5/4/12

Ride In 5/4 and Ride Home 5/4: Jester A. Arthur

Great morning for a bike ride. Luckily, I bike commute, so I totally had that covered. It's nice to not have to make up an excuse to ride a bike. I don't know how much I'd get around to riding if I didn't get to ride to work. Weekends tend to be busy with things like going to Ikea or poodle bathing and I've found it pretty hard to pry away the multiple hours needed to take rides of a decent length, or at least difficult without significant forethought and planning. Just integrating it into my day is considerably easier.
I was in a bit of a hurry this morning because I wanted to meet the Official Wife, who worked overnight and got out around 7:45. I rode past #fridaycoffeeclub on G and rendezvoused with her around 19th and G. We walked and talked and worked our way up to the Farragut West metro around 18th and K and then I biked back down to the coffee, riding the last two blocks, illegally, on the sidewalk. Sorry. I figured that if I propelled myself by pushing off the ground with my foot, as if I were travelling by scooter, then maybe it wouldn't violate the no biking on sidewalks in the CBD rule. Because is it really biking if you don't pedal? Yeah, probably. Anyway, I tried to be exceedingly deferent to pedestrians and no one yelled at me, so I guess I got away with it, though I'm still in the process of rebalancing my karma points by being extra diligent about stopping for pedestrians at marked crosswalks where there are no traffic signals. Rebalancing karma points is important.
East Capitol is almost wholly repaved. As of this morning, I think there were only two patches of unpaved stretches. As of this evening, I think there was only one. The bike lanes have been restriped and there seems to be little change in their width or location. There's no law in physics that calls for the Preservation of Bike Lanes. I'd like to hope that bike lanes are like entropy and forever increasing.
Coffee was good, as always. And not just the coffee, but the gathering of the people who drank the coffee. It's really become one of the highlights of my week and I highly recommend it, it being both this specific #fridaycoffeeclub at Swings and the idea of forming drink-themed get-togethers with other bike commuters. For example, we could also start #mondaymartinimeetup and #thursdayflatpepsisociety and #postfridaycoffeeclubicedcoffeecabal. I don't know to what extent forming a sense of community is an important part of "advocacy," but, frankly, any benefit to the greater good of biking is secondary to the tremendous personal enjoyment I get from cleaving out an hour a week in the middle of a bike commute to chat and relax. Also, pick up "intel." I learned from @mrtindc (pleasure meeting you, by the way) that DDOT has added sharrows on 11th in the gap between the bike lanes from Rhode Island to Florida, but only one a block, so it's not exactly like drivers really are really "reminded" to share the road from the road markings. I'm a fan of continuous sharrows, put together like an MC Escher painting. I don't think that's in the NACTO design guide. But then again, are mixing zones?
From coffee it was up 15th. The lowlight of 15th was a taxi driver almost left-hooking me at Rhode Island. I said "Hey" followed by "HEY!" and he stopped his left turn prior to hitting me (I sort of had a feeling that he was going to turn, so I was able to anticipate it and wasn't in danger, really) and then he said something that I heard as "I'm sorry." I didn't hear him clearly, but if he said anything other than "I'm sorry," I'm not interested in knowing what it was.
I took off my helmet during the ride up Mass. It was hot and my head was hot.
Finland and the Aland Islands. There's a banner in front of the embassy celebrating their 90 years of autonomy. Neat.
Some dog really wanted to sniff me. The owner was nonplussed. At least I assumed she was the owner, not a dognapper and that the dog was just friendly and not just begging for help to reunite with his family. Did I fall asleep with 101 Dalmatians on again?
I put my helmet back on for the ride down Massachusetts and up again to Ward Circle. I saw many drivers committing many traffic infractions. No more car lanes until they learn to follow the laws.
[Then work happened. Work like an extended drum solo in a double-post. A drum solo that you'd prefer not to listen to, maybe because the drummer isn't that good. Or maybe because the guitar riffs on either side are just that awesome. Please excuse the musical analogy. I am very much out of my depth here. At work, I had a wear a suit and go to a meeting with Very Important People. But I changed back to jeans for the ride home]
It looked like rain, but it didn't really rain. I felt drops every once in a while, but the rain was weak and inconsistent, like my commitment to soup blogging.
On Mass, I saw a bicyclist, imperiously, wave flick his hand at a driver who was blocking the crosswalk so he could cross from sidewalk to sidewalk. I think he could've just ridden around, but this guy was having none of it. Bold. A little bit too bold for my passive-aggressive tastes (this is why I don't like potato bacon soups. Soup blogger of the year! Except for real soup bloggers) I wonder if he did it to impress his lady friend, who seemed to have no problem getting around the offending car a moment before.
Gotta fix my brakes or get a new bike. Yes, I recognize the latter is a bit dramatic.
I think that the last class of driver's ed should involve putting people on bikes and then passing them too closely with huge SUVs. You know, just for shits and giggles. And for education. Because, honestly, it's scary and that people seem to be willing to subject bicyclists to such wanton carelessness is offensive and callous and morally wrong. (I am literally typing this blog post from a high horse. His name is Shamrock and he is 14 feet tall. He won the dunk contest at Kentucky Derby All-Star weekend)
Overheard in Dupont Circle: "...and that's why you have to tip the sommelier."
Not as many bicyclists on Q as I would've expected. It was a very nice night and I would have thought I would have seen more people out on bikes. Not even anyone really on 15th when I passed by. Interesting, I guess.
I put my phone in my pannier when I thought it would start raining for real. The results here, here, here, and here. #panniertweets
There might be too many bus stops along 11th through downtown to ever put in a right-hand side bike lane. Not that there's any rush to do that anyway. But still, if they ever put one in, it'll be problematic at evening rush hours. Also, lots of parking garages along there. And, as we all know, exiting a parking garage is best done by driving at 35 miles per hour and not looking. Geez.
I saw a guy drop a gum wrapper out of his car window along Penn. I was right alongside of him and really wanted to say something. Come on. Littering should have a mandatory jail term. Also, here's a suggestion for Penn. Let's put up some signs below the no u-turns sign that say "Fine $150" or whatever the fine is for doing that. I think that might be useful, in terms of educating, since I've never once seen any enforcement.
At the corner of 15th and A, I saw the Official Wife and Ellie the Poodle. They were taking an evening walk and EtP was way excited about it. Another puppy rolled up, but EtP is more of a people dog than a puppy dog (note: she's also not a puppy dog. She's four) and she flopped in the grass and demanded some belly rubs. It was a nice way to cap off a nice ride on a nice Friday.
See you Monday. And for the cross-section of you who care about soccer, my prediction is that Newcastle will beat City. For those of you who care about cricket, um, that's cool too and maybe England or Australia or Pakistan will beat India or New Zealand or South Africa...?

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