Ride Home 3/7: Please sir, I want some more (calvados)

Alternate titles for this post included: Vicky Cristina Lionel Messi and Auld lan sin, the latter of which is an oblique reference to trigonometry and the former of which I excluded due to my general disdain of a certain Catalan football club. This is a sample of the behind the scenes, making-of "action" that no one asked for about a blog that barely anyone reads about a subject that's fairly alien to the experience of most people. So, yeah. If there's a method to my madness, it's behind the arras.
Bike commuters can be so dour. The few I see always seem to be so upset, barely even suggesting a smile or any kind of enjoyment. Me, well, I make the point of painting on scary clown make-up before every ride so people I encounter know that I'm happy and/or hellbent on criminalizing Gotham City. Or, maybe instead of that, I just try not to look terribly upset, since, after all, I am rather enjoying myself and, more or less, having a good time, in spite of the fact that I must ride alongside a number of people who don't seem to be doing the same. As we all know, the greatest imposition one can ever have is sitting on a plush seat and turning dinosaur liquid into forward momentum with a mere push of your foot. It's the worst! Far be it from me to suggest that bike commuters adopt a visage that doesn't accurately reflect their interiority, but perhaps I might suggest that bicycling isn't the worst-est thing and scowling isn't entirely necessary.
There's one of those signs along Mass that measures the speed of passersby and my goal is always to exceed the speed limit and make the illuminated numbers flash, but my other goal is to get mad at the drivers that do the same. I suppose I should try to somehow rationalize these feelings in one way or another, but I elect not to do this. Speeding, as a crime, is sort of a weird thing. It's not exactly Dostoevsky material or anything and I can't get too worked up about it, but it irks me when I'm bicycling, though, I suppose, only insofar as it actually seems to actually impact me. In short, drive your car over the speed limit, but don't do it too close to me. I'll be fine with that.
Plenty of bicyclists about and I pretty much rode behind one for much of the time I headed southwestward. On Mass, it was a guy with a rear rack but no fenders and on Q it was a girl with short red hair and earrings and a voice like the voice of Lydia DePillis, whom I once heard on the radio when I was listening to Kojo Nnamdi (That's oddly specific, says me, awkwardly). The only reason I heard her voice is because she cursed out some driver in front of her who drove for a good block with his car's right tires in the middle of the bike lane and then blocked the bike lane entirely in an effort to make a right turn onto 19th from Q. I don't remember what happened to her, though I do remember getting a "come on!" look from a driver who was temporarily slowed down by another driver, the latter of which was in front of the girl with the short red hair. I think that in many instances drivers get confused about who exactly is causing them to go slowly. SPOILER ALERT: a bicyclist can't go faster than the driver in front of him/her, so just because you see a bicyclist in front of you it doesn't mean that the person on the bicycle is the one that's causing your "not going fast enough" problem.
At 16th, we had one of those situations where there were a few bicyclists stopped a red light. Me, red head, some other dude and a guy on a fixed gear Surly who rode in circles rather than just unclip his Sidi and put his foot down, but as the light turned green, some lady decided to weave her way between all four of us even though there wasn't really enough space to do so so casually and it seemed rather rude. "Rude!," I would have said, had I the gall to chastise her. It's generally not a good idea to do rude things to bicyclists, since as a class, we're very petty and might blog about it in a petty way many hours later. She turned on 15th and the red head turned at the JCC and the fixed-gear Surly guy turned at 14th and I was by my lonesome on Q until 11th, when I was again by my lonesome since I'm the only bicyclist who bikes down 11th, except for the times when others do so.
There's always another couple of bike commuters on Penn and one of them rode behind me, but I didn't look back, so I have no details to report regarding him or her. I can report that the wrongly placed sign at 4th street is now dangling upside-down, but still incorrectly placed.
Many bicyclists, but even more black SUVs, by the Capitol and even a superbiker on East Capitol. (The Capitol, from Penn, seems to be the same askance as the Budai Var is from the 2-es villamos [2 tram]. Tonight's the first night I've ever realized that). I wonder where he was heading. Maybe on his way back from Hains Point. He did the whole hand signal thing and I smiled a little when he told me, through the flick of a wrist, that he would be turning left. Thanks, superbiker. For me, it was the same route home as always, but I was granted the unique pleasure of seeing #bikeDC agitator Dave, biking to pick up his daughter from school or some kind of activity. I asked, but I didn't quite hear what he said. Anyway, DC is a pretty small town and if you ride a bike, it's even smaller. It's always nice to run into someone you actually know.
Lastly, quinoa. And, omnia gallia in tres partes divisa est. Sorry.


  1. The driver on Q taking a right onto 19th did exactly (as you have explained it) what they should have done to take a right. Merged into the bike lane. That's the law... and the cyclists are supposed to yield behind, not going around to the right (legally you can on the left...)-@SamuelMoore

    1. I believe you are correct only that the driver can move into the bike lane to make the right turn - in fact. as a cyclist I think it a good thing since a naive cyclist won't end up in a dangerous position. However, there is nothing either legal or ethical about: a "driver in front of her who drove for a good block with his car's right tires in the middle of the bike lane".

    2. You assume I read the entire post... :)

  2. I biked south on 17th, left on P and had to stop in the street and wait for a truck to do a (rather inept) U-turn. He then had the gall to turn right on 16th, knowing I was right behind him, without bothering to use a turn signal. I might or might not have had the gall to chastise him. If there's anything that gets me, it's when people are just inconsiderate.