It was a nice enough morning. I wore normal people clothes. My feelings towards bike clothes have really evolved over my years of bike commuting ("my years of bike commuting" is meant to connote a passage of time, not stand in for some kind of expertise) from the desire to own and wear bike-specific clothing, so I could blend in and be taken seriously by the "bike set" to the desire to dress as much like a normal person as possible (normal people wear sequined chaps, right?) blend in and be taken seriously by the "regular people who happen to bike" set. In conclusion, you really shouldn't make decisions based on being taken seriously by any set, because that's a terrible way to pick out a weather-appropriate outfit and furthermore the people in the Gap are just going to stare at you when you ask if their jeans look sufficiently "bikey." If that happens, I encourage you to ask the security guard as he escorts you from the store. Wear what you want. But never bike without a #bikeDC button.
I saw a woman who was wearing a helmet, but also had a helmet strapped to her backpack. That's like having a back-up parachute for walking down the stairs. Or maybe her backpack has a soft spot. Somewhat oddly, after she turned around and saw that I was riding behind her, but not too closely, she slowed to a near stop and waved me past. I don't get it. Maybe she just wanted to get a better look at the #bikeDC button on my saddlebag.
I know that there's no correlation (necessarily) between the kind of bike one rides and the way one rides it, but it's always strange to me to see someone on a sleek road bike who seems afraid to "open it up" and instead slowly plods along. If you're going to slowly plod (and trust me, there's nothing wrong with slowly plodding. I do it every day), there are many better bikes suited to that a skinny tired road bike. ("Skinny, tired, rode bike" is my "Eat, Shoots & Leaves" spin-off.) Maybe he was just plodding in the hopes that I would pass him so he could check out my button. It is snazzy.
I love seeing people I know during my bike commute. Today, I passed N. and V. as they patiently waited at the light at Penn and 4th. I waved. They waved. It was very cordial. And then I thought a little bit about how awkward it would be if I ever did anything on my bike that I'd be less than proud of (shoaled, wheelsucked, cut someone off, etc.) and then found out that the cyclist I offended was someone I knew. Gosh, that'd be embarrassing. So, I've extrapolated that maybe I should try to introduce myself to all other bicyclists in DC and encourage them to introduce themselves to everyone else and then we'll all know each other and then our collective sense of being worried about potential embarrassment from dickish behavior will make DC a much better place for bicycle riding. I don't think this plan is tenable. So instead, what I'm thinking, is that maybe everyone should just a button and that can be like a "get out of a jail free" card, in case you do something to offend another cyclist. Because we all make mistakes every so often.
Have you purchased your BikeFest ticket yet? It's the Friday after next, which might or might not mean that Ice Cube will be there. I'll be there at least. I'll probably even be wearing a button. It should be a really good time. I hope there are gin fizzes.
Honking. It's not a sound of nature. And if a driver expects a honk to prompt any sort of behavior or recognition from me, he's going to be sorely disappointed. I don't even bother turning around anymore. I used to do the whole "whirl and WHAAAA?" to show up my well-earned indignation, but now I pretty much just tune it out and assume it's not directed at me. The extent to which this is the right thing to do is debatable.
On Q, I rode behind a dad and his kid on a bike with a trail-a-bike. To clarify, I was not the one on the trail-a-bike, but I was on my own bike, riding behind them. The kid had a Spiderman backpack and helmet. I've seen them before. I'm not totally sure what happened, but they sort of stopped short and I sort of had to stop short too and this was at the same time as a large dump truck squeezed alongside of us. I skidded to a halt, narrowly being missed by the truck and avoided collision with the rear wheel of the trail-a-bike. It was my fault- for whatever reason, I didn't give myself enough room to stop and I'm glad nothing came of it. But I've never felt so much sympathy for Dr. Octupus.
I rode a very low gear to the top of the hill. Do you know that Passport DC is coming up? You can visit embassies, so if you're into that sort of thing in a non-asylum-seeking way, have at. There's also the EU Embassy open house. You might want to go, you know, just in case there isn't one next year.
They play kickball at St. Albans. One guy went into shrubbery to make a catch. That's some good work. (I have a vested interest in this since I'm part of a Fantasy Episcopalian Prep School Intramural Kickball league.)
It's a really good feeling when you set the goal of trying to catch up to a bicyclist who is really far in front of you and you're able to manage that. It's less good when you see his gray hair and think that your rabbit was and 80 year old man. But, then it's ok again, when you realize that he's not 80, but like in his early 40s and is Brett Favre/Kobe Bryant "old." And yes, I did just compare my catching up to some random other bike commuter to iconic sportsmen, thus seeming to elevate my accomplishment through this association.