3/14/12

Ride In 3/14: My book about Arnold Palmer's retirement would be called "The Road to the Final Fore"

I would very much like to have the job of writing headlines for the New York Post. If anyone out there has the ability to facilitate this, I'll buy you a smoothie or something to show my gratitude.
Some unrelated, but very sad news, that you've probably heard already: long-time 'friend of the blog' (it's a one-way friendship, really), famous Tyrolean-American actor Peter Facinelli, "star" of the Twilight films and portrayer of Jennifer Love Hewitt's dick ex-boyfriend in Can't Hardly Wait, is getting divorced from his wife, Jennie Garth. We, and by we, I mean me, but also probably them and their publicists, would like you to respect the couple's privacy during this trying time. Thank you.
With the heavy stuff out of the way, I guess I can continue on with the bike commuting stuff, much as I continue to carry on with bike commuting, which I do while carrying stuff on my bike. It was a wonderful morning for commuting by bicycle and more than the usual suspects were out and about, though the usual suspects were also out, which is also something that might have happened at a Blockbuster in 1996. No CaBis at Lincoln Park at roughly 8:15 and a stream of five or six bike commuters making their way in front me along East Capitol. I also passed Dave, who was angrily tweeting (maybe?) about the giant sinkhole in the middle of the street, something I've ridden past for the past couple of days but have neglected to mention because I'm not very good at this.
Oh, treat sidewalks and mixed use paths like 'no wake' zones when there are pedestrians about. Pretending that you're following the laws of the sea always makes things more fun. Every once in a while, I turn my sharrows button upside to signal distress. But only on May days. (I'll be here all week, folks.)
There's much to be said for indolence in bike commuting and I feel like I'm the right person to say it, since I'm about the laziest bike commuter there is. I only pedal when I know that I won't have to come to a stop and even then I'll only pedal as fast as it'll take to get me through the next light. Otherwise, I'll just let forward momentum carry me forward or maybe I'll just put my foot down because balancing seems so hard and more than a little showy.
The meshies are back. Meshies are those guys who might be named Mike who bike commute while wearing mesh shorts. Just so we're clear, there's nothing wrong with wearing mesh shorts while bike commuting. Most meshies use backpacks instead of panniers, even though their hybrid might have a rear rack, and about every other meshie wears earbuds. A good portion of meshies pride themselves on their speed and bike handling, but sometimes this pride is misplaced. I would say that's relatively true of most bicyclists. No one rides as well or as cleverly as we think we do. Anyway, the return of the meshies (the rejected title for Space Jam 2), is the true hallmark of the arrival of springtime. So, huzzah for that.
White House entrance was closed, so the state security forces made bicyclists ride on the sidewalk, which I believe is illegal. I believe that's called entrapment (laser scene). 15th was full of bicyclists, as were its cross streets. I wonder to what extent the cycle track on L will reroute bike traffic from that interior lane on K. I would expect a lot, but I'm always amazed by the number of people who ride on blocks that are only one block away from better bike infrastructure. My whole commute route is dictated, rightly or wrongly, by my desire to use bike lanes, but I might be in the minority on this one.
I used my thinking time on Massachusetss to come up with a probably illegal, but perfectly good (maybe) idea, for a carpooling app that involves the buying and selling of rides. This was mostly brought on by my observing the number of lone drivers stuck in traffic. Here's how it work. Let's say you don't want to drive to work. You put your start and finish destination (and rough arrival time) into the app and the price you'd be willing to pay for someone to drive you. Other people who are driving can see all the potential fares out there and essentially peer-to-peer contract with a passenger. The money doesn't exchange hands between the driver and passenger, but instead goes to the third-party app and can be banked (so a driver could use it when he wants to be a passenger) or cashed out, with a small percentage taken off the top. Essentially, everyone can operate a taxi. This is probably illegal, but I think it'd have the potential to increase carpooling. Drivers and passengers could negotiate all sorts of things, like whether the passenger would be willing to get dropped off 15 minutes earlier or a couple blocks away for a lower price. It's slugging, but with money. And since all the data will be open to all other users, you could actually create a pretty dynamic market and establish some real pricing guidelines. You'd have to come up with a way to "lock in" rides, so people don't cancel (either drivers or passengers), but there's probably a way to do this. Anyway, if anyone wants to make this happen and has technical aptitude, please let me know. Also, don't tell Avego because it sort of seems like they've already done it. On a related note, if you like getting into cars with strangers, download the Avego app.

5 comments:

  1. As someone who frequently rides a bike in the city, you do NOT want to irritate DC Taxicab Commission by cutting into their profit margin.

    Oh, crap, now I, also someone who frequently rides a bike in the city, have irritated the DC Taxicab Commission by implying that there would be retribution from taxi drivers.

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  2. I've made a personal moral choice that I won't tweet about problems if I haven't first tried to get something done about them - bonum commune communitatis and all that agit-prop stuff. So last night I reported the 8th & East Cap canyon to 311 using the SeeClickFix app. (The app / service suits me better than calling because it emails me the report numbers, lets me include a photo, and tells me when someone responds or comments on the matter. You can see the report I made at http://seeclickfix.com/issues/165162 - I highly recommend signing up, and it might qualify you for a Citizen of the Day award from DC.)

    This is the third issue I've reported that way, and I'm not sure how SeeClickFix is working out actually. One issue got a good and appropriate response - they fixed the hazard the same day and repaired the equipment the next. One issue I registered just for the record but didn't expect resolution on and it's living up to expectations.

    For this one I was hoping someone on the night shift would at least inspect it and bring a cone or barrel by, and that a patching crew would do some work this morning to make it safe. I was quite surprised to be notified at 7:53 AM that the matter was closed. I happened to be a few blocks away with a few free minutes so I decided to swing by and take a look...

    No change. I opened the app and checked status, and confirmed that it was indeed marked as closed, and then re-opened it while adding a second picture. I'm now trading tweets with DDOT about why it got closed with no action - apparently there's a gap between the data we put into SeeClickFix and the information the assigned agencies see

    Civic duty complete, only then did I take to the Angry Twitter Birds app.

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  3. When I think Meshie (as distinct from Meshiah), I imagine them sitting upright, riding with no hands. Is it me or is that another trait of the Meshie?

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  4. I think Zimride is the app you are looking for. I think. I only looked at it briefly. http://www.zimride.com/ Except it's not here. So that happened.

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