Ride In 4/23: Renaissance Popes also permitted self-indulgences

A good bike commute, for me at least, is one where my legs, lungs, bike and brain all work together, with the legs, lungs and bike moving me forward, freeing the brain to pay attention to stuff, some of which gets transcribed in this here very blog or think of hilarious limericks, most of which go unrecordered. And for the most part, that works out, but it wasn't really happening today. I was strangely out of breath and my legs didn't seem to have the impact on the pedals that I expected, confusing the brain and distracting me. In was weird. In case you haven't been paying attention for the last year or so, I'm not the biggest fan of exertion during my bike commute. Physical exertion can be used for better things, like building an orphanage or picking up trash from a playground or something- it doesn't really need to be directed into a bike commute, which can normally be accomplished through minimal output. But today that wasn't happening and I felt myself having to push harder than I would've wanted just to make the bike go. And then there was the cold and the wet, out of place in late April. And it was a Monday morning, so that exactly didn't make things seem peachy either. In conclusion, not one of my favorite rides. Oh well. There's always another bike commute.
Significantly fewer bicyclists until 15th, but it wasn't empty either. At 15th, there was some police action, blocking car traffic in both directions and I was unclear as to whether it would block me, but I asked the officer if I could go through and he was like, "yeah, sure" and that was nice. My base assumption is that bike traffic and car traffic will be treated the same in situations like this, but that's rarely true. Nevertheless, if there's an actual person standing in the street and he's wearing a uniform and seems to be in charge of the situation and the situation seems out of the ordinary, I recommend always asking if you can proceed rather than just assuming that it's safe/permitted to go through. Normally, it's fine, but in a hypothetical case where it wouldn't be, I don't need bike my way into the middle of something where I oughtn't be, like a hostage situation or a bomb threat or whatever else has the potential to bring about lights, sirens and police cruisers blocking traffic. But I'm cautious.
Almost got left-hooked by a Terminix van coming from 15th to O Street. Some drivers just really aren't good at estimating the speeds of other vehicles, which is sort of a problem, since that's kind of one of the core competencies of driving. The other thing is that I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately and I'm sad to admit that the first thing I thought when I skidded to avoid the van was EXTERMINATE, because I was imagine a Dalek exterminator and how funny and appropriate that would be for a Terminix ad campaign.
I spent much of my ride on Q behind a woman on a Bikeshare bike. She didn't look very comfortable at all. She especially looked uncomfortable when we were shoaled at 16th and then again at Connecticut. A few times, she tried to use her feet as brakes. She turned at 21st.
Riding up Mass, it was really quiet. Spooky quiet. One guy had his car radio on, blasting some techno remix of inescapable Gotye song and it went beat beat beat beat beat before Kimbra belted I DON'T WANT TO LIVE THAT WAY, as I pondered the long line of stopped SUVs, idling in what seemed like interminable traffic. That's called symbolism or something. Or coincidence. Or both. Or really heavy-handed point-making by a smug bike commuter blogger.
I'm sure I've mentioned her before, but I rode up most of hill behind Ms. Blue Tires. I did't want to pass her because I wasn't convinced that I would be able to maintain the pace to stay in front of her (and didn't want to feel compelled to, as I would, had I passed), so I hung back and sort of regretted it, since that just made me more aware of how my legs, lungs, bike and brain weren't all getting along. My nose wasn't crazy about the ride either, but I'm pretty sure that it (he? does a nose have gender?) was exogenous to the whole situation, but I can't know for sure. Here's to feeling better later, a task that's been complicated by my leaving my office window open all weekend. But I've got my work hoodie on and plan to consume some coffee this afternoon. Oh, also, does anyone want to write a post for tonight? Please? Email talesfromthesharrows@gmail.com. There's no format, no preferred content, no length and virtually no editing, so write what moves you, preferably if what moves you is a bicycle.

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