Ride Home 7/18: Sloe Gin

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen sparrow? That's a famous question from a movie. The Birds, I think, which I believe was one of those Pixar movies of the early aughts. Unless you're telling me that Tippi Heddren is not digitally animated. Anyway, the answer to the that question is "assuredly faster than me on a CaBi trying to race a rainstorm."

I continually make poor decisions. I'm also not especially prudent. Both of these things are even further amplified when it comes to my bike commute. 100 degree heat? Meh, how hot could it be? I'll just bike. Thunderstorms? More like bike-der storms. (No, that makes no sense. Moving on.) Zombie hordes blocking my way? Could they be worse than your average driver? Anyway, you get the idea. I've never met an adverse condition I haven't been willing to stupidly ignore to bike through, especially if it's Ride Home commute. Some might ask if I do this just to have something to blog about, that I can keep the nine of you captive and interested and thereby continue to feed my ego with your attention. I'm not entirely sure that's the case. I'm pretty sure it's just that when it comes to bike commuting, I've just deluded myself that all other means of travel are onerous, frivolous, expensive or abjectly frustratingly miserable and somehow qualitatively worse than just riding a bike, which is just so darn fun. And for the most part, in most cases, I find this to be true. But today was different, mostly because I wasn't prepared.

I didn't have my own bike, or a jacket, or bike clothes or a hat or a dressage horse, but that last one is neither here nor there (because it's at the Olympics). I also didn't have a waterproof bag of any sort, nor a plastic bag that I could pretend was mostly waterproof. Even as the thunder rolled, I figured that I maybe could still probably make it home and if I got wet, it wouldn't be a big deal. I looked around my office, found a baseball cap (given to me as a going away present when I changed jobs.  That might tell you a little about why I changed jobs) and my office hoodie (everyone should have an office hoodie) and I took off my dress shirt and put on the hoodie and I ran for the Bikeshare while it still wasn't raining. No objective analysis would have indicated that it would have been possible for me to avoid the rain. But there was no time for objective analysis! I had to try to beat the rain!

Still had time to take a terrible self-portrait, mid-run. 
This is not a good look for me
To the Bikeshare, around Ward Circle and down Massachusetts and up the first hill. So far, no rain. Did my usual thing by taking the right travel lane and I was honked at by a lady driving a car with diplomatic plates. Hey lady, this is America and we're allowed to take the lane! Go back to whatever car loving, gas guzzling country you're from. USA! USA!

I shucked jingoism when I noticed the reflection of a lightning strike in the rear window of the cab of a black pickup truck. It looked like the kind of lightning strike you'd see in the drawn picture of a fourth grader portraying some kind of haunted castle.

I took to the sidewalk on the other side of the Observatory and I dodged one tree branch that was dangling precariously (and near vertically) from one of the trees along the path. I think that tree branches are an overlooked danger to bicyclists. If you ride near trees, wear a helmet or bring a small saw. Ideally, both.

Yet another car with diplomatic plates cut across my path at Whitehaven and then there was another CaBi rider who had stopped at Water Street to put his jacket on and I had to shuffle my bike past him and by this point, the rain had started in earnest and I was stuck in it. I revised downward my expectations of getting to Farragut West and decided to settle for the Dupont Circle Metro station, which was just a little farther up the road. I stuck to the sidewalk for a bit, until a fortuitous left-turning driver had managed to stop a bus from driving around him, opening up ample space for me to get back onto the road, which I promptly did. The driver turned, the bus approached, the driver honked at me,  and I ignored him. Once I rounded Sheriden Circle, the rain really, really started and I was worried about the contents of my bag, including my phone, getting wet, perhaps fatally. I think I've killed a phone through rain riding before, though I might not ever admit it.

I didn't get to the light at 20th NW in time and that was the first time that I had stopped since leaving work and that's where the rain really started to pour. Rather than be marginally patient, I used the congestion to make it halfway across the street and then I pushed the bike across the street, docked in front of a bank and then walked over to the Metro entrance. At the bottom of the escalator, crowds waited. It sort of reminded me of the refugees aboard the Battlestar Galactica in the show of the same name.

Here's proof that I took the Metro, just in case there are any sharrows truthers out there.

Trains with carpet. What is this, the Orient Express?
On the Metro, I realized that I was a wet, addled looking dude in a hooded sweatshirt and pulled down baseball cap. I'm glad I didn't get maced.

Walked home. Still managed two bike trips today. Continue to log your rides, so through our generosity, we may subsidize bike infrastructure in LA and Kansas City.

1 comment:

  1. I had a feeling you were gonna get downpoured upon yesterday ... I waited it out and luckily it stopped in time for me to have a dry ride.

    And, I did eagerly anticipate this blog post with Tales from the Deluge ...