You get used to seeing (not seeing) a certain number of bike commuters in certain parts of town. In the bucolic confines of upper Northwest Washington, DC, there number is normally relatively low, mostly because it's a fairly diffuse area and the lack of density just means fewer people overall. So tonight when I saw seven other bicyclists heading in the same direction between Ward Circle and Wisconsin, I didn't know what to think. Other than, of course, holy crap, biking is here and in a big way. I didn't ride this route last year so I can't give a year-on-year comparison, but I don't remember seeing nearly as many bicyclists last year, even on the bike-friendly Rosslyn-Ballston corridor commute of pre-August TFTS. It's simply amazing.
I started riding behind Fasty McSpeederson, but he zipped ahead and I ended up behind Rusty McChain (that's a nickname. I didn't check his driver's license or anything) and the horrible noises associated with him. A rusty chain and rusty rear cogs really don't make for a good bicycling experience and I should have encouraged him into maybe addressing that. Then there was sidewalk guy on the mountain bike and suit guy on a CaBi and messenger bag aquamarine bike and another woman on the opposite side of the street and someone else, about whom I can remember almost nothing, riding on the other side of the sidewalk. On a typical day, I see maybe one or two other cyclists and for the most part, they're heading the other way. Rusty McChain decided to shoal aqua-marine at the light at Garfield, but then Aquamarine passed him on the right, racing to get in front of him before the car parked in the right lane. It seemed dangerous. Then they both sort of raced down Massachusetts and I waited behind and that was fine and Rusty pulled up because one of his shoelaces came untied. Rather than stop, he lifted his right foot for the pedal and bent down, trying to tuck the lace into the side of the shoe. Just stop, dude! And then Aquamarine, Rusty and I all made it to the bottom of the hill and rode from the right turn lane to the sidewalk at Water. Aquamarine beat the family crossing the street to the other side of the sidewalk and so did Rusty, but by the time I got there, the two little girls had already made it across the street, so I slowed considerably, and passed them on the left, riding briefly on the grass so as not to give them ample room. In hindsight, maybe I should've just gotten in the line of stopped cars. I hate feeling like my decisions are influenced by the decisions of other bicyclists, especially when those decisions are kind of poor.
Something that isn't a poor decision is buying a button.
I don't know why sometimes car traffic is backed up through and around Dupont and why other times it isn't. Witchcraft, maybe? I'm sure it's frustrating for drivers, but it's frustrating for bicyclists and pedestrians, too, and maybe even more so. Who likes crossing a street when there's a bunch of impatient drivers in the middle of the intersection, each of whom is cognizant that they're stuck in traffic and blocking an intersection and wanting nothing more than to move forward as quickly as possible?
There was a man playing drums outside of the Metro. I liked it, though I suppose that more appropriate music for WMATA would be a sad trombone.
There was a many on a CaBi on Q who rang his bell every couple of seconds. It's not easy to ring a CaBi bell, accidentally or otherwise, so it must have been intentional for reasons that I really don't understand. Perhaps he just wanted the attention that a bike bell brings, aka none. Ding ding ring ring.
I think that if I were marketing a bike bell, and I'm not, the name of my company would be Lord of the Rings.
Buy a button and still feeling generous? Support DC's very own Girl on a Bike as she raises money for the Police Unity Tour. I can't promise that this will do anything than raise money for a very good cause and make you feel really good about yourself, but those things are pretty great, so yeah. Do it.
Squadra Coppi guy with Zipp wheels at 11th and New York. Must've been going on a group ride because I can't imagine that this was his commuting bike.
Don't block drivers from making left turns at 7th and Penn. It's rude.
So many people on Bikeshare bikes downtown. I really think it's revolutionizing tourism in DC. Of course, overall, it's a really minimal number of tourists who are actually using Bikeshare, but I think that it fills a niche for a certain group of people and I think that this niche has the potential to grow. Come to DC, ride Bikeshare. Is it doing the same in Boston and MSP and Denver? (anyone know?)
That thing where you're riding behind someone and then he slows down and moves over even though you'd prefer he didn't so you ride past but then you slow down for the next light and then he passes you. I don't get it.