while biking. My commute is 8 miles one way and goes uphill for much of it and I don't like to wear sweaty clothes at the office and I haven't yet come up with a way to arrive at work sweatless (that braze-on squeegee just doesn't work), so I bring a change of clothes and bike in athletic wear. If I lived closer, I probably wouldn't. It's entirely circumstantial. So, there you go.
More illegal parking DRAMA in the 15th street cycletrack. Obi Wan was on it. As were others. And DDOT doesn't get why someone thinks this is okay. And yet, the read the comments here. How is any poor driver supposed to know not to park on the inside of bollards in a clearly marked bike lane? Um, how often do you see bollards and a dashed yellow stripe and think "ah, parking bollards and a dashed stripe by which I can center my vehicle for more accurate parking!" And clearly, the city has deliberately set up this confusing situation (nothing is as enticing than a dashed yellow centering strip, am I right?) on purpose to lure drivers into commuting parking violations. I mean, really. I get that bicyclists are evil and smug and self-righteous and all that, but surely in a situation like this, some people doth protest too much. Right? Or am I just being evil and smug and self-righteous and all that? Anyway, were I being those things I'd suggest the following: earmark the money for bike lane related parking violations to subsidize Capital Bikeshare memberships for those who couldn't afford them otherwise. Just a suggestion.
The usual R street race track. We all get caught at a red light eventually, so there's no real need to rush. You can't beat the system in a car and you can't beat it on a bike.
Probably the most downhill bike traffic on Massachusetts since the fall. It's been a mild winter, but it seems to be picking up even more now. March 1 is the day that I used to use as my "start biking now" day when I didn't commute year round. I'll be curious to see if there's a noticeable pick-up by next week.
The last 500 feet to my office always seem to be the most awkward, probably because I'm riding on the sidewalk and the sidewalk is crowded with pedestrians. I'd stick to the road, but I'm impatient and I don't want to wait in the long line of stopped cars. Oh well.
THIS IS A CALL FOR GUEST POSTS. Please write one and email it to talesfromthesharrows@gmail.com. Have an especially eventful bike commute? Don't? Great! That's exactly what I like to post. Experience all the fun of bike blogging with none of the remuneration.


  1. I guess I'm going to be one of those March 1sters (pronounced one-sters) simply by coincidence, as I'm back to my normal commute next Monday. Kinda makes me feel not-as-hardcore since I skipped the whole month of February. Ah well...

  2. Marc - No: you are so hardcore what was the point of February bike commuting when it was so mild? Well done!