Ride Home 6/20: Sig Sauer Patch Kids

Sometimes I don't know if the creakiness is me or the bike. Tonight I did know and it was me. 

I park my bike in an underground parking garage to protect it from potential meteor strikes and/or Tusken Raiders. I used to work in this building, but now I work a few buildings away and accordingly I get the distinct pleasure of walking across the Polygonal Grassy Area and experiencing a brief preview of the weather that I will soon experience on my way home. Nevertheless, there was something sort of shocking about riding up the ramp and being thwacked in the face with the truly miserable soggy death heat. (Soggy Death Heat is also the name of my favorite Finnish speed metal band) It was that bad. Luckily, I had taken some precautions and while I didn't have sorbet to put in my shoes, I did dump some chilled Greek yogurt in my socks. Actually, I didn't do that either. I drank some water over the course of the afternoon, applied sunscreen and put on a hat. I also relied on gravity to carry me downwards and prudence to carry me slowly upward, so it wasn't an especially bad ride once I acclimated.

Bike commuters are still commuters and one of the hallmarks of a commuter is that you develop pet peeves about your trip and wonder why the other morons that you're sharing the road with end up the same predicaments as they always do. In my case, this happens along Massachusetts, after the South Korean Embassy where the road narrows from two travel lanes to one travel lane and one parking lane. And yet, every day, it comes as a tremendous surprise to drivers that they'll need to move over. And they just don't want to. So they'll slowly nudge forward and rather than just move to the left (a process accomplished through by means of a slight depression of a foot and a gentle turning of a wheel, so it's not like we're talking about reversing the Queen Mary or anything), they'll find a way to block the half of a lane left over that isn't occupied by parked cars, thereby depriving a narrower traveler (The Narrower Traveler is my book about my European backpacker diet) a passage through the traffic. And this is yet another example of how drivers of cars, the allegedly faster vehicle, slow down the riders of bicycles, the allegedly slower vehicle.

Was there chicanery on Q? I don't remember. Does Chicanery on Q sound like the title a less good Hitchcock movie? A little. Oh, now I remember. There was this one guy who just had to track "stand" his way into the middle of the intersection. That doesn't make you cool. It makes you a hazard. I have very little balance and I know that I can't track stand in any real way that even comes close to resembling something that even approximates standing still. So I just put my foot down and it's fine. Maybe he has really expensive new shoes with soles made of sponge cake. I don't know.

I still worry that I'm going to get clobbered by someone barreling down the 15th street cycle track as I wait for the light to change on Q.

There was a guy wearing a blue shirt and some blue shorts and they were the same color blue and he was on a bike, not blue, and he was wearing headphones, not blue, but the idea of wearing the same color in athletic apparel for both top and bottom seems so last season strangely dated, like something you'd see in an 80s tv afterschool special. Maybe he just likes blue or maybe he hadn't done laundry, but I wasn't going to say anything because everyone should just wear what they want to wear when riding a bicycle. The guy in front of him was wearing what I think were work clothes and he had a backpack and it had a canteen in its mesh back pocket and the man had very good posture and this man seemed annoyed by both blue shirt, who had shoaled him, and another guy, who was also in work clothes, but didn't have as good posture. I don't know if his annoyance was posture related.

Does anyone else check for bus numbers to make a mental note just in case something goes squirrelly as it passes by? It's most likely unnecessary, but I've read one too many "this bus ran me off the road and now WMATA says they don't know who it was" stories.

Here's an idea if you're into self-reflection and trying to be a better cyclist and you're questioning whether or not how you're conducting yourself is right and proper. Just ask yourself "if I saw someone else riding the way I'm riding right now, would I think he's an asshole?" If the answer's yes, well, stop doing what you're doing. I ask myself this question a lot around 11th and Penn and I'm pretty sure I don't pass my own test, self-justifications aside.

Dear ToTville,
I saw this in the bike lane. Is it even supposed to be there? Is there Capital BrushShare now?

Helpless Reader
It's sort of marvelous to ride behind a person on a bike who is just absolutely, uncontrollably dancing their brains out to whatever they're listening to through their headphones. I normally advocate against the use of headphones while bicycling for situational awareness purposes, but I'm willing to make an exception if the person on the bike has the same head bops, shoulder shakes and arm extensions that the woman in front of me today had. I wonder what she was listening to. I have an idea. It's the best.

Penn to ECap. I do this new thing where I head fake where Mass SE leaves the park, just because I find it to be somewhat fun and I'm jejune and immature and that's pretty much all.


  1. Soles made of sponge cake?! First of all, that's hilarious and second, I thought sponge cake was just a bunch of egg whites and sugar so I don't see how it makes your shoes expensive. Just fragile. Really enjoy your posts, Mr. Sharrows.

  2. Soles mad of sponge cake is definitely the winner in this post.
    And I'm with you on the guilt. Sometimes there is a red light, I stop, I put my foot down, I wait. And I notice NO ONE, car, nor bike, nor pedestrian is coming in any direction, and it's such a teeny intersection. And I just can't resist going.