I'm the goldilocks on sidewalk cycling: traffic has to be going too fast (35-40 mph) or too slow (0 mph) and I'll ditch the road for the sidewalk. I won't don a blonde wig and I won't eat porridge. Unless of course, you're willing to make a substantial donation to WABA. $500 and I'm at an all-you-can-eat porridge buffet, flaxen. But that's not the point. Tonight I could tell that something was amiss on Massachusetts and car traffic seemed to be moving far too slowly, and by that, I mean not at all. So I rode on the sidewalk and was all zip zip zip past the stopped cars and then I was all like "shit, this traffic is going on forever" and then I was like "seriously, dude, how far backed up is this?" and then at Sheriden Circle, at least a mile (an urban mile is at least 10 times the length of a country mile) down the road, there was still traffic and it was all because one road, 23rd street, was closed to traffic. And people in cars, and on buses, were stuck. And that must have been horrible for them. Most of the reason I commute by bike is because I'm a pinko green liberal yahoo, but at least 20% of the reason I ride to work is because I'm a fiercely libertarian misanthropic yahoo. And this 20% of me was activated by seeing these people in cars and on buses held hostage by a road closure and I felt nothing but sympathy and sorrow for how utterly helpless they were in this situation. When I'm driving, I hate to be stuck in traffic. When I take the bus, I hate to wait for it. When I take the Metro, I have legitimate fears about being abducted by mole people. But also I don't like waiting for the train. Or if it's really crowded. Or if the doors open while the train is moving. Basically, bike commuting is the only means of travel by which I can cover significantly longish distances without having to rely on other people or circumstances that I can't control. Road closed? I'll take another. Traffic on the road? I'll be on the sidewalk (where legal). Lurking mole people? Well, presumably they're blind, so maybe I'll just quietly pedal away and they won't know that I was there. This is the best reason to keep your chained lubed, by the way. Anyway, this is the trade-off of going by car- minimal effort, but maximum reliance. On a bike, I might be vulnerable, but at least I'm self-sufficient.
Guy boppin' to go-go pumping from his car stereo. Gimme the bridge now.
Q to 7th. Passed a guy on a recumbent. Did not check to see if he had a beard. 7th is the best and most direct way to get to BicycleSpace, DC's best bicycle shop (now with new website). I had to do a consult about my potential new bike. No test ride. I think we're getting some good ideas about things to do with the new bike and with the Cross Check. Good, expensive ideas. But not that expensive because I think I've got extra parts and should be able to make various accessory adjustments without the purchase of new stuff. So that's good.
From BicycleSpace, I head back in the opposite direction, westerly that is, back down M Street because I was going to a bar to meet my wife. The bar was called Recessions. Still is called that, probably. What I learned on M Street is that Hitler would probably drive a minivan, had he the opportunity. Yeah, I just went there.
Apres bar, it was down L Street and then 15th and down to Penn and past a pedicab and around some illegally turning cars and past some other drivers who couldn't quite clear the intersection before the light turned. And then there were some bicyclists, but more of them heading in the opposite direction than towards my home and that was all for the best since my home really wouldn't be prepared to host a cavalcade of bike commuters. We don't have nearly enough corn chips. Rode up Capitol Hill out of the saddle and pumped my legs and made the bike go faster than I thought it would have gone. Followed a superbiker-type on East Capitol. Many drivers in the bike lane, but I'm sure they didn't mean it ugly, as my mother-in-law might say.
If the commute through my neighborhood were a bad 90s standup routine, I'd write:
White people bike commute like this: [guy biking, looking normal] and black people bike like this: [guy biking, looking normal]. And that's pretty much all I have to say about biking and race in DC, other than that it really doesn't seem to be as fraught a topic as some would make it out to be.
Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day. I'll be at the Reagan Building, circa 8. Say hello.