Ride In 8/6: Analphabetic Shock

I was worried that my bike would be rust, somewhere about halfway into work. It was just that humid. Yet another reason, I'm glad that trains are the "Iron Horses" and bikes are not, even though bicycles resemble horses much more closely. For example, my bike is always calling me "Wilbur." ("Call Me Wilbur" would be a YouTube hit). And while it wasn't humid enough to make my bike rust, I'm pretty sure I picked up a barnacle. It was just that humid. 

And then, as a respite from the humidity, it rained a little. 

East Capitol and then around the Dome and down the hill. I rode behind a guy who I believe was wearing some kind of specialized shirt used generally by rowers or kayakers (It was just that humid) and it had written on the back something about paddling (not pedaling. All of my bike shirts have pithy phrases about pedaling on the back of them. All of my car shirts have pictures of cows on them in an attempt to make on the play on words around the idea of steering). I don't know where we went because I passed him at the top of the hill and he didn't rejoin me at 3rd and Pennsylvania, where cyclists normally bunch, waiting for the red light. I didn't ponder my ethical relationship to the red light because when it comes to red lights I'm basically Lina Lamont. When it comes discussions on traffic laws, I expect far more cant than Kant. 

Allegedly during this month, everyone leaves town and this has the effect of reducing car traffic and I sought to take advantage of that by riding on a road where I'd normally not ride, so I turned left onto Constitution Avenue, which is the road that runs parallel to the National Mall on its immediate north side and is 19 lanes wide (approximately) but there's no room for bicyclists, or at least none exclusively set aside. I stuck to the right lane and had it to myself for the most part and I was more or less able to keep pace with the dump truck next to me. The driver of the truck and I both suffered the same problem in that neither of us were especially fast getting started. I don't know which of us sputtered more. And I think we both suffered the same anxiety, the general concern that we were "slowing up traffic," so we both did our damnedest to hurry ourselves as quickly as we could to the next red light that awaited us. It would have been good sprint training with all the starting and the stopping. I'm assuming. I don't know how one trains to sprint on a bicycle. Presumably, often. 

The dump truck driver and I parted ways around 17th and I carried on for another five blocks. My intention was to meet up with the Official Wife who works in Foggy Bottom, but our timing didn't exactly come together. While I waited outside of her building, the rain started and as much as I can sometimes enjoy riding in the rain, standing next to my bike during it lacks some of the same appeal. I set off and rode up 23rd before making a left on H to avoid dreaded Washington Circle (We name a lot of things in this country after George Washington and this might be the most insulting and terrible) and I took 24th north before getting stuck in ridiculous car traffic that was caused by a combination of an active construction site, a giant flatbed truck trying to get into the construction site, a taxi driver trying to avoid the flatbed truck, and a highway stub that lets out drivers into the traffic circle. I neglected to ask any of the drivers if they thought that blocking the intersection was an ethical action. Car traffic makes bike delays. Life isn't fair. I used my time waiting (I was hemmed in by the truck, the taxi and a chain link fence, so I didn't have much choice but to wait) to construct  in my head an elaborate analogy about a big dinner where you only order a coke or an iced tea and everyone else gets steak and lobsters and wines and tacos and cakes and then cheeseburgers and then when the bill comes, the other diners are shocked at the overall price and blame it on your iced tea and then they also assume that their heartburn and indigestion must have also had something to do with your drink as well. And then they're mad when you only want to put in a couple of bucks to pay for your drink because after all, didn't you sit at the table as well? Anyway, I wonder wonder why I thought of that. 

Up M Street and then up Wisconsin. There's more vacant real estate on both stretches than I would have expected. The sidewalks are also too narrow. Can't widen them though because that might make it harder for people to drive out to the malls in Virginia. 

While the weather was terrible, I didn't have nearly as bad of a time getting up the hills today as I did last week, so that was good. I was the only bike at the bike rack, save for the one abandoned bike that hasn't been moved since last fall. I've hesitated calling it in to campus security because school isn't in session and I wouldn't want some kid to lose his (very neglected) bike because he just happened to take advantage of the indoor bike parking as long-term storage. Though if he just locked it up and forgot about it, or deliberately abandoned it, that would be a dick move. Nonetheless, there are still more than enough available space. I think I'll give him until October. 

1 comment:

  1. Your analogy about the restaurant dinner party is very pithy.

    I heard another one recently about our recycling/waste hauling contractor. They own the trash hauling semis, have their own recycling facility, and their own landfill. Being vertically integrated, they get paid for our waste one way or another. It's like owning the ambulance, the hospital, and the graveyard, and being charged with caring for the patient. They kind of wouldn't care because whatever happens to the patient, they get paid.