Ride In 7/26: The Sound and the Furby

Scads of bicyclists out today. The bike commuter has become a fixture in the DC commute scene, such as it is. It's impossible to ignore. We're barely even fringe any more. (I still wear a jean jacket with fringe for my bike rides though. It has "Sharrows" bedazzled in sequins on the back. Very classy.) I'm not sure to what extent bike commuters can be considered an self-organizing interest group- we all belong to different subsets and have different political priorities which are given varying degrees of weight and I don't know to how many people who happen to commute by bike, the continued development of a bike infrastructure is their top "political" priority. They might care about other things more, like schools or development or a ban on small plate restaurants or keeping liquor and/or guns in the hands or out of the hands of certain groups of people and maybe they'll vote for candidates who are "meh" on biking but more agreeable to their other positions. This is sort of the paradox of the "citizen cycling" movement- more normal people on bikes, but maybe less focused commitment to the cause of bike infrastructure. Though on the other hand, if we can make bicycling and good bike infrastructure a "sacred cow" (not literally- please do not stencil sharrows on the nearest bovine) that any local pol would feel obligated to support at the risk of alienating a broad swath of the population (you know, like parking spots are now), well, then the cause of marches on inexorably. In any case, vote in local elections. It matters.

I had a hard time waking up this morning and the lethargy translated to a fairly slow start to my ride in spite of the coffee and roll with butter and jam that I had consumed prior to leaving. If only they made pancake flavored shot blocks. It would solve all of my breakfast and energy problems. I've never consumed any performance goo (the technical term) and I'm fairly certain I won't start now no matter how appetizing these ingredients sound:
Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup Solids, Pectin, Citric Acid, Green Tea Extract, Colored With Black Carrot Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Organic Sunflower Oil, Carnauba Wax
Yum. There's oftentimes an overlap between recreational cycling and transportation cycling and in many places it makes sense: you want a reliable bike that's reasonably fast, maybe to wear clip-in shoes and there's nothing wrong with bike-specific clothing, especially when it's hot and you don't want to sweat in your work clothes. I'm not sure that the consumption of carnauba wax should necessarily fall into that overlap. But whatever. Everyone's different.

I've managed to get the timing right so that when I arrive at 11th on Pennsylvania, I'm able to make a right turn into the crosswalk (as I'm instructed by the signs in the bike lane) and make it to E Street where I patiently wait for the red light. If I'm at the front of the queue with just a slightest bit of intentional exertion, I'm able to make it to H Street to wait at the next red light there. Then at that green, with about the moderate same international exertion, I can clear New York Avenue and then get through K on the other side, cross Massachusetts on the walk signal (no green light, though. Not sure this is legal) and make it to P Street without having to stop again. My overall biking philosophy is to go only as fast a strictly necessary to make it through a green light and ride absolutely no faster. So, would-be shoalers, FYI. If you see me stop pedaling in my approach to a red light, pass me then. I'll totally be cool with it.

Saw Jon at 14th and R. We waved. Or nodded. I can't remember. Maybe both?

A family of British tourists at Dupont Circle looked lost, but I didn't want to intercede to help. That's for the War of 1812, jerks. Or maybe the light just turned green and I didn't fully assess if they even needed help until after I had begun to pedal away.

I wonder if people look at my ass the same way I see them do pedestrians who walk past them. Sure, the leer-ee didn't see you, but I saw you, so I'm not totally sure if you got away with it. Maybe that's not important. In public, everyone sees everything.

A long slow slog up the hill today. Some days are just less fun than others. No real bother though. It was a good morning ride and I'm happy it wasn't too hot and it didn't rain and I was able to arrive safely and soundly and think out a few things, most of those things being related to DC retrocession vs. DC statehood and I won't share them with you because they are of little consequence. Maybe if I get a job in Reston, I'll have a long enough commute to think through even weightier issues.


  1. Overheard jaywalkers on PA Ave across from Archives mention "a lot of bikers out there" as they stood in the middle of the street (in the middle of the block, too) and waited for me and some others to go past.

    I don't actually remember, but I think the nod-wave is my standard greeting while biking. I'm more likely to drop the wave than the nod (If I need both hands on the bike, for example), and I know I waved. So I probably nodded, too.

  2. Ha! That's for the War of 1812!

    And, OMG. Pancake flavored shot bloks. You are a genius.

  3. I swear, I'll vote twice for anyone who can get back the land Virginia stole from DC. The whole point of retrocession was to appease the south and avoid civil war by giving back the undeveloped part of our ten square miles which obviously we would never grow to fill.

    How did that work out? It didn't, so give DC back the land we stole from VA after they stole it from the people who were here first. Or something.