Ride Home 5/9: A twizzler as a swizzle stick

There's a moment when your worn down brake pads go from "haha, it sure is taking me a long time to stop and it's making a funny squeaky noise" to "OH MY GOD WHY AM I NOT STOPPING?" I'm not quite at that second moment yet, but I'm getting closer. Time to replace the pads. Don't know why they wear down so quickly.
Riding down Mass, Adam shouted out "Brian!" and I yelled back, across four lanes of car traffic, "Hey, what's going on?" or something to that affect. At least I think it was Adam. And then, when I saw him ride past on Q street when I was stopped, I shouted back "Adam!" and he rung his bell a couple of times and maybe that was for me or maybe that was because someone was walking in his path.
I deliver buttons. I make housecalls. I am very obliging, but it wasn't hard to be obliging tonight since the button I delivered was delivered to someone along my bike route. Thanks, Kyle! We chatted outside for a while about varied #bikenerd topics, like bikes and bike lanes and streetcars and smartgrowth and baseball (ok, that's not exclusively #bikenerd, but whatever) and advocacy and all that and it was a great time. During the chat, I saw Ross ride by and shouted at him. (Tonight had a lot of shouting, apparently). I only shouted "hey" or "hello" not anything weird like "Imma get you!" because that'd be hostile and weird. Ross and I used to ride together when I rode my bike on weekends. My goal is to know everyone who bikes in DC and shout at them, but in, like, a nice way. And give them a button. For money. For WABA.
We chatted for a long time, or at least long enough for it to start raining, and I got to ride home in the rain. It was a cold rain. And, apparently, it made people crazy. Drivers honked. Pedestrians ran for cover. The springs on pogo sticks rusted and snapped and everyone applauded. It got appropriately crazy on 11th and there was honking and weaving and more honking and more me ignoring the honking and there were pedicabs and bicyclists in rain gear and taxicabs and all sorts of other nonsense from drivers that I fully didn't understand because they, in their cars, had roofs over them and the rain did nothing more than dapple their windshields and cause about three quarters of them to have to turn on their lights.
Tour buses. Hilarious.
Were I able to take this picture in time, you'd see a bus emblazoned with "The Free Enterprise System." Love it. I know when I travel, I like to take buses that have mixed economy class, but I'm a crazy Marxist. FUN FACT: I'm not really a Marxist, though I do commute by bicycle.
What remained of the bike traffic in the rain tended the taper as did the rain and it was relatively lonely going up past the Capitol except for the other bicyclists I saw struggling against the wind and the last few droplets and no one looked especially happy and the man hidden behind the umbrella who almost walked into me looked- well, I'm not sure how he looked or if he even looked because he was behind an umbrella. Perhaps he had no face. Who knows.
Here's a thing that happens when you're on a bike. People talk to you. Crazy people. At the intersection of East Capitol and 8th, a woman shouted to me from the bus stop. She sounded like Snoop from The Wire.
"Yo, take me to DC General"
That's a hospital, not a highly ranked military official.
I said "What?" and she repeated herself. Then I said "Naw, that's not going to work." Because that' how I respond to crazy people. She didn't looked injured. Perhaps I should've suggested an ambulance. But instead, being sporting, I just pointed out that my bicycle would be unable to carry her to the hospital. She pointed to my rear rack. I was all like "No, that can't carry anything." Because, again, the reason I was unable to bike her to the hospital wasn't because she was a crazy lady accosting me from a bus stop but instead because of the load limitations of my rear rack. This is apparently how I respond to things- with technicalities. On Ellie the Poodle's first night, I took her outside at 3AM and some crazy high homeless guys (this was in Denver and we lived a block off Colfax and Colfax is the street of crazy and high and indigent in Denver) suggested that I sell Ellie to them. My response: "Nah, we just got her." Anyway, the light turned green and I biked away and then I was home and I'll do the whole thing again tomorrow because it's simply the best way of getting anywhere and I couldn't be happier about it.


  1. Responding to nonsensical people with technicalities actually works the best, I've found. Because if you respond as if it's a normal request and you're taking them seriously, they take you seriously back.

    Most of the time when someone is yelling at me, I have no idea that they are possibly directing their voice at me even though I have a pretty uncommon first name. I'm just in my own world.

  2. I once had a pair of somewhat rotund municipal worker-type ladies jokingly ask me for a ride up a hill as I was waiting for a stoplight or some such...I told them to hop on, but they realized that was too ridiculous to be an honest response...your situation sounds a bit trickier.

  3. HA! In Amsterdam, nearly everyone has someone riding on their rear racks. You clearly need to invest in a sturdier rack.