Bicycling, allegedly, provides cardiovascular benefits, but it probably doesn't prove the maximum amount of positive benefit if you're smoking a cigarette during your ride. I was behind a guy this morning and rode directly through his puff of smoke. I recognized the acrid waft by its smell, otherwise I might have though his mustache had spontaneously combusted. I think this is the first time I've encountered a smoking bike commuter and I'd like to applaud his efforts on behalf of bike advocacy. If someone can smoke a cigarette while biking to work, how hard could it possibly be? WABA should give this guy a medal, or maybe a patch. Anyway, I'm probably going to start smoking cigars on my way to work now because of one-upsmanship. Smoking is the new Cat 6 racing. (My goal is to take up a CaBi up Porter while smoking an unfiltered Lucky Strike. If I can do that, it will prove that I am immortal). I know that smoking while riding a bike seems dangerous, you know, because of the fire and whatnot, but he was wearing a helmet.
They're setting up tents for some Memorial Day event in front of the Capitol. I was able to ride through this morning, but it might be blocked on the way home.
Saw Adam at the base of the hill, near 3rd street. He said hello, I said hello. Then something else happened and it has completely slipped my mind what it was but I can recall thinking to myself "remember this for later," so please accept my telling you about failing to remember as a substitute for whatever it was that I actually wanted to tell you about. It was probably something very important, like my secret goulash recipe or that there was a bird or something. Oh well.
Riding along Penn, I came upon Justin, heading his for his first ever Friday Coffee Club. We rode together up Penn and then I took him on his inaugural secret E Street sidewalk journey. I think that he doubted the legality of this route, but it's a perfectly good and safe way to get across from 15th to 17th. It will be better when E Street is reopened in some way, since the over-securitization of the area is really unfair to visitors and residents alike. And the Ellipse is just one big parking lot and that's terrible as well. Sometimes I wonder if the only things the security guards are actually guarding are their own cars. I mean, other than the White House.
Then it was up 17th, sucking in exhaust from a bus and over to Swing's, where the bike parking is proving inadequate to meet demand. Maybe it's time for some racks out front or a part-time bike valet.
Coffee happened and we all left. Well, I presume we all left. Maybe some of you are still there. I left, at least. Back across the White House plaza (but on the other side than the route to Swing's), up 15th, R and up Mass. On Mass, I found myself riding behind a guy who was on a fixie and normally I can fairly well keep pace with other bicyclists, but I just didn't have it in me and he skittered away and I slithered back and also probably just misused skitter and slither. Creative license (to kill).
At Mass and 34th, I really appreciated the fixie rider's boldness when he rode into the crosswalk even though a driver seemed to be wishing to cut us off to make a right turn. He put himself in front of the turning car, refusing to cede the right of way, which in principle, is the correct thing to do. But winning arguments on principle isn't always the safest thing to attempt.
Near the top of the hill, I passed what appeared to be a car-car-bus crash. The only noticeable damage was the front-bike carrier from the bus, which detached and was mangled on the street. There were no bikes in the carrier to be damaged, so that'd be good. I always worry when I put my bike on the front of a bus, mostly about it falling off because I failed to secure it properly, but now I can add to that list worrying about it being collateral damage in a car crash. I didn't see what had happened to cause the incident and didn't stick around to see how it would be resolved.
No turn on red at Mass and Wisconsin. Well, yeah, for everyone but the three drivers who I saw do it today. They're probably grandfathered in or something. That intersection is a traffic violation nightmare, in part because it's very restrictive in what it allows drivers to do and some drivers don't want to abide by those restrictions. So they don't. And the world seems to go on without the driving "community" gnashing its teeth and pulling out its hair wondering about how to get more people to follow the laws.
I got to work a sweaty mess. I think that biking in work clothes (such as they are. I rode in jeans and a t-shirt.) is pretty much a no-go from this point forward. It's legitimately terrible weather and unless you have some kind of disease/superpower that prevents perspiration, there's not much you can do about looking a mess if you're riding more than a few miles. And worse than looking a mess (because really, I think I give far too little consideration about how I actually look and this isn't such a good thing) is just feeling gross. You shouldn't have to feel gross to prove a point that biking is a normal activity. Don't martyr yourself for on a cross of cycle chic.