Ride In 5/10: M. Night Shyamalan's Oliver Twist

A bit windy. Cool. Many people on bikes today. If we can get some consistently nice weather, I think that we'll finally be able to draw out the remainder of the fair weather bike commuting set and then they'll stay out until September assuming it doesn't get too hot or rain. I'm not totally convinced that the currently existing DC bike infrastructure is enough to accommodate "peak bike" (or whatever is analogous to this), not if bike infrastructure is ever built in a way that's forward-looking, like when they overbuild a highway anticipating the induced demand. My suspicion is that this isn't the case.
The Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes is the best thing that's ever happened to pedestrians on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is six lanes wide. It provides a refuge. Sure, it's annoying for bicyclists, but in the aggregate, I'm much less worried about a person facing harm or grievous injury from being struck by a bicyclist than I would their being struck by a car. I try to have patience with people who've jaywalked their way into the middle of the lane, but I admit that this would be easier if they didn't scowl at me. Dude, it's a bike lane! It's like if I showed uninvited up at your house at dinnertime, gave one look at the tacos you're serving and then dumped them in the trash. That's just not cool. In reality, were I to crash "taco night," I'd be very grateful. This why I always carry a mocajete in my pannier.
The cycle track is only wide enough for two cyclists, either one heading in each direction or one passing the other. Trying to squeeze past me on the left while someone approaches from the other direction is not a sign of good judgment. Doing so at your 'max' speed and then totally crapping out as you get closer to the intersection of 15th and New York at the top of the moderate incline also indicates that doing so was perhaps not in your best interest. I'm pretty sure there's a part in Ecclesiastes that references a "time to pedal hard, and a time to take it easy because you're in a crowded cycle track and, furthermore, exorbitant physical exertion in the name of making marginal gains in a fictitious race is wholly unnecessary." I think that's in the King James version. Or the Lord Jim version.
I still try to bring coffee with me on every ride. It's very nice to sip coffee at stop lights. Finding the handlebar mounted samovar was a bit of a hassle. I think I'd like to do an entire tea service while biking, but I'll need to hire a team of butlers to escort me. It could get expensive. Steep prices. (That's a tea pun. I apologize.)
Grey suit guy. Passes on the right. Makes a left turn from a right-hand bike lane. Clothes makes the man, but clothes don't make the man a more conscientious city cyclist. WABA classes might.
Looks, it's a Biden motorcade. Or a Bidencade, as the kids call it these days.

One of these days, he'll express his support of bike commuting and it'll be a big fucking deal.
About half way up Massachusetts, I looked over and saw another bicyclist. He was plodding his way up the hill, riding in the street and I was parallel him, plodding my way up the hill on the sidewalk. I felt bad about this, mostly because I worried that my choice is not riding in the road somehow made his choice of doing it seem wrong or invalidating. I could imagine some jerk driver thinking "that guy [me] has no problem riding on the sidewalk, why can't you?!" I don't know whether these kinds of thoughts are rational. At the next intersection, I left the sidewalk and rode behind him, on the street. I have no idea what he idea he had about what I was doing. I hope he didn't think I was trying to wheelsuck or Cat6 him. Not my intention at all. Solidarity.
I darted across the crosswalk at Ward Circle and this apparently made a man in a minivan very upset with me. He had to stop his car. I suppose I could've waited for the drivers to pass and there would have been more time for get to get across the street, but I felt bold and relatively comfortable that the sign reminding drivers of their obligations to yield to pedestrians would in fact fulfill its purpose and abet my safe crossing, which it did. Nonetheless, this angry man in the minivan proceeded to remove his left hand from the steering wheel, twist his body towards his passenger window and angrily wag a finger in my general direction, while muttering invective I couldn't hear. I doubt what he was saying was complementary. I smiled and said something back like "It's not me" or something vaguely incoherent in and of itself but connoting the idea that drivers are faced with the responsibility of yielding and not the other way around. This man seemed angry. I tweeted about it when I got to work a little later. I'm a reasonably content person and I want other people to be happy, in a reasonably selfless kind of way. And I'm just not convinced that having to drive a car makes people happy. It's expensive, stressful and alienating. Sure, sometimes it might be necessary, but so is going to the dentist and that's not something I'd want to do each day. (Bike lanes are like fluoridation...?) Anyway, I don't think there's anything wrong in saying that I'd prefer a city where people didn't feel like to had to drive so much and a society in which drivers respect and have more understanding for those who don't. I don't know how to get there, but it's worth considering.


  1. On Jeopardy! last night, Biden read some questions about cars, noting that he's "a big car guy" (which I found odd, since he took Amtrak all those years in Congress). So I'm not holding my breath for him to show up at any BTWD stations or anything, although that would be awesome.

  2. At these interest rates, it's hard to do anything with your investive anyway...so I can understand why he's flinging it at cyclists taking advantage of rules meant to enable pedestrians to cross the street.

    I jest -- I have a similar marked (and flashing lights when you press a button!) crosswalk at the Braddock Road metro station, crossing busy Braddock Road from the off-road walking/biking path to the station. I act like a pedestrian there and use it carefully (wary of cars not stopping), but I wonder if I'm allowed to/supposed to use pedestrian rules, as a cyclist generally is supposed to act like a car and follow car rules. When there's a pedestrian crossing at the same time as me, I have no problem forcing cars to stop. When it's just me, I do question if it's fair -- but I still do it).

  3. Biden being a car guy does not surprise me. I can totally see him rebuilding a '68 Camaro in the driveway of the Naval Observatory, sippin' on cans of PBR.

  4. PBR -- Biden being an accidental hipster wouldn't surprise me, just like he's an accidentally cutting-edge on gay rights.

  5. Yeah, but if Biden came out in support of bicycling it would threaten the car society.

    I'm totally with you on the guilt when I take a sidewalk instead of a fast-moving street and another cyclist takes the lane. I've been walk-commuting since I'm injured, and have been counting the number of cyclists who brave riding Connecticut Ave across Taft Bridge. The number is definitely up recently.

    You're so NICE. I have a tough time reining in my Midwestern mouth when a driver yells/shoots a dirty look at me because I thwarted said driver from doing something illegal and dangerous to my well-being.