There are bike lanes around (most of) Columbus Circle, but there are no bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue to the east or to the west. I ride from the east and after passing Stanton Park, I found myself this morning riding in the right hand lane behind a bus and a minivan. Both vehicles put on their turn signals to turn north onto 3rd street NE. As I went to move left to pass the right-turning minivan, the driver of the car behind me decided that he would right then try to pass me, bringing the front of his car what seemed like inches for me, accelerating quickly, squeezing between me and the traffic in the left lane, and only looking back into his rear view mirror about 100 feet down the road to see my raised left hand clenched in an angry fist. Some thoughts:
1. We need bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue from Columbus Circle to Union Station. I doubt this will ever happen because the street parking is somehow reserved by the Senate Sergeant at Arms and I don't think he'd give up parking spots lightly.
2. Fuck you, driver. You could've really messed me up.
3. I'm tried of being treated like an obstacle to be avoided rather than just another person on the way to work. It's like reverse-Frogger out there sometimes, where the trucks and vans are maniacally swerving to get past me, like I'm some piece of flotsam that fell off the back of truck and landed unexpectedly in the middle of the road. IT'S A LOCAL STREET! YOU SHOULD EXPECT BICYCLISTS! Too many drivers approach driving like it's some kind of video game in which you have to maneuver your car through the fraught urban jungle as quickly as possible, weaving and swerving, accelerating quickly and slamming on the brakes, cutting across lanes and cutting off drivers. It's not. You're in a fucking Camry. You're listening to Morning Edition. You are engaged in the most banal activity you could possibly be doing and to pretend like it's a high-stakes fighter jet dog fight is delusional at best and potentially murderous at worst. Calm down. (This goes the same for bicyclists, but the consequences of this kind of recklessness tend to be worse, at least in general)
4. Why is everyone in such a hurry? Is there some kind of sale of beer and puppies I don't know about/
I took Mass through the construction zone to 6th, turned right and turned left at K, turning again on 7th, crossing New York Avenue and pulling on to the sidewalk because I wanted to use the self-help bicycle repair stand outside of Bicycle Space, which I now realize is only out on the street during business hours. Whoops.
I rode up 7th and turned left on R, where bike traffic was middling and car traffic was also middling, but seemed more than that because cars are huge and take up a lot of room. At this point in the trip, I was still stewing thinking about the jerk guy by Columbus Circle, but I was slowly getting over it because the air was crisp and the sun was shining and it's hard to remain angry when you're on a bike on a nice day.
Whatever the problem my chain had the other day didn't seem to be bothering it again today. Chains are notoriously fickle and I believe that pharmacologists are working working overtime on developing a serum to solve fickle chain syndrome.
Do I see more women cyclists or do I just notice more women cyclists?
I thought that I saw a coworker when I was riding up Massachusetts and I said "hey, how are you doing?" with a slightly emphasis on the "you" so as to signal that I knew her, but she responded something like "I'm very well fine, thanks" with no hint of acknowledgement and I think we can conclusively declare that both sunglasses, which she was wearing, and helmets, which I wore, should be banned because either I said hello to a stranger or she didn't recognize me. Thus concludes this morning's tale of awkward interaction. [theme music plays]