Ride In 2/8: Eggs, Veal, Camels

It's supposed to snow tonight, or maybe just rain, and I was curious as to the forecast's effect on morning bike commuting. Would knowledge of this afternoon's weather dampen (hah!) the spirits of would-be bicyclists? Is this a real thing that happens and if so, how to gauge it? Or will people just ride in and leave their bikes at work if it's raining badly or, god forbid, ride them home in adverse weather conditions? I'm not exactly a statistician (in fact, I know close to nothing about statistics or even advanced, non-finger counting), but if you know anything about me, it's that I'm a keen observer of urban life (why are you laughing?) and capable of construing anything I notice into some larger point about something, so when I passed the Bikeshare station at Lincoln Park this morning and noticed that it was empty as usual, I can only be conclude that most people who bike to work don't check the forecast in the morning, or if they do, they simply don't care. And I think that makes sense, especially as far as Bikeshare is concerned. With a Bikeshare bike, each trip needs to be thought of as one-way and completely indivisible (with liberty and justice...?) rather than one leg on a home-work-home commute. And I think that most CaBi users think of the system that way. Whereas those of us riding our own bikes to work might fell compelled to ride them home in the evening so that we can ride them back to work the next day, I suspect that it's much more likely that CaBi users adopt a "If it rains, I'll take the bus" attitude. Or, like the Official Wife pointed out to me this morning about the trip analysis I linked to yesterday, "If it's dark, I'll take the bus," which she, and I think rightly, believes explains the lack of return evening trips (Though, Justin, if you're reading, can you break down the return trips by season to see if in the summer, when it's lighter longer, there's a greater incidence of "receivership"?). I think that most people who aren't exclusively wedded (I now pronounce you man and bus) to one mode of transportation make their trip decisions based on present-time information rather than future forecast. But then again, I'm sure I'm wrong, so flay me in the comments.
Seemed like a kind of competitive morning morning. A woman on a flowery blue Canondale saw fit to shoal me from the right on East Capitol and then later on Penn, we were both based by some dude wearing a balaclava and riding a fixie. It all felt very racy (not that kind of racy) and I sort of got swept up in it, by passing the Canondale woman and riding behind the fixie guy, but then he turned a little later and Canondale caught back up and passed me again at some light. At 14th, we both watched the man tasked with keeping the intersection clear, scream at the driver of a big ivory Buick who didn't quite seem to understand that he was blocking said intersection by with big ivory Buick.  Before 15th and Penn, she moved out of the bike lane to make the right turn to cut back in front of me, whereas I stuck in the bike lane, only to find that a large white truck had parked on 15th street cycletrack between E and Treasury. She went a different way through Lafayette Square, so that ended that. I guess you do what you do to keep yourself amused.
Fairly uneventful up 15th from H to R, except for a Kyle sighting and realizing that the Jamis I always see wasn't there. Maybe someone nicked it. I hope that the thief didn't use my surveillance to decide to make his move. I'd feel ever so guilty.
Got swarmed at R and 16th by four other bicyclists, each of whom independently or perhaps all collectively, decided that passing me and moving into the crosswalk before the light turned green would be a good idea. Here's my thing about crosswalks: treat them like you would want a driver to treat a bike lane, meaning don't stop in them. In the world remade for cars, it's the one lonely refuge for people to walk across the street legally and to block one with your bicycle is really rude and inconsiderate. Being six feet closer to the light isn't going to make the difference between your getting to work on time or not. If you think you're going to jaywheel (or the completely legal Parisian equivalent, which I ENVY SO MUCH because of its utter sensibleness), stop before the crosswalk, make sure no one is crossing and then ride to the other side.
Anyway, after being swarmed and shoaled, I found myself riding in the bike lane for a bit before deciding to move out into the travel lane, fall in behind a white van, and then pass two of the cyclists who just passed me. One of the cyclists in front, the one on a CaBi, moved left to turn down New Hampshire, maybe, and the other stuck in the bike lane, even though a driver in front of us threw up his right turn signal. I went back into the travel lane, the left guy made his left turn and the guy in the bike lane stopped for the turning car. And that's my story of how I was passed by four people and then passed those four people. There is no moral to the story. It's just something that happened and happens to almost everyone almost every day.
I feel like I've run out of ways to talk of my ride from Dupont Circle to my office. It's probably the most mundane part of my trip because it's kind of a dead space for pedestrian and bicyclist activity. Not that I can't tell you about all the fun stuff happening at some embassies, like, um, when sometimes someone pulls into the Turkish embassy and the gate opens or maybe about the ongoing renovations at the South African Embassy or how every once in a while I see some blonde women get off one the N buses and walk into the Finnish embassy. I mean, all that stuff happens, but even by the standards of this blog, it's not exactly noteworthy. I did see another bicyclist climbing the hill today. She was riding a mountain-y type bike and her frame had on it a Brazilian flag sticker. And coming down the hill I saw some of the same usuals that I've seen lately, including the guy who rides in the left travel lane on Mass and the woman who seems like she's overbundled with simply too much coat for the amount of body she has. I don't know if there's a name for this.


  1. Pretty much every vehicle ignores red lights in Paris, so bikes aren't really getting special treatment. I am convinced that prior to my departure from Paris I'm going to get mowed down by a pea-coated French woman on a mixte, which is a pretty good way to go if you ask me.

  2. I took some of the CaBi data and threw together a basic heatmap of ridership during 2011. I never got around to the actual analytics part of it - jdantos has taken care of that. Here's the link: http://goo.gl/pQQaU

    What you're seeing is a year's worth of data: Each row is one day and each column is one minute. The darker blue cells indicate the highest number of rides started, grey cells mean no rides started. I overlayed the sunrise/sunset times for reference.

    As far as pre-dawn morning commuting goes, "If its dark, I'll take the bus" is pretty much spot on - except very late summer and early fall (right around when DST switches over).

    But CaBi riders apparently have no problem riding after sunset year-round.

    I've also been meaning to do another visualization comparing hourly temperatures to rides started...but haven't found the time. One of these days.

    On a side note, I can't wait till #fridaycoffeeclub.

  3. Wait. Eggs, Veal, Camels?

    Also, @Bilsko that's pretty cool.