Ride Home 3/28: Left alone with just a memory

In case you haven't seen it, Greater Greater Greater Greater Greater Greater Washington published the preliminary (65% completed) designs for the impending L Street cycle track. Thanks to the twitteratti, I got to suss out some thoughts on the project and hear (read: read) some others' opinions. I'm excited to see it installed, but I'm really concerned about how one turns out of the cycle track. I also question whether it passes my "out-of-town visitor" test, namely whether the behavior dictated in the cycle track would be understood by someone who doesn't live here but is biking here. I don't know. I also don't know if it's NACTO approved (or kid tested), but I'm not a traffic engineer so please take all of my opinions with a grain of salt.
It rained, but before I left. I rode on wet roads, but it was sunny, but it still rained a little. I noticed the droplets on my shirt, but I didn't really feel them. Maybe that's a metaphor for something.
I came this close (I'm making a gesture with my fingers whereby they are very close to each other. Ok, I'm not really since my fingers are otherwise occupied typing, but I totally would were this not a blog but instead a friendly conversation between some guy who is way oversharing the details of his bike commute and another guy who never should have agreed to split a strawberry milkshake with him) to asking a guy why he shoaled me. Not out dickishness, but curiosity. But there's really no way to confront someone on the street and then grasp for the mantle of "curiosity." I believe the mantle of curiosity is also something you can get in D & D. (That's Dungeons and Dragons, in case you didn't know. Fun fact: I've never actually played D&D.) Anyway, the guy was fine, but travelled a bit slower than I would have preferred and I was unable to pass him thanks to car traffic. And to make matters worse, he took out his phone and was still looking at it when the light turned green! (That ! might be a bit misplaced, but allow me the liberty.) That was enough for me and I violated my "no pass while the person in front of you is stopped" for the second time today. I'm going to forgive myself this one, if for no other reason than I've already signed up the bike valet and I'm not sure if there are other penitential opportunities available to me. ("Penitential opportunities available. Inquire within" was one of the most popular signs on the outside of monasteries in the 1230s. Trust me. I'm a credentialed medievalist.)
I saw a bike commuter wearing scrubs. I presume he works in medicine and not that cycle chic has taken some weird antiseptic turn. Or that hipsterism went back to school for a nursing degree.
Did I audibly groan when a bus cut me off by turning right on red directly in front of me? Yeah.
I'm going to leave out the part about the ninjas and my whooping them.  I did help some kids get a ball that got flung over a fence, so I'll mention that bit of heroism. They seemed thankful. Otherwise, let me cut this one short. I'm attending the cinema this evening, some art film about the perils of childhood in a society with significant income inequality. I'll be traveling by Bikeshare, but I probably won't blog that ride. Unless the movie is boring, but that seems rude.


  1. I am confounded by a question re shoaling. I agree that it is poor form to pass up a queue of stopped bicyclists at a red light and take a position near the front.

    But that is, in fact, what I do to a line of cars stopped at a red light. Is it possible that the shoal-entitlement comes from Wannabee-Noobs that finally get a chance to pass somebody, OMG, and they're going to take it?

    This is what disturbs me: If it's not OK to shoal the other bikes (and I think it's not OK), then consistency would suggest it's bad form to shoal the car queue, too.

    I hate asking questions that I don't want to hear the answer to, I've tried to give it up.

    Great blog btw.

  2. So how was the movie? I rarely bother with movies, but this one sounds intriguing.

  3. @Vannevar That's an interesting distinction. I think that the way that I would explain the difference is a question of safety and visibility. Moving to the front of a queue of cars might make a bicyclist more visible and, as such, safer, whereas shoaling another bicyclist doesn't do the same thing. Or maybe that's just a rationalization. It's hard to keep track. Thanks so much for reading!