Ride Home 6/29: Buster Poindexter

I didn't much care for this ride. I miss winter. I parked my bike by my office today, walked across campus to the locker room, changed, and walked back to my bike. That I arrived there with a sheen of sweat on my brow was a good indication that any additional physical effort would only be that much more perspirational. My goal on hot days is to sweat only the equivalent amount that I would were I just standing outside and not acquire no sweat by means of my own effort. This isn't so much because I dislike sweating (though I sort of do) but instead as a means to keep my overall effort in check, so as to not exhaust myself. I can't say that this strategy has ever worked. 

I stopped on the way home at a friend's in Glover Park. She'd been out of town for a while, and though my reason for seeing her was unfortunate (the passing of a pet), it was good to catch up and chat and break up my ride a little, though to that point all I had done was ride down New Mexico behind an ivory Mercedes which was behind a red car with Ohio license plates whose driver didn't see to know where she was going, much less to seem to be able to not get there at more than ten miles per hour. For the ride down the hill, it was mostly good temperature-wise. The ride up the hill (there's a nasty little hill where 41st Street turns into Benton. I encourage you to check it out on a day when it isn't 3000 degrees) was less than fun, but I thank the very patient driver who waited behind me rather than attempt to pass on a the narrow curve. 

Afterwards, I rode down Benton to Tunlaw. Of all the roads and all the bumps and all the cracks in all of DC, I think I'm the most familiar with those on Tunlaw between the intersection with 37th and Whitehaven Parkway. It's a funny thing to know bumps in the road, to treat them like old friends and to avoid them like old friends who are now former friends and to see the cracks and notice that they've grown and matured, much like the children of distant relatives that you'd only ever see at the funerals of great aunts who died years apart. The cracks aren't the same, but you know what they once were and you can see the faint resemblance and as much as you try to see the crack as it currently is, you can't help remember as you knew it when you rode over it every day, for months in commutes long gone by. 

Abandoned bike. Flat tire. Might still be there if you want it. 

36th and R, NW. 
Rather than take R to 34th and ride the bike lane south through Georgetown to a crosstown boulevard, I decided that I would stick on it, cross Wisconsin and take the quiet, shady residential streets past the big houses and Dumbarton Oaks and see if I would enjoy myself in the shade any more than I had enjoyed myself in the sun. I thought it was a clever idea, trading wide, exposed streets for a gently sloping downhill ride in the solace of the comfort provided by the canopy, and it would have been especially clever had there been any reduction in temperature whatsoever. About halfway down R, maybe around 30th Street, I saw another bike commuter working hard and pushing his way uphill, gritty and determined. Throughout the night, I saw far more bike commuters than I ever would have expected and this is perhaps the greatest indicator that bicycling, as a means of urban transportation, is here to stay. If today didn't scare everyone off from riding then nothing will. 

R stops at 28th. 28th took my south to Q and Q took me over a bridge and to Dupont Circle and soon enough I was at the intersection of Q and Mass and reconnected to my normal route home, which proved adequate. There were a few other cyclists, those of whom were in normal people clothes looking uncomfortable and unable to hide the fact that they were as much. I was in bike clothes and I was uncomfortable and I made no attempt to hide that fact either. I'm still uncomfortable. As I write, Ellie the Poodle is showing her lack of comfort, splayed out on the parquet (I live in the old Boston Garden) underneath the couch. Nonetheless, I still felt in better shape than this morning, no doubt to having not had any more coffee during the day and consuming instead plenty of water. 

Longboards. They're among us. Cowabunga. 

I pulled up behind a guy on Pennsylvania Avenue. He put toe clips on his clipless pedals. 

This is confusing. Maybe he takes them off his bike for weekend rides. I don't know. I didn't ask, though I was behind him from about 11th NW to 11th NE. Somehow the idea of accosting him with an accusatory, judgmental question just didn't seem like a good idea. I grew to like this guy, though, because I watched him flip off the driver of a towncar who drove in the bike lane at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Constitution. If only there were some kind of plastic, vertical technology that we could use there that we use at almost every other intersection along the cycle track. I grew to like the guy less later, when we were on East Capitol, when he decided to Cat 6 a another bike commuter. There really needs to be a temperature upper bound at which all bike commuter races are cancelled. It's a shame there's no governing authority. 

The biggest struggle of the ride was going up Capitol Hill. Fewer tourists around, but it wasn't empty. 

Enjoy your weekend. I don't think I'll be spending much of mine on a bicycle, but I wish good wishes to those of you who will. My blogging next week will be sporadic, so if anyone would like to write up a guest post, I'd be happy to have it. Thanks in advance. Also, I predict Italy over Spain in an upset. 

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