3/5/12

Ride Home 3/5: Upside down upside down cake

My habit on Monday evenings has been to write some elaborate lie in italics at the beginning of a farmed-out guest post, as I have been unable to write posts on account of my having to attend court-ordered Liars Who Write in Italics Anonymous classes. But tonight my class got out early (or did it?) and I was able to make it home before too late an hour and I feel like I can muster up something of the usual quality, which, admittedly, has been slipping of late. Perhaps it's a factor of my writing up bike commutes for more than a year, perhaps it's the Quaaludes (Just kidding. Say no to drugs everybody). Anyway, I'm going to stop the "forward" now and transition back to less slanted text. 


Here's a situation that happens almost every evening commute and I don't know what to do about it. Massachusetts Avenue is two lanes in each direction. At the intersection with 39th/Idaho (it's confusing how sometimes three streets all intersect, but these things happen, I guess. I mean, I don't lose sleep over it or anything), I frequently get stuck in the right lane at the red light. The traffic on Mass in the other direction gets the green light first, so we all wait. During the waiting, it sometimes happens that a driver pulls up behind me. In the right lane in front of me, not immediately, but a little farther down the road, the right lane turns into a parking lane. At the green light, I go. And the car in the left lane goes. And the car behind me goes, and then gets really close to my rear wheel and then pulls out to the left to change lanes/pass me while we're in the intersection. It's this latter part that I don't especially enjoy. I normally take the lane (and this really isn't a big deal since the lane is about to end for cars anyway), but that doesn't seem to help since that just puts me more in the path of a driver trying who wants to move to the left to get around me. I feel like I've got two options and both of them are jetpacks. The third is crumpling up into a little ball and rocking myself to sleep. Ok, those aren't really my only options, but it just worries me that some day and impatient moron is going to clip me in his (or her. There are lady morons as well) haste to pass. This preoccupation, apparently, bothers me enough to write rather lengthily about it. But what's a blog if not a forum in which to air grievances (Air Grievance is the national carrier of Northern Ireland) and/or post captioned pictures of cats?
Fun fact about bike lights in DC: (This is at least true according to the WABA pocket guide. I doubt the law has changed, but you can check the code to verify if you want) If you ride at night, you're required a front light and a rear reflector, but not a rear light. So all of you morons (and lady morons) who are riding with only a rear blinky are BREAKING THE LAW. So, if you care about stuff like that, you should stop doing that and get a front light. You can keep the rear blinky because that's a good idea.
Side note: in the course of finding out this fun fact, I've discovered a totally new and hilarious 'fun fact.' Check out the second hit when I googled "dc bike laws"
The 50 States Ride will get a rise out of you. 
It would be nice if pedestrians would at least look up when you ring your bell to let them know that they oughtn't jaywalk into you. Stopping would be nice, but acknowledgement would be good, too.
I was riding about an hour later than my usual commute time and I think there were more bicyclists out than when I normally ride home. Chatty, too. I sawa bunch of people riding and talking and having a good time of it. It's not even nice out yet. Bike commuting definitely has the potential for being a more sociable way to get home, especially if you're riding with someone you know. No one likes when you talk on the metro, even if it's to your best (or imaginary) friend, so if you want to talk and stuff, try biking. (That sounds persuasive. I bet thousands of people are now going to start bike commuting).
DDOT, are you out there? It's me, Brian. Can you please fix the sign at 4th Street NW? It says no u-turns, but it should be no left turns or u-turns. I really don't want to get hit by a driver. Someone make that turn (and almost into me) every freaking night. It's a simple fix. I just don't want to get wrecked in the interim.
My ride from Tysons made me miss commuter racing (in a way) and I tried to catch up with the guy in front of me riding up past the Capitol. He had a good head start, but I pretty much did, at least on the hill part, but then it flattened out and he was able to once again easily outpace me. I eventually caught up when we both got stopped at a light on East Capitol. I'm pretty sure I never actually came close enough to him during our "race" for him to realize that we were "racing," so that made me marginally less embarrassed about this whole affair. That's probably for the best. I think a good rule of thumb when "racing" someone is to never catch up to them. This normally isn't a problem for me. That way it's not a big deal an no one feels bad.

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