Ride Home 5/3: Unstuck in time

Much of the draw of the "city" is the wide variety of sights and sounds and opportunities for licentiousness and intrigue and experience and trouble and fun and wonderfulness all within a relatively compact geographical area. I admit that it's difficult as a bike commuter to avoid wanting to divert from my path and follow the wafts of potential adventure and excitement. A bike allows you to do this, whereas people in cars tend to stay in cars. But it's difficult to balance my quest for novelty and danger with my otherwise fairly strong desire to go home and sit on the couch. Some things, frankly, are more tempting than others. Today, I was barely able to resist one of those things:

Luckily, I peeled myself away. My bike, however, disagreed and my chain slipped off as I stopped at the next light. I fixed it and moved on. I tried not to touch my shirt or face for the rest of the ride, so as to avoid smudges of chain gunk transferring from my fingers. I haven't looked in the mirror tonight (I'm afraid of not seeing a vampire standing behind me), so I don't know how successful I was. Hopefully as successful as Kaspars Bambergs and Ernests Klavins.
How much gas is wasted by drivers accelerating to red lights? I think in monetary terms, it's probably the amount of the GDP of a medium sized country. I think the drivers might benefit from some kind of dashboard technology that tells them when they're optimizing their fuel economy, maybe displayed in dollars and cents. Or the currency of your choice. It'd be like smart meters. Assuming, of course, that people are willing to adjust behavior and choices towards their financial best interest. But I see a lot of SUVs still, so who knows.
This isn't related to my commute, or at least not my bicycle ride, but I was driving on Constitution Avenue along the National Mall tonight when I decided that I'm probably going to run for President of the United States in a couple of years. I pretty much have only one issue and it's removing one of the eastbound traffic lanes on Constitution and replacing it with a separated two-way cycle track, between a lane for parking and the sidewalk in front of the museums. I'm not sure that I can win the nomination, but if nominated, I will win and I will serve, at least so long as it takes to get NPS/Commission of Fine Arts/National Capital Planning Commission to get around to that. And then I will resign. And in my post-presidency, I will use that cycle track. I can't think of a simpler way to get this accomplished, or at least one that doesn't involve hostages. Anyway, if you're a crazy billionaire who'd like to start my Super PAC, please email/send a giant check.
I'm having a hard time recalling other things that might have happened during this ride. I think that maybe for a little I was shadowed by a guy riding on the sidewalk parallel to me. And then I did that thing where I worried that someone would fling open their car door without looking. Honestly, people, is it that hard? And then there was that taxi that stopped in the middle of the bike lane. And then the other one. And the other. I saw a little girl walking across the street and she was eating corn chips and she tripped and they fell on the ground and her parents scurried her out of the way because the light was changing and she was very upset about the loss of her chips and I was very upset that I would soon roll over them with my bicycle.
If people drived the way that they biked, I guess I'm pretty happy that they're biking instead of piloting a multiton vehicle. Geez. Also, do you ever laugh when you see that sign that says something like No Cars Over 1 1/4 tons? I do. It's like, oh neat, I won't be crushed by anything that's greater than ten times more than the weight of me and my bike. Thank goodness. I feel safer already.
Low gear up past the Capitol. American luxury sedans tend to attract older people who can barely see over the dashboard.
I rode to the grocery store and I couldn't find the buttermilk, but asked for help and then was able to find it. I was able to find the blueberries. We had pancakes for dinner/breakfast. I was going to stop and get some pretzels, but the pretzel place had a line. Unbelievable. The only times I've ever been past the place it's either had a line out the door or been out of pretzels. It's down the block from the crepe place and I wonder what the owners of the creperie think of their plebeian competition. Neither place has bike parking. My house has bike parking. It's inside and it's where my bike is right now.
Cop on the corner right by the house. I put my foot down at the stop sign. Emphatically.


  1. Hybrid cars, I've heard, have this exact thing on their dash that you talk about. But, as you point out, people still drive Hummers. Also, when I see someone idling with their windows up on a perfect 68 degree day, it is quite clear that gas prices are NOT too high (at least for that person).

    Pancakes for dinner? The Official Wife is a lucky woman.

  2. I think you should worry about your DCBAC position before you start looking into higher office, though I agree that your goals are laudable.

  3. If you had stopped at the Latvian Embasy, perhaps you could have finished your commute on a reindeer!