Ride Home 6/25: A wind in the willows and a chicken in every pot

I pulled up to the crosswalk and when it became apparent that the driver turning right on red out of the traffic circle decided that she would speed through the crosswalk in front of me rather and also cut off the people walking from the other side of the street, I made a rather dramatic and over-flamboyant stomping movement with my left foot. This was both to stop my forward progress and to emphatically indicate that I was indeed being forced to come to a complete stop. I don't think it proved to be a "teachable moment," so to speak- through its drama highlighting to all observers the degree to which I was put out. Instead, I think it made me look like a horse. Pantomime, especially movements overladen with excessive largeness, isn't a very effective means of helping people to feel bad about their driving scofflawism.

The moving truck, an 18 wheeler, turned right from the left lane in order to have enough space to complete its arching turn. I was in the right lane. The truck came to a stop with its cab blocking the right lane, at which point the person in the passenger seat stuck his head out the window and shooed me back. You know, for my safety. Safety first. 

It just happened to be a taxicab driver who elected to race me to the gap between a left turning car and a parked car. Could've been any kind of driver, but it was a taxicab driver. Nothing I love more than having a driver buzz past me on the left and then cut across my path within feet. And by love, I mean not love. Were I to write a musical about this kind of thing, I'd call it Taxi Inanity! No one would see this musical. It would still do better than Taboo. And while the themes of the musical are danger and inanity, I still wouldn't hire Julie Taymor to direct it. 

I don't know what Bicycle Space did not my bike, but it is working really smoothly now. I think it might have something to do with the new rear wheel and it's new rear hub. Or wizardry. I have a working theory about Paul (the long-bearded mechanic) is either Alatar or Pallando. There is something magical about a bike that works exceptionally well. You can feel it. 

Very bumpy roads. It seems negligent to keep our roads in this state of disrepair. I don't know if drivers notice, or at least as much, but you can hardly ride a bicycle through the city without realizing how preposterously bad the roads are. 

The ride seemed less fraught by the time I was east of Dupont (EaD'up could be the neighborhood name and maybe it could be the home of many buffet restaurants?) and it was mostly peachy by the time I was south of Massachusetts. I think they changed the light timing at 11th and H and now there's no slowing between New York and E and that tends to work well enough for me. 

I'm not going to do this, but maybe I should, the this being collecting the knocked-over bollards from the Pennsylvania Avenue cycle track, putting them in a big sack and then dumping them on a table before testifying in front of the DC Council during the next hearing on bicycle and pedestrian safety, Every day, another bollard is knocked down. And while I can't say for sure, I'm pretty sure it's not bicyclists who are doing it. I picked this one up at 10th:

And here's the one near 4th:

So, here's the thing about "protected" cycle tracks. If all of the bollards of knocked down, then there's no illusion of protection. And, secondly, if you think about how effective these bollards are at not getting knocked over, well, what does that even say about the illusion of protection? And what does it say about the drivers alongside of you who can't avoid hitting stationary plastic poles? Maybe it's better not to think about that. 

Very crowded Capitol plaza, but a not very crowded Supreme Court plaza. A somewhat crowded East Capitol bike lane, but only with bikes and not media vans, so that's good. 


  1. You are wrong. Paul is a jedi knight. He's got midiclorians (or whatever foolishness Lucas came up with in the lame prequels) out the wazoo. My Mule had a headset that came loose every other day. I took the bike to shop after shop. Nobody could fix it. I was about to get rid of the bike when Bailey at Papillion told me to call Paul (then at City Bikes in Adams Morgan). Less than 30 seconds into my decription he said, "Bring it in. I can fix it." In 10 minutes with a 5 cent washer he fixed my bike. And it has stayed fixed for over ten years of use.

  2. Sigh.
    I was thinking the other day about a sign on the back of a bicycle that extended about 2 feet out on each side. I can't remember the exact words but something to the effect of "This is how much room I need."
    And then I was thinking, instead of just a sign, maybe some nice sharp things that would visually encourage an automobile's coat of paint to maintain a defensive distance.