I left a little earlier than usual because I planned to meet the Official Wife (coming off an overnight shift) at her place of employment (either the State Department or IHOP- I've never quite been clear about this) and see her a little before she took the Metro home to sleep during the day. The route was relatively standard, except for some rather major deviations. For example, instead of riding down Pennsylvania, I rode parallel to the Mall along Madison Drive. And instead of riding a bicycle, I rode a wild palomino. And instead of wearing a helmet, I wore a hel-mutt. But other than those things, it was pretty much as usual. I've never taken Madison Drive before. It has sharrows, which I appreciated. It also has ample free parking for cars with a three hour time limit. That fact prompted me to (pretend to) compose this letter:
Parking spaces are a valuable commodity and you shouldn't give them away for free. Consider parking meters and maybe use that money to fund improvements to the Mall.
Local busybodyNo one was parked anyway because it was 7:30 and the only thing to do on the Mall at 7:30AM is to question why you're there. I like to do this on the steps of the National Museum of the Existential. At some point along Madison, a bearded cyclist pulled up alongside me. I said hello. He said nothing.
Madison Drive ends at 15th. My desire to continue bicycling did not. I saw where they're building the new National Museum of African American History. I tried to take a picture:
And tried again:
And succeeded, but wondered why since it's not really anything yet:
In any case, I hope that the successful completion of this museum results in a reconfiguring of this area to make it more pedestrian friendly, but I sincerely doubt this will come to pass. One can hope.
I rode over to 17th and then up along the Constitution sidepath, which is wide enough to handle bicycles, but not really if there are many tourists or people walking along. It's long been my contention that there should be a separate bike path parallel to this path. You wouldn't even need to take away a traffic lane. You could just put it on the grass between the sidewalk and the road:
|Put cycletrack there.|
From 23rd and H, I rode back towards Swing's for an appearance at #fridaycoffeeclub, which I dare suggest is really becoming a #bikeDC institution. It's the place to see and be seen (with and by other people who like biking and don't need to get to work exactly at 9 on a Friday). I'm jus so grateful that Ed and Mary had the genius idea to suggest that people get coffee together one day a week at a location that's reasonably convenient. Genius. All are welcome (and not in a creepy, churchy, prosthelytize-y sort of way), so maybe if you're up next week and work vaguely downtownish (or transverse downtown on your way to work) you could come. There is no pressure whatsoever to buy a timeshare. Or at least not yet.
15th street, I just don't know how to quit you. Everyone biking south, I'm sorry for pissing you off, but I'm not going to move over to accommodate your trying to pass the people in front of you who get off too slowly once the light changes. I know that you don't like it, but I'm just not going to change. Single file, please.
Time passed and other things happened. I can't recall too much anything special that happened, but I'm sure it was the usual mix of good, bad, and WTF that I tend to write about in these posts. If anything seemed remarkable, it's just that I've noticed more people on bikes with fenders and I like this very much and it's totally unrelated to the Big Fender Super PAC that's shoveling me millions of dollars in my campaign for the DC BAC. Speaking of which, still no word on whether Mr. Orange supports my appointment. Or, if not support, doesn't object. I might just have to run for Council Chair, and then appoint myself.
Couldn't have been much happier about getting to bike home from work, both because I enjoy bicycling and because it's been a really busy work week and I'm happy to have it end, at least for a couple of days. I didn't know if this Friday afternoon commute would be a "everyone's chill because it's weekend" or a "WEEKEND MUST DRIVE SO CRAZY," and I think it was closer to the former than the latter.
Saw a car with a Biden for Attorney General 2006 turning into the Naval Observatory, the residence of the Vice President. It might have been an actual Biden.
Every bicyclist riding up Mass looks enviably at every bicyclist riding down Mass.
Speed limits. They're so crazy. Speeding is so routinized, it's fairly unremarkable. Perhaps it shouldn't be. It's a crime after all.
What if there weren't street car parking? What could we do with all that space? I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but what if the founding fathers (of automotive culture) rejected the idea that public space could or should be used for the storage of private vehicles and the only parking available would be on private property? What would traffic be like? What would driving be like? Would it be a better overall experience for everyone? Would driving be nearly as popular? Would people still ride wild palominos for some reason? Should I open a cowboy-themed bar called The Hitching Post? The questions are endless.
On Pennsylvania Avenue, I passed some WABA employees. I said "whaddup, WABA." Maybe they chortled.
All in all, a really nice ride home. I don't think I'd trade bike commuting for another means of commuting, even if they threw in a first round draft pick. It just makes me so happy. There are lots of reasons to commute by bike, but self-interest is certainly my favorite.