Ride Home 3/9: Temps Perdu

Let us return once more to the hollow formalism and untrustworthy anecdota that is this blog. My remembrances of Friday's ride have been skewed by the passage of more than two nights of sleep, one day, and the government conspiracy to rob our clocks of a rightfully earned hour, so I cannot, as usual, attest for their veracity. Perhaps, though, the time elapsed has sharpened my memories and will allow me to cast of the insubstantial details and focus a more critical eye on those happenings that didn't wash away, so to speak. Or maybe I'll just do do the same thing I always do, which is write a bunch of things on notecards, smear peanut butter on them, throw them on the ground and write about the subjects written on the cards that Ellie the Poodle doesn't immediately abscond with. All writers have a "process."
Prior to leaving work, I saw my former boss's boss (she's still the boss of my former boss, who is still the boss of the people I used to work with, but no longer the boss of the people I currently worth with because I changed positions a number of months ago. I did see my current boss's boss early in the day and I even saw my boss's boss's boss around lunch time, but they're not the ones I tell this story about and only warrant an extended parenthetical). She said "I almost hit you on your bike the other day. You weren't wearing a helmet." First, thinking myself wry (but probably sounded like a ponce), I  said "Thanks for not doing that." And then I apologized for not wearing a helmet and said that I normally do wear one, almost every day. I don't know if my response was in deference to our previously established hierarchical relationship or whether it actually reveals something about what I subconsciously think about helmet use. One probably shouldn't apologize for someone else almost hitting them, but there you go. Though, I don't remember anyone almost hitting me, so I don't know what that means either.
I remember not seeing very many bicyclists on Friday afternoon and remember thinking that that seemed odd. Maybe it's because I was on the road a little earlier than usual. I don't see too many people from my morning commute on my evening commute, especially near the beginning of my commute, but on Friday, I don't think I saw anyone from anyone's commute, except maybe a bunch of drivers, none of whom seemed in any way perturbed by exceeding the 30 mile per hour speed limit on Massachusetts. Time for a speed camera? Or would that just be entrapment? (Every time I see the word entrapment, I feel obligated to say "laser scene." Some of you will know what I'm talking about and others of you will roll your eyes.)
I saw a Car2Go on 11th. It was, like the car in the photo, a SmartCar. The differentiation point between Car2Go and Zipcar is that the former doesn't require you to reserve the car ahead of time (though I guess you can). You just get in and go, which makes it great for the mercurial and/or bank robbers. You still have to park it in an approved Car2Go parking space, so your getaway options might be limited. I think it'd be even better if the cars came with bike racks on the back, but you know, that's crazy. I don't know to what extent this will affect bicycling or bike commuting in DC, but my guess is that this will have no real impact.
I also took a test ride down the new New York Avenue bike lanes, but it would've taken me out of my way and I needed to go to the grocery store and taking the diversion would have led me in the completely opposite direction. Some day I'll find a reason to ride from roughly Mount Vernon Triangle to roughly the White House or reverse, but I haven't so far. I could totally see these lanes working for some one maybe commuting from the Memorial Bridge or the TR or from Foggy Bottom, but here's the issue:

Just the layout of this whole part is a big mess and I don't like it. Maybe it has something to do with the highways and stroads cutting off the bridges from the rest of the city. Oh well.
Any bicyclist who yells "incoming" before passing you is pretty badass. Or addled. Maybe a little both in this case.
If you bike on Penn, you really need to learn the order of the green lights. It's straight both ways on 7th, left turn from nothbound 7th to Penn, then left turn from eastbound Penn to 7th, then straight for both directions of Penn. You can remember this with the acronym 7SBDLNF7LEP7SPBD. Some people do it wrong and get in the way of a bus that's about to turn left from Penn. They "jumped"the green light only to find out the green wasn't for them. Don't ever assume anything. Either you know or you don't know, but you should never assume anything.
Here are some boy scouts.

I sort of think that if I bike past the Capitol and White House every day, I've got a pretty good chance to be in every middle school year this year as "that bike guy in the background of our class picture."
Taming of the Shrew at the Folger. To the best of my knowledge, PETA isn't protesting, but I don't know if real shrews are being used in the production.
Had one of those trips to the stores where I stumbled around for a while and didn't know what to get and had to call the Official Wife for guidance. You know, one of those trips. I ended up getting a bunch of stuff, including some tulips, before realizing that I failed as both a bike commuter and DC resident by not having any bags with me. I actually had to fork over a nickel for my plastic bag, which I think means that I've paid for the right to throw it directly into the Anacostia when I'm done with it. That's how the bag tax works, right? Anyway, I slung my plastic bag over my handlebars and held my tulips in my right hand and became a parody of myself as I biked home. I might also have become a parody of a Dutchman. Anyway, I made it home with no big bother and then the weekend happened and then I wrote this.


  1. Your boss's boss I think is that person who says "be careful on your ride, there are a lot of bad drivers out there." I always think, but never respond by saying "yes, and you're one of them, so please keep me in mind when you see other cyclists, and chill the fuck out." One day I'll say it for real.

    And everyone should go see Taming of the Shrew. My incredibly talented neighbor is one of the leads. Maybe I can hook up a #bikedc discount...I will inquire.

  2. @Marc I look forward to hearing the blowback from when you finally snap and tell people what you really think. In the mean time , I think we'll all just keep doing what we currently do, which is force a smile and try to be polite, showing that we 're not some crazy bike people, but just normal everyday folks who are totally normal and just happen to ride bikes and are sorry about that. I'm not very good at being strident. Also, good to know about The Shrew.

  3. Dahon folding bike fits perfectly in the back of a Car2Go

  4. @Tim that is a very smart observation. I'm increasingly coming to believe that folding bikes are the greatest thing ever if one is serious about ditching their own personal car.

  5. I think a lot about being too apologist. My Chinese friends say a good way to tell an American from another English speaker is if they are constantly apologizing for bumping into you, for potentially getting in your way, for forgetting to hold the door open, for getting in the wrong line at the supermarket, etcetc. The unnecessary apologizing extends to my bike commuting, when I thank cars for not hitting me/allowing me to have my legal right of way/moving out of the bike lane when they see me coming; or apologizing to people in the elevator for daring to have a bike there etc etc. I doubt my constant apologizing is really contributing to the culture of bikes as inferior for cars in any great way, but sometimes I think it anyways.

    Also, folders FTW.