Ride Home 7/25: Roger Milla, 1990

It's time to legalize it, it being the Idaho stop. And then maybe we can have some kind of politically fraught amnesty program. I'm mixing my issues here, but whatever. Bikes aren't cars. I'm confident that a country that can distinguish "talent" between ten melismatic wannabe karaoke idols, we're just capable of parsing the difference between a human-powered vehicle of thirty pounds and a multiton living room on wheels.

On my bike I get to hear snippets of conversations and it's always fun to assess that conversation and try to figure out if the totality of it would have been worth eavesdropping. Today I listened to a guy talking into his phone about his law school application. I wonder if he'll get in. He said his LSAT scores weren't where he wanted them to be, but the rest of his application was good. So, there's that.

Remember how yesterday I wrote all about patience? Well, I'm extraordinarily impatient when I'm  hemmed in a bike lane by rows of stopped cars and I have a cyclist in front of me who I daren't pass due to lack of space and he's just riding so slowly that I'm tempted to abandon the bike lane, hoist my bike onto my shoulders, run down the sidewalk and remount at the next corner. I haven't actually done this. So far. Believe it or not, pedaling is an important part of making your bike go. A failure to do so shouldn't result in a quizzical gaze (this should be the title of a game show on LOGO), but instead a revivified interest in moving one's legs. People should ride at whatever speed they feel comfortable and our bike infrastructure should be able to accommodate cyclists' desire to pass.

At around Q and 7th, I noticed that the truck in front of me had a flat front right tire. I felt that it was my civic duty to inform the driver, which I did at the next light. He said that he knew about it, but thanked me anyway. He then made a joke (I think, because I didn't hear him clearly) about me doing it a block back. It wasn't like OMGLOLZ, but it was in a good fun and I laughed along. His passenger then suggested that I ride to work early tomorrow since it was going to be very hot. I explained, perhaps blatheringly, that if I adjusted my work schedule to avoid riding in the heat, I'd have to go in early and stay late and that's not really my cup of tea. I didn't actually say cup of tea, so as to avoid a cliche that might suggest I work as a butler at a large manor house. Not that that isn't a perfectly respectable career. (Have a domestic staff position you need filled? Email talesfromthesharrows@gmail.com. My skills include: knowing what a Roomba is, intermediate cufflink application, "blogging") Anyway, the light turned green, I said goodbye and good day and I set off down the road and with a bit of pace because I'd run out of things to say to the gentleman having already covered their flat tire and the weather. I'm not exactly a raconteur.

Q to Florida and Florida to First NE into the heart of NoMa, which is an entirely nonfictional neighborhood with a grocery store that I sometimes visit. I was emailed a list of items (by the Official Wife, not by the guy who wants me as his butler) and I stuck to the list and I even interpreted "bread" to mean "baguette," the bread type that is my biking bane. But what is life without challenges? After checking out I watched the baguette into my pannier that it poked out of the top but not so much. I was able to lift my leg well clear of it and got on the bike without pulling muscle or breaking the bread.

M Street to 4th NE to Stanton Park. There might have been a cyclist behind me who was trying to determine if I was worth passing, but he or she must've decided I wasn't. After Stanton, it was simple to get home and I did that.


  1. I told a driver about a flat once at 14th and U. I kind of scared him when I tapped on his window, and he already knew about the flat. I've been leery of doing it again after this experience.

  2. I do like the Idaho stop. Maybe we can call it "potatoeing," to go along with salmoning and shoaling?

    We need more positive interaction with drivers if we're going to make any progress, I'm pretty sure about that. Yesterday, I was stopped at a red light on 11th Street, while a few riders kept going through the light. A driver rolled up next to me and thanked me for obeying the law. We had a quick little banter -- I told her I had as much interest in being run over as she did of hitting me -- and then as the light turned green, she told me to "stay safe." It's a small piece, but every little interaction helps.

  3. I think interacting -- with other drivers, or bikers - is how we get/keep civility. People are forced to see you as a person, not some nameless object that is the reason they aren't 7 feet further in their journey down the road.

  4. Is the reference to Cameroon's greatest footballer meant to attract me? If so it worked. But I don't get the reason for the reference.

  5. @washcycle- it wasn't deliberately meant to lure you, though the set of local bike people who would immediately grok the reference is probably pretty small. All titles on the blog are random and I hardly even know how I come up with them. This probably somehow related to the London Olympics, where the soccer matches have already started and since England defeated Cameroon in the '90 WC quarters, I must just have Milla on the mind.