Ride Home 3/27: Like a limestone cowboy

So, I was stopped at a light behind a red pickup truck. He had a novelty license plate in the rear window of the cab that had written on it "Beach Boy's SURFS UP" and his real license plate holder read "I'd rather be fishin' with Opie and Andy," an allusion to Leave it to Beaver, which I believe was a television show in olden times, like the 80s when Nick at Nite aired it. Anyway, this guy loves stuff from a half century ago and he loves water-based activities, I thought, and I wondered what I would talk to him about, like if he ever had to talk. I never quite did come up with an answer.
I wanted to stage a "race" of  a sort to see if I would make it down from the top of a hill to the bottom of a hill at the same down as a driver, but it didn't quite fruit (fru-it) for reasons that I don't wholly remember. Maybe I just didn't make it down to the bottom first and subsequently decided that I would be a sore loser about the whole thing. I don't think that's it, since I'm normally not like that, but who knows? Memory, as we've all learned from reading the postmoderns, is a foreign country, or something, and that's why we need a past-port to visit there. I might have even beaten the car down the hill but that doesn't really prove anything either. Sometimes cars go faster than bikes, other times bikes go faster than cars and other times cars and bikes go faster than ocelots and other times ocelots steal your bike, throw it in the back of their car and leave you stranded on the side of the road. I wouldn't be surprised if I beat the car downhill, or at least arrived there at the same time, since stop lights do a fairly good job regulating the flow of traffic.
I've ridden my bike while dressed in all kinds of attire (regular people clothes, bike clothes, specialized pogo-specific "tech" wear) and I believe that with a certain degree of certitude I can conclude that some drivers give you room and some drivers don't and it has nothing to do with me. Bicyclists, as a class (they fall somewhere between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, I think), tend to give themselves a little bit too much credit/blame for the things that happen around them. Today I rode in a green sweater (which people at work found remarkable for some reason and remarked upon it, as if one is only permitted to wear green on St. Patrick's Day) and an untucked white shirt and some unremarkable black pants and I'm fairly certain that I looked like a normal people and I'm fairly certain that nothing different would have happened to me or around me had I been dressed a different way.
After Sheriden Circle, there was a line of cars and buses stopped at the red light at 23rd (UPDATE: I mean 22nd. See comment below). I started to filter past the buses on the right side, but then the light turned green and one of the buses started pulling forward. I stopped, picked my bike up and lifted it onto the sidewalk. Don't pass on the right if you're not going to get to the front of the queue before the light changes. At least, I don't.
Traffic (car traffic) seemed rather terrible from Dupont Circle to about 13th street and that slowed me down considerably, in no small part due to the number of drivers who couldn't quite keep their cars out of the bike lane. I tweeted something facetious about this, but upon further reflection, I think that any kind of bike infrastructure that is so meek and ineffectual as to allow drivers to transgress against it is the kind of bike infrastructure that forces drivers to drive in it. Basically, that's a case for separated bike facilities (maybe on the other side of the parked cars), like they have in real counties. Then drivers wouldn't actually be able to drive in it and I think that everyone, cyclists and snarky cyclists alike, would be much better off for it.
I saw a car from Georgia transporting a Jazzy Power Chair on 11th, the Jazzy placed on some rear-mounted Jazzy holder. There appear to be many models of Jazzy, but I don't know if this was a road one or a mountain one.
Can everyone, bicyclists and drivers and pogoists alike, please learn to stop at red lights before turning right? Like, please? I worry about drivers right hooking me and I worry about bicyclists cutting me off and I wouldn't appreciate either of those activities. I also got frontended (is this a term?) by the taxi driver turning right from New York Avenue and almost ran into the back of a bicyclist doing the same thing. In either case, their stopping would've been cool.
There was a large sign outside the Capitol that was something about foreskin. I kid you not. I think it said "my foreskin is not a birth defect." Ladies and gentleman, Washington, DC.
I rode up the Capitol for a little while behind a woman on a CaBi, but she turned rather mysteriously to, I think, accommodate my passing her. Totally unnecessary. My advice to other bicyclists is never do anything to accommodate the cyclist behind you. Maybe that's wrong, but that's how I feel. If people wants to ride faster than you, let them. But also make them.
Supreme Court was still there. In case you were wondering.
I really enjoy the last mile of my bike commute. Sometimes I wish it was the only mile. A one mile bike commute would be pretty nifty. The blog might suffer ("Ride In 4/3: Rode East Capitol. It was fine.") but, overall, it'd be great. Anyone out there commute a mile by bike? Is it awesome?


  1. In looking for a new apartment in the coming months, I'm actually gauging my bike commute. Too far, or too hilly and I won't even contact the people about the place, too close (6 blocks or less) and it's not worth the effort to get the bike ready for a commute in the morning. I think a two-three mile commute (given the terrain) would be nice.. the current 6.5-7 is too much for my fragile, lazy physique.

  2. I accidentally right hooked a car tonight on the way to the waba happy hour. Missed my turn onto 11th, realized my error, and like any inconsiderate road user made a sudden and unexpecered right turn. Thank goodness she was driving a Prius and was willing to accept my profound apologies. We could then travel a while in harmony and eco bliss having assuaged my guilt and tempered her surprise. Motorcycle gangs award decals to drivers who assist them, thereby granting said drivers passing privileges ( it's in the constitution ). Perhaps we should affix Sharrows stickers on the cars of courteous and attentive drivers, thereby awarding them our instant forgiveness when they make the occasional error.

  3. I also enjoy it when joggers make full use of the bike lane...it essentially is the exact same as cars driving in the bike lane. Both have dedicated through ways, yet they choose to impede mine. Love it. Tonight it wasn't just one jogger, bit two running abreast...nah, it's cool guys, I'll hop into traffic so you don't have to use that pesky sidewalk.

  4. I am generally pretty easy going, except when people use made-up jargon like "disincent," but I've gotta correct you: there isn't a light at 23rd and Mass, that's Sheridan Circle, unless you turn right onto 23rd at Sheridan Circle and you're talking about 23rd and Q. In which case I'll eat my words, especially if they taste like milkshakes or corn chips.

  5. @dc.nerd: I think I mean whatever intersection is Mass/Florida/22nd and not 23rd. I stand corrected.

  6. I commute just under 3 miles and it's nice when I'm not running early (usually). But it seems disappointingly short on most days and I always wish I'd left earlier and taken a more circuitous route.

    PS Like A Limestone Cowboy is the best TFTS post title to date.

  7. I wouldn't even "suit up" for a 1 mile commute, although I am a lowly superbiker. 100 % bike clothing 100 % of the time I am on the bike. It probably takes me longer to get ready for my commute that it would take to commute 1 mile. When I first get on the bike, I'm often a bit stiff and slow. Once I go for a bit I'm fine. On a 1 mile commute I think I'd just feel bad for the whole ride!

  8. @ultrarunnergirl glad you like the title. I liked it too. I think that I'd like a 3 mile commute. That's about my attention span.
    @David There's no such thing as a lowly superbiker, unless you're deliberately low so as to avoid drag. I don't you'd even want to change clothes for one mile commute. And yeah, the creakiness would be a factor. It'd just be a totally different kind of bike ride.

  9. Anyone out there commute a mile by bike? Is it awesome?

    Bikeshare rental history page shows the bike portion of my commute as 2.05 miles each way (the remainder is 20.5 miles of MARC train). Actual distance varies considerably from day to day, though, as I tend to take different routes from one day to the next as required by errands or induced by curiosity.

    I don't write it up but sometimes take the occasional picture.