Ride In 4/4: Trees, Shirt, Cheese

It's odd to be tailgated from almost the exact moment you lift your bike from the sidewalk to the street, especially on a residential street like mine where there's pretty much nothing special in any direction that would draw car traffic, except for maybe the Armory and the nunnery (Between Armory and Nunnery is my yet-to-written novel about Jean D'Arc) and there's a school around the corner where people might be dropping off their kids. But you don't have to be on a big fancy street to have a car drive within a few feet off your back wheel, in a way that would be menacing if I wasn't so sure that it was completely without malice. It was just unthinking. It lasted a block and then it was over.
The tailgating proved distraction to my other morning woe, the morning woe concerning my morning joe, which normally rests in its mug in a duct-taped water bottle cage. For whatever reason (witchcraft is always my go-to reason, but it could really be anything), the mug refused to rest upright and titled leftward, brushing against my bare calf (not my bear calf, an evil Moreau-ian hybrid), which was mildly annoying with each pedal. I examined the cage as I pedaled along and it might have been slightly off-kilter, but I didn't really know what to do about it and I definitely didn't know which steps would require little effort and no stopping. Eventually, after fiddling around with the mug for a few more blocks, I decided that I'd just put it in my bag and that's what I did, much to my continued disappointment at each subsequent stop where I'd normally sip some coffee. How do people pass time at red lights without drinking coffee? What do you do with your hands?
Is bike polo a legal activity for the area around the Capitol? I know that some guys sometimes (or used to) play roller hockey by the White House, so maybe some wheeled recreation could take place by the legislature. Checks and balances and stuff. I know very little about bike polo (can horses even ride bikes? would they ride tandems since they have four legs?), but I assume that it needs a large, flat, empty surface and the front (east) of the Capitol certainly meets the criteria. And what a better way to edcuate middle school students about getting the hell out of the way or being hit with a mallet? Solutions!
I need to start paying better attention to the other bicyclists around me. Not because I'm bumping into them or anything, but because I feel like I'm missing key details about the composition of the bike commuting community and thereby cannot convey them to you, my dedicated nine readers. I haven't noticed too much in the way of "trends," except maybe the amplification in numbers of all of the types of bicyclists that had previously existed, except for "hipsters on fixies" (broadly understood) who appear to be holding steady or maybe in decline. There's been a minor increase in people riding in workout clothes without backpacks or racks or anything else, which makes me think that they're riding recreationally during commuting times, which always throws me off.
A bike lane isn't wide enough for two cyclists to ride next to each other. It's also not wide enough confines for passing another cyclists. These aren't opinions.
Maybe 12 bicyclists at the intersection of Mass and 15th from the other direction and me and another woman who had just squeezed past me on the left at the red at the previous intersection. Did our numerical superiority stop 4 inconsiderate drivers from blocking the intersection? What do you think? It's frustrating. We need enforcement and we need better engineering, but we also need an attitude shift.
Bike brakes can make weird noises. Some guy's CaBi made one of the worst noises I've ever heard. It was the sound of a broken toaster in a broken blender in a microwave dropped from a helicopter. More or less. It was horrendous and I hope he pressed the "wrench" button when he docked. That button, contrary to popular belief, doesn't dispense your very own complementary wrench, but instead notifies Bikeshare that the bike is in trouble.
DC election round-up: we blew it.
Some pedestrians treat paths like some cyclists treat streets: like they're trying to prove a point. Proving points is fine, but I'm just trying to get to where I'm going, like pretty much everyone else and I'd really appreciate any degree of accommodation with the understanding that I'll do as much in turn. You know, just in case that one guy who really, really didn't even want to move over slightly is reading this. I think he had a mustache. You'd figure that the mustachioed would have a greater amount of empathy, but that's not always the case.
It can be pretty disheartening when you ride past someone on a hill, especially near the top. It's happened to me and it's deflating, so that's why I try not to do it to others. Unless they have mustaches, in which all bets are off (See? That one guy totally ruined it for everyone else). The problem is that if you're not passing someone, you're just lollygagging behind them and that also could make someone feel self-conscious and deflated. So, in conclusion, drive to work. Just kidding! I don't really have a solution though. Maybe just avoid getting too close to the person in front of you.
I picked up about 7 copies of the Washington City Paper at the box across from the driveway to the parking garage where I lock my bike. I didn't put them in my bag, but just sort of carried them resting them atop my handlebars and then I was the crazy newspaper bike guy that one of my colleagues seemed to try really hard to avoid. There's some "best of" decoupage in my future.


  1. The bike polo "can horses even ride bikes?" line just brightened the morning for those of us stuck in the bikeshare warehouse. One of your best quips yet.

  2. Stuck in the bikeshare warehouse? That sounds like one of the most awesome places to get stuck ever. In fact, if the bikeshare warehouse had overnight sleepovers, I'd come and I'd bring popcorn. Thanks for reading!