Ride In 3/5: Vegan Pineapples

My usual routine is to eat lunch and then blog, but today I'm doing something different. I know that all of you read this for the "behind the scenes" action that I somehow let slip, like whether Dance Moms is playing or if I'm getting mayonnaise on my keyboard and not for the actual bicycle-themed content. Tales from Tales From The Sharrows, my meta-blog, full of blogging criticism in blog form, is forthcoming. But for now, I'll stick with the same theme as always, namely commuting by bicycle in the District of Columbia. And by theme, I think I mean content. I don't know- I'm not really an expert.
Seemed quieter than usual for a Monday. Perhaps everyone was still at their ski chalets or maybe I got a slightly earlier start than the people who normally drive through my neighborhood. One or the other.
For such a popular bikeshare station, you think I'd see more people undocking from Lincoln Park in the morning. Must be done surreptitiously. Surreptitiousness undocking is also something that they teach in the Navy.
On occasion, bike lanes can be blocked by construction equipment and cones and this was the case this morning. Unlike a far more conscientious member of #bikeDC, I failed to alert my fellow bicyclists of this occurrence. I think using the twitter machine to inform others about bike traffic conditions, so this was a big fail on my part. I also ended up riding on the WRONG SIDE OF THE CONES for about 10 feet, so I expect the cops to come storming through my office door any minute now. I'd like to personally apologize to the cones and I only hope that the judge will be lenient.
I rode past a bunch of people doing sit-ups on the Capitol lawn. I don't know if that's a metaphor for anything or maybe some kind of performative protest, like something Vaclav Havel would do.  Maybe bracing oneself to be punched in the gut by Congress? Or explaining how the middle class is "crunched" and how "Joe Six Pack" can't catch a break? Or maybe it's just type-A DC workout weirdos who like doing sit-ups in the middle of their run. In either case, I'm surprised the state security services or the Architect of the Capitol didn't immediately put a cease to it. That grass is not for using! It's for looking at when you park your car in the copious surrounding parking.
Much of my ride on Penn was spent behind a guy wearing grey cotton sweatpants. He also had a Patagonia backpack. I don't have much else to offer in the way of observation, except that he, properly, didn't block any of the crosswalks with his bicycle at stop lights. So, he wins TFTS Bike Commuter of the Morning, which isn't a real prize and has no honorarium. So, maybe he should have gone for something more lucrative, like a Nobel for Chemistry, but there's only so much one can do while riding a bike to work. Speed bumps really screw up your titrations.
Some new bike lanes on New York Avenue. I stopped and took some bad pictures. In the time of my stopping, at least three other bike commuters came riding down the lane, so I think that they're working. I don't know how far east they extend. I would hope until 11th, maybe 9th?

 They're not fully striped yet. I believe that they're part of the "catch-up" bike lanes that weren't put in last year. A welcome addition to downtown, but they're not exactly part of a network. They don't intersect with any other bike lanes (unless they extend to 9th and intersect with the bus-bike lane, which isn't a real bike lane and anyone who tells you as much is a liar) and while they might be useful to some people, since they're not connected with other bike lanes, there's not really a synergistic overall effect. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love seeing bike lanes on streets. I would just love it more if they didn't end after 3 blocks. Bike lanes shouldn't just be there to just be there ( though I sort of think sharrows should), but they should actually help people get to where they want to go.

Think about it. You're riding eastbound on New York Avenue from 15th. There are no bike lanes on H, so you skip that. I only runs west, so that doesn't help you either. And there are no bike lanes on K. So, unless you were riding to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, why not just take G (which already has lanes)? Heading westbound, they make a little more sense. I could see someone riding down 11th taking New York, but I'm not really sure where they're going after that. Maybe Foggy Bottom. Anyway, if you're one of the people who might use these lanes, let me know where you're going and how they help you. For what it's worth, I'm not pointing this out to call for less needless infrastrcuture, but instead for more. 
I think the timing of the traffic lights on R street makes me miss much of the crosstown bike traffic. Whenever I ride it across from 15th, I'm by myself or maybe see one or two other people. Today I saw some guy at 16th and there was a woman who also rode up behind me, but then it was no one until Dupont when I encountered another guy, whose bike has a really squeaky chain and too flat tires.
I decided during my ride up Massachusetts that I really don't understand bikelash (bike backlash) and that there's a longform article to be written about it. I mean, other than this one. In fact, complete the opposite of this one. It's entitled Sometimes a Bike Isn't Just a Bike. It's one part bike, one part Yglesias, one part Katie Roiphe and 8 parts total bullshit.
Real wages have been stagnating for the last 30 years. Likewise, there is greater participation in the labor force by women. Also, multiculturalism and a the gay rights revolution. There has been a decline in the number of manufacturing jobs and a rethinking of the social compact that allowed post-war cooperation between management and unionized labor. Furthermore, the 'alienation of labor' vis-a-vis the molding of man and machine in industrial production has created a situation whereby masculinity is defined in terms of mechanical production. However, the paradigm shift created by higher fuel prices and globalization, has created a different situation in which industrialization has been supplanted as the primary means of self-identification and consumerism has overpowered a certain "Yankee thrift" as the defining characteristic of the modern American. So, that being said, one cannot escape the "idiom of power," through which one determines self-worth and value within society. In short, Don Draper, the stand-in for mid century masculinity, would never ride a bicycle. The bike commuter of post-Clinton America is Michael Bluth, scion of a criminal family that made "wealth" through the "production" of McMansions. All of this underscores the following equation:
Offhsoring industrial production + consumerism = driving as substitute for "End of Men"
 Declinism + ("death of irony" - "idiom of power") * gas prices/Elizabeth Taylor in Giant = bike commuting.
I feel like that accurately sums things up pretty much.  The combination of everything with everything else divided by contemporary tv shows and old movies pretty much explains why bike commuters get the short end of the stick. Pretty sure that The Atlantic is interested, but I'd be willing to shop it around once I'm done with the whole thing.


  1. I've used the magical new New York bike "lanes" to get to #FridayCoffeeClub 3 weeks running. They are helpful in that they separate me from traffic, but not helpful in that they only do so from 13th (as of last Friday), and the scary part is from 9th to 11th.

  2. So it only goes to 13th? Wow. That's even worse than I thought. But at least you're using it for coffee club. And those 3 people were using it this morning. So people like it, I guess. I wonder where they're coming from, though.

    1. Whenever I take New York (#FridayCoffeeClub, Memorial Bridge days, and on lazy days I Bikeshare to McPherson), there are ALWAYS tons of cyclists headed SW towards the White House. I guess lots of people from NE or Shaw/U St neighborhoods who work in Foggy Bottom/White House/World Bank/State Dept? I see the same amount of people going NE in the evenings.

  3. I guess that makes sense since there are no other crosstown bike routes between there and Q/R, which seems crazy if you think about it. And it's probably easier to cross north of WH than south if it (E street isn't fun, not is Cobstutution). So, in conclusion, I get it, but there should still be more connectivity.

    1. Agreed.

      Also, I rode New York in this morning (a mistake when it turned out N. of the White House was awkwardly closed). So to clarify: There are solid lanes from 14th-15th, as well as dotted lines from 13th-14th and 9th-10th. (The 9th to 10th dotted line is very new). There was a crew out removing the center lane between 10th and 11th for restriping, and they told me the bike lanes from 9th to 15th would be connected "soonish."