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My commute this morning left my misty eyed, not so much from wellsprings of emotion, but from the mist, which was abundant, getting in my eyes, which were open. I couldn't tell if it was actually raining or just very muggy (both, I think) and in any case, I wasn't wearing a jacket and didn't have my lights on, didn't bring coffee, and even forgot my helmet. The time change, even though it's been around for a while, is still reeking wreaking havoc on my morning preparedness and I could barely leave even ten minutes later than usual in a manner that even came close to resembling coordinated and thought out. At least I remembered my bike. My advice to would-be bike commuters includes: remember your bike, but also remember your other stuff, like a change of clothes if you need them or a lock. I think if I got to work and forgot to bring my lock with me, I'd turn around and go home. Some things aren't meant to be.
I rode behind some sportier looking bicyclists today, she in blue and he in a bright yellow and lycra shorts, but with beat-up gray sneakers in place of beat-up bike shoes, which is what I would've expected. We stuck together most of the way down Penn, before she turned and then it was just me and bright yellow shirt guy. Most of his bright yellow shirt was obscured from view by a large backpack, to which was affixed his lock and a cord and a bunch of lights. I always like to notice how people transport their locks (note: I'm lame). I tend to throw mine inside of a bag, but some people stow them underneath seats and others allow them to dangle from handlebars, which scares the crap out of me. Some suggest that you store leave your lock at work, so as to avoid having to carry it around, but that precludes stopping somewhere on the way home and I frequently make trips to the store/bar/ostrich farm and I need to be able to lock up my bike to shop/drink/look at ostriches, so that doesn't really work for me. Easy, impromptu stopping is one of the best things about bike commuting.
Witnessed a curious interaction/altercation at the intersection of H street and Madison Place, at the White House security bollards. I was riding north, past the security guardhouse and through the metal bollards and two cyclists were riding through the bollards in the opposite direction. Another guy, riding on the sidewalk and not through the bollards, shouts over "But you didn't answer my question. I want to know if this is an authorized vehicle or not." His tone sounded a bit angry, so I feel like he was trying to prove some sort of snarky point, but maybe it was just because he was yelling and it sounded a lot meaner than it actually was meant to be. The conversation was prompted no doubt by the sign on the H Street side of the security bollards that says something like "Authorized Vehicles Only," which in all likelihood probably doesn't mean bicycles. But, so what? My general opinion about bicycling through places is 1) try to follow the law concerning the directions of traffic flow (as in don't bike the wrong way dow a one way street) and 2) assume you can bike somewhere until someone actually tells you that you can't. If the guards didn't want people biking through there, they'd say something or put up caution tape, like they used to. But in the absence of that, unless they tell you otherwise, just assume that biking there is fine. At least that's what I do.
More bikes on 15th than I would've expected. Getting a little congested. Bike congestion is a problem like too many puppy snuggles is a problem.
I think I saw a homemade bakfiets, outside of the Ross Elementary School on Q. The basket was a big rubbermaid tub and it was in the back of the bike rather than the front. I'm not sure if children were supposed to go in the tub or maybe it was for storing sporting equipment or something. I've noticed more bikes outside of the school lately, which I think is a great thing because maybe it means the likelihood of my getting clipped by a careless parent driver during kid dropoff time is slightly diminished. I'm sure I've written this previously, but I suspect that the greatest violations of bike lanes come during parent drop-off or pick-up time. Or maybe during National Ignore the Bike Lane Day, which is a really stupid holiday that we ought to abandon. Next year I'm so not gonna get a AAA calendar.
I like the spring time because it means more drivers have their windows open and I can listen to what they're listening to on the radio. I also don't like the spring time for the same reason. It's rare that I'll sing along or dance, mostly because of those things would make me seem crazy/like I'm having a seizure, but I would encourage the more talented/whimsical of you all to try it and let me know how it goes. If it goes well, we can call it the Kelly Clarkson Effect and I'm sure we could get the whole velosphere writing about how drivers treat you better if you treat every ride like it's an American Idol audition. It'd at least be good for a few posts here.
Some guy might have tried to race me up Massachusetts, but he did it from the other side of the street, so I can't say for sure. I've noticed more bike traffic on Mass coming from the direction of Ward Circle to Wisconsin, including a bunch of people on CaBis and a number of other commuter types. I haven't noticed any additional bike traffic along Nebraska, but this is fairly unsurprising, since the part of Nebraska I ride parallels a big parking lot.


  1. Does havoc smell bad? I never realized that. /snark

  2. I managed to leave for my bike commute at the exact moment it began raining. As I cursed this, I saw one of my favorite sights: a kid riding behind his mom on one of those attached bike tow bar thing. And you know what he was doing? Sticking his tongue out to catch raindrops.

    Puppy snuggles is a HUGE ISSUE FACING AMERICA. I bet you've been tardy to work on account of it, for example.

    I am definitely going to try the singalong next time I have the opportunity.

  3. "Easy, impromptu stopping is one of the best things about bike commuting." It is, indeed.

    1. Ditto indeed - in fact even easy promptu stopping is great when commuting by bike.

  4. Some days I almost forget the bike. Autopilot can do that. But I have forgotten just about everything else, including the lock! Thankfully, I've never lost a bike because of it. I've left it unlocked in different garages (least scary), on Pennsylvania Ave, and in midtown Manhattan (on a crowded bike rack) for up to a day! After so many times, I'm more scared (but less scary!) when I forget my helmet... Then again, I don't recommend trying either at home, and even less at the office.

    There's something to be said for ignoring bike lanes. Sharrows seem to give a bike more freedom, but then again, they're insuff in rapid heavy traffic, no matter how vapid.