Ride In 5/7: Ascetics cope copacetically

Sort of a blah morning. Not cold, but not warm. Clouds. Humid, but not too bad. Just blah. Probably the right kind of blah to make a decent ride out of a morning commute and circumvent the usual places for more far off ones with detours and cutbacks and roundabout dithering, but I didn't make it out of the house as early as I thought I would and that halted my plans for tacking on a couple of extra miles. I did, however, opt to ride Massachusetts to Union Station and then E Street to 6th to Mass to 7th, before returning to the regularly scheduled route along R and up Massachusetts, on which today I rode in the street rather than on the sidewalk that abuts it. I suppose I could end the post here, but I won't. Sorry. Unless you like reading the so-called "details" and are interested in the "irreverent observations" and aren't just tracing my daily routes with different color penciled on a big map that you keep on the wall of your bedroom, which is totally not batshit crazy at all...
I think there are more Xtracycles that cargo bikes used in the ferrying of children about the city. I would guess that this is the case because people inclined to ferry their child by bicycle probably already own bicycles and figure they could just add more to that bicycle rather than replace their bicycle with an additional one. In DC, there are basically no bakfiets, or at least I have maybe only seen one once or twice.
I like riding past Union Station because it's like riding past a train station from olden days when roads weren't paved. It's been under construction for many months now and if there's been progress, it's not on the parts where you bike. It's like we're trying to say to out-of-town visitors "Welcome to DC. Yes, things really are that bad."
Don't bike two abreast in a bike lane. I'm sure whatever those guys were talking about was enrapturing, but it really isn't very polite to take up the whole bike and sort of the whole two feet outside of the bike lane because of having to swerve so as to not hit the person in the bike lane next to you. This was on E Street.
I turned onto 6th rather than taking the Bus/Bike/You've gotta be kidding me lane on 7th. I'd rather it just be clear that I'm sharing the lane with drivers than feel indignant that they're sharing the lane with me when they're not supposed to. There was a bit of construction by the Verizon Center. I think it's because they're building playoff momentum. (Go Caps). This would be new construction.
7th street was mostly easy and got easier when the bike lane started. At one point, some roadwork equipment blocked the bike lane and I stuck my left hand out to indicate that I would soon be moving myself from the bike lane. A left hand, however, is only a signal (semiotics?) and does not within itself have the force to prevent a black pickup truck from barreling past you if its driver is so inclined, which she was. Normally, drivers are pretty understanding about not running me over when I have to leave a bike lane due to its being blocked, but this driver elected not to be. I slowed, she passed, I moved into the travel lane, drifted right back into the bike lane 50 feet down the rode and passed her again as she waited five cars back at a red light.
There's a middle school building on R street. I believe that the school is closed. There are chain link fences and the architecture is heavy and foreboding. Were things so awesome in the 1960s when these modernist buildings were built that everyone was like "Naw, kids don't need sunlight. They need heavy concrete walls! You know, to balance out their lives because things otherwise are so awesome!" I'm not an architectural determinist, mostly because I don't think that's a real thing, but one might suspect that building schools that look like prisons might have a developmental impact on children. That's why I like to think that we should build school that look like ninja dojos. Can never have enough ninjas.
I was passed by another bicyclist on R. He passed me on the left and then proceeded to pass car traffic on the left. He was wearing lycra shorts and a blue t shirt. He seemed rather invested in going fast. He went as fast as the lights allowed him.
Greater Greater Washington on the L Street cycle track. I have some concerns about the mixing zone and I might have laid them out already, but I'll mention them again. For this example, let me by a motorist. I'm driving along and I need to make a left turn from L to 20th street. Maybe I'm going to buy some soup. That part isn't important. I'm driving at 30 miles per hour. I arrive at the mixing zone at the same time as a bicyclist, who is traveling slower. I can either speed up and cut across the front of the bicyclist's path, which I don't want to do because that seems rude and dangerous and maybe the bicyclist has some soup in his bag and I don't want him to spill it. Or I could slow down and let that bicyclist pass, which is what I do. But then another bicyclist is coming. So I slow down for him too, not wanting to cut him off. I yell from my car window "I prefer New England clam chowder!" to the passing cyclists, so as to keep this soup joke going. And another bicyclist comes and I still haven't moved over. And now I'm past 20th street and didn't make my left turn. Or then made my left turn from the travel lane since flexible posts have prevented me from moving over. Or, in a totally different example,  let's say there's already a line of cars who are stopped to make left turns onto 20th street. And another car arrives. Do you think that he's not going to block the bike lane so as to get out of the way of real (i.e. car) traffic that's coming from behind him? I guess what I don't understand is why not just put the cycle track next to the curb instead of making drivers have to cross over it to make a left turn? Isn't wanting to avoid mingling bike traffic with car traffic one of the reasons you build a protected cycle track in the first place? If the cycle track were narrowed from the whole lane to just four feet, but those four feet were next to the curb, drivers would still get their left turn lane. It would just be outside of the bike lane. You just need to have a dedicated left turn light sequence and a bike light that flashes red during that sequence. I'm pretty sure that DC does that already on 15th and Pennsylvania, so I'm not sure why we can't do that here. In the article is says:
However, DDOT's Mike Goodno explained that they can't replicate the layout on 15th, where the leftmost car lane is a left turn lane with a special left turn arrow. That would leave L Street with only 1 through lane outside rush hour. Also, the study of the existing lanes showed weaknesses in that arrangement on 15th. Many cyclists still go through the intersection when left-turning cars have a green arrow, and the setup on 15th makes both cyclists and turning drivers wait much longer, said Jamie Parks from Kittleson, the consultants behind the study.
Is that actually correct? If you have a left-turn only lane on the other side of the mixing zones, isn't that enough room to have a left turn only light? Or am I not getting something? If you're familiar with L Street, please tell me. Or, if you're just really brazen and have strong opinions about stuff.
I stayed on the road on Mass, which is a rarity for me. I did it initially because the sidewalk was kind of clogged at the area where I normally get on it, but then I stayed on it because I really don't like the idea of being afraid of stuff when riding my bike. Sure, I tensed up every time I heard an fast-approaching motor, wondering whether the car was going to pass me within my lane or whether the driver moved over into the other open lane and really only one or two cars came even sort of close. I wasn't trying to make a point to anyone but myself and that point, which I'm not totally sure I agree with, was that's fine to ride on the street on Massachusetts Avenue, in spite of the speed and in spite of the windiness and in speed of the drivers who want to speed along the windiness. In any case, I must've really hoofed it (or the bike equivalent of hoofing) up the hill since my legs were pretty darn tired when I got to work. It was a relatively good experience, though I'm not sure if I'm going to do it regularly. I guess I don't want to feel like I have to have to ride on the street when I don't want, though I'd like to be able if I want and the primary consideration is the psychological hurdle of going slowly up long hill on a windy road where drivers drive fast. It's the speed disparity that I don't like.
There will be a guest post tonight.

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