5/16/12

Ride In 5/16 and Ride Home 5/16: Carolus Parvus

I took Bikeshare today. Funny that 18 months later it's so mundane. It's really changed transportation in the city (for some people) and it will soon change transportation in New York (for some people) and Chicago (for some people). And, the haters will get over it. I decided to take Bikeshare because I had an off-campus work event was near a Bikeshare station and that's pretty much all the excuse I needed. I tend not to wear a helmet when I ride a CaBi. You may judge accordingly. Also, if you're under the age of 16, I believe that DC has a law against your reading this blog post unless you wear a helmet. Jousting helmet will suffice. Also, if you're under the age of 16 and you're not an orphan and you're reading this, you have terrible parents. Do schoolwork or something.
I rode up Mass and then down the sidewalk on the south side of the park because I thought that it would be faster for some reason and it wasn't and all I succeeded in doing was annoying runners and people walking their dogs. Should've just stuck to the street and ridden the counter-clockwise loop.
What happened on East Capitol? YOU CAN'T HANDLE WHAT HAPPENED! (Ok, I'm sort of blanking on this stretch of my morning ride. I didn't take it on the ride back, so this is pretty much all your going to get with regard to that street. Sorry, East Capitol aficionados.)
Schoolchildren. Ugh.
Pennsylvania was a good bit and I didn't see a single driver make an illegal u-turn. Progress! Ok, maybe not. There was another guy on a CaBi who kept shoaling people and I didn't really get what that was all about. He even talked to a guy that he pulled up alongside. Is that ok? I don't think it's ok. But I'm a grump.
Scaffolding truck in the bike lane? Check.
Police car in the bike lane? Check.

I took this picture from across the street near the dock at 15th and P. I docked, waited a little, and then took off again. I was determined not to take more than 30 minutes to make it to work and, realistically, I had no idea how long it would take me to drag the CaBi the last few miles. I probably should have thought about it a little deeper because I convinced myself that I really needed to hustle in order to make it. I hustled.
It's not that some drivers don't know about bike lanes. It's just that they don't care. It's not like some bicyclists don't know about stop signs. It's just that they don't care. It's apathy, though I don't think it's the same kind of apathy.
Here's my though process going up the hill on Mass: Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! $1.50 is on the line and you cannot SCREW THIS UP! Unlike other bicyclists, whose fancy road bikes make them all race-y, I think I'm at my worst/most competitive when I'm on a Bikeshare bike. It's kind of ridiculous. Whatever gets you there, I guess. I kept my clean slate and made it in 21 minutes. I also offset 2.35 lbs of CO2, but not really since I'm pretty sure my regular bike does emit CO2, but maybe I should look into that. I arrived at work thoroughly gross. Luckily I started pretty gross, so...
[A number of hours have passed since I wrote the above and I'm only returning to the blog now. I know that this isn't important to you, the reader, but I feel like I should be honest and let you know that these are really two distinct compositions within one post. I could disambiguate them, but I don't think that'll really accomplish anything. And, if you're wondering, the separation in time wasn't a deliberate attempt to recreate the normal separation in time between the writing of the ride in and ride home posts. It's just that I had other stuff to do. Also, I re-read the above and it's really not my best work. So, sorry about that. Thus concludes meta-blogging]
My work event was near the Macomb/Wisconsin Bikeshare station and when the event wrapped up, as is my wont, I biked away. It was hot and the sun was angry and my right arm, the arm that was exposed in the sun when we sat for lunch, is now red and a little burnt. I didn't have the good sense to apply sunscreen and I regret this. In the hierarchy of biking necessities, sunscreen outranks a helmet and socks. It also beats three of kind, but not a full house. So, let me preach for the first time in a while, the virtues of sunscreen. "Let's make melanoma, melano m├ís," says Roberto Duran in the skin cancer advocacy campaign of my dreams.
Wisconsin to Massachusetts and down the narrow sidewalk on Garfield because I missed the light and then back on to the street for the downhill and the little climb. I skipped Cleveland, the road I know, to take Garfield to Woodley, a road I know not (last time I ever take biking directions from a poet) and it was ok, but a little windy and not very straightforward in where it planned to take me. I think there was a bike route sign but it said "Mount Rainier" and that's not really useful for me, since I didn't want to go to Mount Rainier, so I ignored it and then I ended up crossing Connecticut Avenue north of where I would have crossed had I taken Calvert. That's around the time that I realized that I might be riding down into the park and that was exactly was happened. Whoops. And then I was the guy on the CaBi riding in Rock Creek Park. Two things of note in the park: awesome superbiker riding on the road, easily keeping up with car traffic and maybe even exceeding the speed limit. He was not riding a CaBi. I must've been inspired or something, because I ended up passing a youngish guy on his normal bike and this made me feel proud or something.
The P Street exit from the park is rather steep. There's also no sidewalk on the north side.
Fearing that too much time had elapsed and I was in need of a dock ("Dock your bike or they'll dock your pay" could be a phrase that people could say if it made sense), but not in immediate need, so it was through Dupont Circle and down Massachusetts on the other side. That was when my bag came loose from its bungee mooring and fell free from the bike's front basket (rack? rasket?), crashing with not so much a thud as a clang since the only thing in my bag was my thermos. I stopped and went back to get it. I thought about abandoning it forever, but that seemed wasteful.
I did an immensely stupid thing and tried to ride in the narrow gap between cars and the curb on Massachusetts before 15th. I even scraped the outside of my right pedal on the curb. This was immensely stupid. There are very few contexts in which narrowly squeezing through treachery for modest gain makes sense. Outside of American Gladiators, that is.
I docked at Thomas Circle and then biked to 7th and M, where a guy asked me how much it costs to rent a bike. I said $7 a day. And then said "But the first 30 minutes are free" and "You can take them to any other dock" and I had to stop myself before I spent the next 45 minutes talking his ear off about the virtues of Bikeshare. He probably needed his ear.
I've been going back and forth about purchasing a certain bike from BicycleSpace and now I'm back and forth again and I'm not even going to go into the internal angst and drama, except to say that I might get this bike and might not and I enjoyed taking it for a test ride today, but I generally enjoy taking all kinds of bikes for test rides and that doesn't mean that those bikes make sense or are good matches for me.
Bikeshare again, this time at 5th and K. I don't know why I didn't just walk back to where I had previously docked. They moved the 5th and K station around the corner from where it used to be. Don't worry. I still found it. Down 5th, then E and past the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and then past Union Station, where I caught up to a guy on a mountain bike far better suited to the terrain than my CaBi.
A little more and not too far to home and I docked at my home station (the station nearest my home. I haven't (yet) convinced DDOT that I should have a private dock on my front porch) nd bought beer because I had forgotten that we already had some. I hope it doesn't spoil.

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It would be wrong not to get it.

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  2. I do the race-against-the-clock thing for CaBi, too. I usually make it just under 30 minutes. I win!

    I also have that thing where I generally like bikes I test ride-- I wish bike shops would loan it to you for a week, and then you can really decide whether you want it or not. Anyway, I went through the same angst recently, and took the plunge.

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  3. I have perfected the at-a-red-light-tell-a-tourist-about-CaBi-before-the-green elevator speech. It's an art form.

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