Ride In 3/6: O the goats in John o' Groats

When I wake up ten minutes earlier than usual, I have the funny habit of using the extra time to fiddle with my bicycle. This morning I lubed my chain and I inflated my tires a little bit more, though I'm not sure it was totally necessary. I managed to curtail myself from doing anything more and that's probably for the best, though I'm not totally sure what else could have been undertaken. Perhaps I could have adjusted some bolt or nut or something. That sounds vaguely mechanical.
For whatever reason, I decided that I would ride to work in normal people clothes in place my what-has-become usual winter bicycling attire. Wearing the same-ish clothes day in and day out and riding on the same-ish bike day in and day out and taking the same-ish route day in and day out with the same-ish weather day in and day out at about the same-ish time day in and day out and seeing the same-ish people day in and day out has a way of getting repetitive and this repetition gets a little tiresome (See what I did there?). I don't mind wearing normal people clothes on my ride in, especially on colder days, but I'm not committed to making this commitment every day. I'll never be cycle sheep. (Oh, it's cycle chic? I won't be that either. But if you're cycle chic and like to ride bikes on the weekend, along a river even, then you should do this. Remember: urban-functional, contemporary and edgy (or everything that DC architecture isn't). Best of luck to these riders if their route takes them along the zoom-zoom fest that is the Mount Vernon Trail. Expect angry superbikers.
I saw someone undocking a CaBi at Lincoln Park. So much for surreptitious undocking.
The construction along East Capitol is still taking place and the sundry trucks and support vehicles extend for more than two blocks, blocking the bike lane. I think it's sidewalk replacement. It'd be ironic if it were for bike lane restriping. Speaking of which, check out Lauren's comments about NY Ave bike lanes. That's some intrepid reporting.
Does the location of the Pennsylvania Avenue cycletrack (in the center of the other traffic lanes, rather than on the sides of them) make me less inclined to turn on one of the cross streets to head north rather than waiting until the end of the track at 15th? Or is it the connection between two pieces of protected bike infrastructure that shapes my decision? These are the questions I ask myself when I'm trying to come up with something to blog about. Though, I sort of do want to know the answers. I'd think that in center-lane cycletracks would create a sort of path dependency, but I don't know. Maybe this is in one of those DDOT studies. Speaking of which, it's almost spring and that means the M Street cycletrack should be on its way...I mean, at least if my money orders made it to the right people. (Too soon? Not soon enough?)
Do a road bike and bikey clothes make someone ride a certain way or does a style and attitude towards riding dictate a certain kind of accessorizing? This is a real chicken and egg problem, sort of like my breakfast chicken tacos. If we were all forced to riding big heavy upright bikes (by law, for some reason. Perhaps because it's the Hunger Games...?), would people ride less aggressively? Or conversely, if we were required to ride skinny-tired road bikes, would every ride become a training ride? [And what amendment to the Constitution would allow this sort of legislative trampling of our individual freedoms? Where's the ACLU?] The interplay between bike selection and rider behavior is, to my mind, an interesting one, but it seems like a complicated relationship that requires a much greater deal of thinking than this forum allows. There should be a TED talk.
Why don't cowboys wear helmets? It seems dangerous and as we all know, the only prescription for potential danger is foamed head covering. Imagining the iconic figure of the American west with a Giro in place of his Stetson makes me laugh. Some other people who might should wear helmets:

  • Italian cruise ship passengers
  • People who shop at Home Depots in areas that are prone to earthquakes on account of falling tools and whatnot.
  • NASCAR fans (in-person attendees)
  • NASCAR fans (at home, in case of HD tv)
These are just some suggestions. I also recommend that everyone at all times wears a flame-retardant suit/sweater vest because only simply never knows when things might catch on fire. Safety first. . 
The last 1.3 miles (and I know this because there's a sign) of my commute are the ones that I'd most like to skip. I start losing patience by that point and have thought all the things that I'm going to think (my brain just flicks on a Doogie Howser rerun at that point) and I start to feel hot and a little uncomfortable. I haven't really figured out a good way to avoid reaching this cut-off point, but if I do, I'll gladly share. Counting other bicyclists help, just as a way to keep distracted, but by this point, I've normally already seen everyone I'm going to see. It's sort of a dead zone between Wisconsin and Ward Circle on Massachusetts, though I suppose there are pedestrians that I could gawk at. For the most part, they look like college kids. Sometimes I think about how annoying it must be for the neighbors to live near this institution that I pass that has these loud weekend events with music and hundreds of people from outside the neighborhood taking up all the good parking spots and  where alcohol is served to minors, but I've never heard anyone really complain about Church of the Annunciation, so I guess crowds, loud music, out-of-state drivers and underage drinking doesn't really both them. Oh


  1. Let's face it, anyone not wearing a flame-retardant outfit clearly has a DEATH WISH.

  2. "Why don't cowboys wear helmets? It seems dangerous and as we all know, the only prescription for potential danger is foamed head covering. "

    Cowboys didn't - they're extinct. Competitive horsewomen & horsemen do wear helmets - they have continued to prosper evolutionarily over cowboys. Go figure.

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  4. @Ken I agree that decapitation would be less than ideal. I just think that the fetishization of helmet wearing as the be all and end all of bicycle safety is equally weird and not especially useful, mostly because you're totally right in what helmets do and don't do. It's just funny to think about the reductio ad helmetem arguments applied to non-bicycling circumstances.

  5. @Brian "It's just funny to think about the reductio ad helmetem arguments applied to non-bicycling circumstances"

    It is, especially when you do the writing, which is why regularly read your blog (and why I deleted my comment). Redctio ad helmetem full speed ahead (pun intended)!