About halfway down Mass, at the intersection with Macomb, another bicyclist pulled to the side of the road and stopped. As I passed, I said "is everything ok?" She didn't say anything. And then I looked back again and was like "everything ok?" from about 20 feet farther down the road and by that time she had her earbuds out and was like "yeah" and that's my story about good samaritanism. It's generally a good rule to ask bicyclists who are not engaged in the actual activity of bicycling if they're ok, because sometimes people get flat tires or have other mechanical issues. I do it, at least.
Can't remember the exact reasons I was mumbling under my breath at drivers today, but I assume they were valid. I suspect they were just the usual ones. Nothing to get too worked up over. Probably just the whole "I'm gonna block most of the lane, even though parked cars make it impossible for me to get by without leaving the lane, but I don't really want to leave the lane because after the parked cars I'll totally be able to continue in this lane and then get to my destination marginally faster than I would have had I had to spend like 2 seconds moving left and then moving back right." Either that or something else. Mutter mutter mutter mutter.
I'd like to declare that I am not an expert. At anything. Once I thought I was an expert at tic tac toe, but then I met this really smart chicken. Comeuppance! And I'm especially not an expert at bike commuting. And I'm especially loath to give advice about bike commuting (even though I kind of do it all the time) and I'm fairly certain that in no certain terms should anyone listen to any advice I have to give about bike commuting, because I'm not an expert and you should only ever listen to experts or gypsy fortune tellers. But I feel like its incumbent on me, the self-appointed scribe of #bikeDC that no one ever asked for, to perhaps offer some suggestions, that one may take or leave, with regard to the operation of a bicycle in urban commuting situations. Again, you might not want to listen to these and instead "go with your gut," just like that last guy did with that whole WMD in Iraq thing. Anyway, just some ideas:
- Riding past someone on your bicycle or being passed by someone on a bicycle is in no way a referendum on anyone's masculinity and you might want to inform your testosterone accordingly. Once, in my town where I grew up, we actually had a referendum on some dude's masculinity and he lost and from that point forward he was called Jennifer. But bike commuting isn't that. You don't get bonus man points for passing someone too closely and you don't lose man points if someone happens to want to ride faster than you. In fact, there are no such thing as man points, or at least that's what Jennifer said.
- A bike lane is too narrow a space in which to pass another bicyclist. You want to pass someone who's in the bike lane? Get out in the travel lane. If you can't do that, then you gotsta wait. You gotsta.
- If you pass me when I'm stopped at a stop light but your such close to me that the best picture I can't help but scoff at how close we are, then it's maybe not advisable to do so. I find that, as a rule, the people who say "I'm quick off the line" tend not to be as quick as they think they are. Pass while moving. And only on the left.
- Don't stop in crosswalks. I've heard a rumor that if you block a crosswalk with your bike, any crossing pedestrian gets any coins you happen to have on your person. Relatedly: don't bring your precious coin collection on your bike commute!
- If you run a red light and you impact anyone else's travel in any way whatsoever, you did it wrong.
- Street harassment is never cool. Nor is ogling by bike. Nor is yodeling by bike. Nor is ogling yodelers.
- Bike commuting, while an opportunity for exercise, isn't really something that you should think of as exercise and you shouldn't, at least in the context of city riding, try to max out your ergs (is that a work out term? I thought I had a gym membership, but it was just a Chipotle punch card) or whatever. You oughn't drive like you're a race car driver and you oughtn't bike commute like you're in a velodrome. That's velodromatic.
- Overuse of bullet points is a good indication that your writing otherwise lacks structure.
11th was crowded with bikes and cars and buses and one guy on a CaBi who kept pulling up alongside me at stop lights. And then maybe the guy with the kid carrier from yesterday shoaled me again today. I don't know.
All of the tourists are here. All of them. I didn't commute through downtown last spring and I think I might want to investigate other ways to get home. It's not that tourists are bad. I love tourists. I even love the movie The Tourist, even though I've never seen it. But bike commuting anywhere where there's a lot of people walking in the shared space dedicated to bikes and pedestrians isn't really enjoyable. It's not them. It's me. Maybe E Street is better than Penn. I'll try that.
I think I saw a sometimes blog commenter today. dcdouglas, was that you? Grey Bern helmet? Jamis? I was taking a picture of the big pothole (now with cones!) along East Capitol and you were riding behind a guy on a CaBi and you looked frustrated. I caught up with you along the park, but I didn't say anything because I forgot whether your name was Doug or Scott. I really didn't want to get it wrong, so I didn't say anything. On a related note, if this wasn't dcdouglas and it was a guy named Scott, what's up, Scott? Anyway, I'd just like to use this terrible story as an opportunity to thank all of you who read and comment upon this blog. I could do it without it, but it'd be ever so lonely. You're all the best.