2/6/12

Ride In 2/6: Ronin Holiday

Greetings, Earthlings. It's me, a fellow earthling, and I'm now going to write about my bicycle commute, in a way that will be totally banal and pro forma. Just kidding! It will be a madcap adventure like a cross between Tin Tin and MMA, Indiana Jones meets the Indiana Pacers, with a side of hi-jinks, revelry, plot twists, murderous butlers, red herrings, blue carp, freshwater sturgeon and bicycle commuting. Ok, it might only be some of things things and it probably won't include fish or the adventurous stuff.
For the second time in as many weeks, I've found myself behind a bicyclist who has bedazzled (?) her rear rack with fake plastic flowers (as opposed to real plastic ones). She also had them attached to her spokes somehow so that each rotation of her rear wheel resulted in some horrendous clacking. This was on East Capitol and on Pennsylvania. She had used a wine cork to serve as a means by which she could attached her rear blinky and she wore many buttons on her backpack, but not a SharrowsDC button. The other beflowered bicyclist I've seen recently was on R Street. Is putting plastic flowers on your bike now a thing? It'll make way more sense than flouring your bike, which creates a horrible roux when mixed with chain grease. I'm all about customizing your bike to match your personal style, but I'm not so sure I'd want to do it if it's results in a repetitive clacking noise.
Somewhere along Penn, I decided that I would pass the aforementioned cyclist and I took the opportunity of another cyclist passing both of us to make my "move," which consisted my moving my bike slightly to the left and pedaling marginally harder. Unbeknownst to me, there was a second bicyclist looking to pass us, but he had yet to completely do so. He said "careful" after I had moved over and I said "sorry." I'm readily willing to cop to my fault of not looking back, but I think it would've also been nice for him to have indicated something with a bell ring or an "onyourleft" to let me know he was there. Like I said, though, no excuse for me not to look. My bad.
Dear some other bicyclists,
Hi. It's me, your fellow earthling. It's kind of a jackass thing when you try to squeeze through a group of pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk rather than stopping to wait for them. I see this every day at the intersection of 15th, New York and the White House. They've got the walk sign and they don't need to make way just because you're on a bicycle. They're earthlings too, you know.
Love, TFTS.
I'm going to try to get complaining about other bicyclists out of my system soon because springtime is coming and with it will be the bicycling explosion (not real explosion) that put thousands more bicyclists on the street. WABA wants everyone to ride responsibly. I sort of just want everyone to ride with at least the vaguest idea that there are other people around them. Sometimes people will be in cars or on bikes or walking or on damn pogo sticks. If we could all please just remember that we're kind of all in it together and that there's no reason to act like a jerk, that'd be nice.
A reason that I don't think it's a good idea to pass someone while they're stopped at a light is because you might run into him when he turns his bicycle slightly. Saw some dude almost wipe out when he tried to time the green and pass another dude before the light changed. Also, can we all please remember the 15th street cycletrack is two-way? Just because I'm the only northbound cyclist ever doesn't mean that I should get run off the road because you need to pass some lady on a CaBi. Sorry. Just venting. Need to print some "Share the Bike Lane" stickers.
It's got a buddy.
I put new front brake pads on this weekend and was rewarded by being able to stop better. I also lubed my chain and cleaned the bike a little and I only ended up bleeding a little. No joke. I actually injured myself while doing very simple, routine bike maintenance. The maintenance paid moderate dividends on the go-uppy (technical term) parts of my ride and I can't speak highly enough of taking 10 minutes and a couple of band aids to make sure your bike is a little cared-for.
I was pleasantly surprised (shocked actually) to find out that DDOT fixed the lights at the intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico. Longtime readers might remember that I once wrote a letter about this. Previously, there was a green light sequence from the SIS parking garage that didn't correspond to any pedestrian walk interval which basically led to a lot of confusion about when pedestrians should cross the street or whether drivers should turn right from New Mexico onto Nebraska. The powers that be have now taken care of that and the green light from the garage doesn't come on automatically any more. Now it's clear when pedestrians should walk. Granted, it's still when there's a green on New Mexico, meaning that drivers are trying to turn right during the walk signal, but still. I suppose this change also had the side benefit of improving traffic flow, but I don't really care about that. Thanks to DDOT and the university for making this happen and thanks to all of you for reading skimming a paragraph about the most parochial and me-specific concern ever.

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