Ride In 5/30: Bone, Thugs, Stills & Nash

Hello again.

Crowded bike lanes and crowded lane lanes and just a tinge of bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians acting a bit more addled than the situation, a humdrum morning commute, might have called for. There are definitely some commutes that have a pall of senseless anxiety and when confronted with it, the best course of action is to accept it and not try to fight it. Commuter craziness is basically like quicksand. The more you struggle against it, the faster you go down.

Bringing kids around via bicycle seems to be a big new spring and summer trend. Perhaps I should swing by the orphanage and pick up a little imp. Or very much not. One kid, from his seat in the rear of the bike, spent much of his ride down East Capitol looking back at me, in what I can only presume to be taunting. On a different bike, another kid, front the seat on the handlebars, decided to go full banshee. Who needs a bell when you have a screaming two year old?

Cantor for Congress bumper sticker on a car with DC plates. This might be the most ineffectual bumper sticker ever. First of all, I can't vote for Eric Cantor since I don't live in his district. Second of all, I can't vote for Eric Cantor because I live in the District. Third of all, ugh.

Penn to 11th and up 11th, between the curb and buses. I find that it's best to yield to a bus when its driver plans to pull into a stop, rather than trying to pass it on the right. Just a friendly bit of advice (Actually, no, it's not because I'm secretly trying to undermine you because I am in a secret race with all other bike commuters and when you're slowing down to let the bus not run you over, I'm sneaking by on the right side and WINNING THIS RACE! Oh, I'm sorry. I seem to have revealed my completely pointless nefarious plan by which I demonstrate that, unbeknownst to you, I can opt to keep my bicycle in front of your bicycle while we share the same route for some amount of time. Why must I always reveal my nefarious plans at meaningless competition?)

Intersections are the worst. It's like all of the sudden there's a totally different bunch of people who might want to go in a direction that's totally different from the one you're going. This is why I try to slow to a near stop at intersections, especially when state-sanctioned road art (traffic engineers primarily work in two media: octagonal shapes and luminated circles. I find their work to be a bit derivative) suggests as much. The reason I do this isn't so much out of desire to comply with the wishes of our government (because I'm a "don't tread on me" type) so much as my desire to avoid confrontation with other user users (because I'm a "don't tread one me" type, when it comes to big trucks, especially). Today, I watched a bicyclist almost barrel into two pedestrians who, started to cross 11th street before finishing crossing Massachusetts. The cyclist had a red light. The pedestrians had a don't walk sign. Everyone was wrong in the eyes of the law (I thought justice was blind?), but that hardly matters. The bicyclist should've still slowed down at the intersection because these are precisely the kinds of things that happen at intersections and you should be able to anticipate that! So, if you don't plan on completely stopping (and this is totally fine with me. Do whatever), I suggest that you might want to consider nearly stopping so as to prevent things like this from happening. I know that if I hit a pedestrian with my bike, I'd feel like a dumbass, so my goal is to not do that.

Almost all of the riders I saw today were wearing helmets. Almost none of them were wearing epaulettes. Ok, none.

I'd like to thank Charles Hurt for writing the dumbest thing ever about Bikesare and not including one reference to lycra or "Lance Armstrong wannabes". I see this as a tremendous tipping point in the continued rise of cycling as transportation and not just a recreational activity. I'm not sure if I'm being facetious either.

R street through (or around) Sheriden Circle and up Massachusetts before I really found out if my legs were having a good time, which they sort of were. I don't know if I made it up the hill faster or slower than usual, but I made it through the green light at Garfield which doesn't normally happen. I've done this ride hundreds of times and it's always something when I catch a green that I don't normally make. It's a super small, almost pointlessly small thing, that makes me really happy.


  1. Trying to predict and move safely with buses is one of the hardest things about city cycling. I tend to be more conservative and will wait behind a bus if I think it is about to pull out into traffic. I'm always surprised at how many of my fellow cyclists think this is a sign of weakness. Here's a tip: In any bus-cyclist entanglement, the bus will always win.

    Whew, I feel better. Come to think of it, I see most of this silliness on 11th St. Why do you think that is.

  2. Nice work with kid taunting and double use of Don't Tread on Me. You had some good material pent up from the very long weekend.

  3. @Tara- I think it happens on 11th so much because there are just so many bus stops along that stretch and the bike lane gives cyclists a sense of safety that maybe isn't there.

  4. Speaking of lycra, I saw a guy coming across 14th St. bridge on a folder (Dahon, I think) wearing cycling jersey, tights, gloves, the full getup (as was I)...and he was coming down the hill like he was doing a Tour de France descent. It was awesome, and I don't say that facetiously.

  5. @Marc This'll be me if I get a folder. I'm going to go full superbiker to create perhaps the most bizarre look ever.

  6. Thanks for making me feel slightly better about the Hurt article. Totally unfacetious positive spin.