Ride In 6/25: If you're having bike problems, I feel bad for you son. I got 21 Agendas, but this ain't one

Some weekenderly developments: my new rear rack and fenders arrived and after taking the bold step of removing (by myself!) my former rack and fenders, I pretended that I was on the cusp of being on the verge of installing the new ones by myself until I realized that it might involve drilling through metal, thereby establishing the pretense through which I could relieve myself of even feigning to pretend to attempt doing something with tools in the general vicinity of my bicycle. Instead, I rode to BicycleSpace, America's favorite bike shop, to foist this straightforward project onto one of the crack members of their crack team. And this was a good thing, because not only did they do a crack job with the rack and fenders, they likewise noticed that the rim on my rear wheel was warped and quite along in the process of disintegration. They even placed me on the metaphorical "Do Not Ride" list, which stipulates that this bike in its current condition is extremely unsafe (at any speed?). So, I ended up getting a new rear wheel, which, while unexpected, is better than winding up in a ditch somewhere from my wheel breaking under pressure from braking. This is not an indictment on DC's plenitude of ditches, which are quite lovely, especially in the summer.

All of this serves as preface to this morning's commute, with new rack and new fenders and new rear wheel and a new outlook on life, except for that last thing because new bike accessories don't really have an immediate ameliorating affect on your personality or overall attitude. At least not generally. About three heelstrikes into my ride, I realized that I would need to move my pannier a bit further back on the rack, but thereafter everything else worked out well.

It was a fresh, warm morning and the FedEx vans were in their usual place within the bike lanes and there still remained nothing I could about it so I chucked a grenade in one and it blew up and I earned maximum high score points and advanced to the next level of the extremely violent video game that is bike commuting. Or, I stopped and waited for a few seconds, realizing that the driver had just gotten back in the van and was about the start his engine and there wasn't any special reason for me to feel so much rage about this because these things tend to happen and ultimately it's just not that big of a deal. I don't like it when people block the bike lanes with their cars- it's really inconsiderate and is probably illegal, but I also don't like developing rabies-esque mouth foam first thing in the morning on the first morning of the commuting week. Perhaps I need to spend more time with raccoons. I can't control how he drives, but I can control how I react to it. For the most part.

There's some new caution tape by the Capitol. I didn't take a picture because I don't want "them" to know that I'm onto "them," "them" being the forces of excessive application of caution tape. I'd worry that they read this blog, but I'm pretty sure that their computer monitors are covered in yellow plastic.

Maybe bunch of five or six bike commuters riding between 3rd and 7th before the natural imbalance was once again established and the fast went faster and the slow went slower and we all stretched out once more, like an accordion.  Bike commuting is basically like an accordion, in that we're highly associated with polka music and song parodies from the 80s.

I decided to ride up 11th. At one or two red lights, I elected to bike to the front of the line of cars. I do this not out of pique or because I'm a selfish jerk, but mostly to make sure that drivers can see me and so I don't get hooked by a turning driver who neglects to glance in his mirror prior to turning (or who does and misjudges it). I don't know if from an aggregate societal impact this is "fair," but it's what I do and I move back over to the right after I get across the intersection, so I'm not sure how many lives I manage to ruin with the slight, slight delay, but nonetheless, I wonder if there's a better way to handle it that allows me to feel safe-ish.

On 11th, I decided to skip R and ride to V. Take that, predictability! V Street is lovely. It has a bike lane and, um, I think I saw a church. There were rowhouses, I think, and maybe a stop sign here and there and also some other people on bikes. V Street does end at Florida, NW, at a weird angle, so the left turn is a bit tricky. The I followed the BIKE ROUTE sign up Champlain Street because that's pretty much what I do whenever I see a BIKE ROUTE sign (Please don't alert my various nemeses, lest they use this to lure me into traps most foul) and there's a contraflow lane that goes up a hill and then stops when the street turns two-ways again, but the hill continues, as does the road, and then it's Euclid and Columbia and then bike lanes down and around Adams Morgan, over the bridge, past Connecticut, up another hill or two and then I'm at work.

I was left slack-jawed when a driver actually stopped for pedestrians at a midblock crosswalk. They weren't even nuns or anything (the driver or the pedestrians). What an amazing and rare thing courtesy can be.

One final note, button sales are over for this round. We raised about $500 for WABA, Thank you all for your generosity and your support. That's more than $1000 for WABA between the two button drives and none of it would have been possible without your tremendous kindheartedness.


  1. Glad you liked V street. Ok, it's not like I made it or anything, but I may still claim some credit.

  2. Urban EngineerJune 25, 2012 7:58 PM

    Instead of passing all those vehicles, I take the lane don't pass any of them and wait in queue. Makes me feel safe-ish and keeps me just as visible. Passing cars as you described may result in having nowhere else to go but the crosswalk once you get to the front.

  3. I can totally see your nemeses leading you into traps most foul with fake Bike Route signs. Scary!

  4. @jj- thanks so much! I forgot to link back to your comment.