Another successful venture. It's as important to harp on the successes as it is to bemoan the failures and since the bar for success is so low (getting home), I suppose I should adjust my harping accordingly. So, think more lyre than harp, though what I tell you about these rides is the truth, if sometimes abridged. Though I think guitars have bridges and neither harps nor lyres do, though what liars do we shouldn't trust, nor should we harp on. We should instead harpoon the liars, as we might their big fish stories. Now I'm blubbering.
Like I was saying, it was a successful ride home. I am, however, getting sick of almost-nearly (I struggle with the exact terminology to describe something that doesn't quite come to fruition, but if it did, it would be bad) finding myself banged into by the side of someone's car as they move it from one lane to another without first checking to see if I'm there. I mean, I don't expect them to explicitly check for me, but they really ought to check for someone. Anyone really. Stuff like this is just another reminder that in the current state of affairs if you biked with the same level of inattentiveness as that with which some people driver, you'd end up a hood ornament. And if the car already had a hood ornament, it would be totally awkward because who would even want to be a hood ornament understudy? Not me.
But "safety" isn't the primary reason I'd like separated bike infrastructure. It's to avoid car traffic, which thwarts me when I ride through the downtown areas. Sure, I could ride between the lanes of cars as they're stopped on a clogged street, but I don't really like doing it on account of my relatively poor bike handling skills (look ma, no handling!) and my general concern that the traffic will clear and I'll find myself in the midst of a kind of motorized Pamplona. So, world, don't give me a bike lane to keep me safe from cars. Give me one to keep me moving.
I shan't recall too much the chicanery I used to bypass the four or five blocks of solid car traffic on 19th. It wasn't legal, but it wasn't too antisocial. Very few glowers. I still shouldn't have done it.
The plaza by the White House can get quite crowded and weaving through can get quite tricky. It's best just to slow down, even if you've developed an aptitude for navigating through tourists like you're jumping barrels in Donkey Kong. Don't think of tourists as barrels! It's condescending. Also, I'd like to suggest to #bikeDC (but not you guys, because if you're reading this, you're super nice) that bikists (this is my new thing. Bikers means "dudes on Harleys" and cyclists means "dudes racing in the Tour de France" so maybe we could create a middle term? I'm not wedded to bikist if you have a better alternative) stop for people crossing the street at the intersection of 15th and New York Avenue. You know, because often they have the light and also because it's the right thing to do. Just a suggestion.
I love the bikist that rides in work clothes and bike shoes. The guy I saw today also had a salt and pepper beard, but that's an entirely different stylistic choice. On occasion I'll do this, but maybe I should do it more often. It's a fun, completely incongruous look and I sort of think it signifies exactly where, in a mimetic sense, commuter cycling is right now. (Still haven't read Mimesis. Long-time readers of the blog know that I'm almost always about to read Mimesis, but then don't. Ok, maybe they don't know that, but they do now. Someday)
I rode up the House side of Capitol Hill, where I rode past a man who was on his bike while smoking a pipe, and then continued down Pennsylvania, finding myself stuck behind one or two buses each and every block. I turned left at 12th and then right on E and then left at 14th and I went into the grocery store, wherein I accidentally shoplifted an avocado. Please don't tell old man Safeway. I sometimes just put my groceries in my bike bag instead of using a basket and when I checked out, the avocado both slipped my mind and slipped to near the bottom of the bag and that's how I stole it. Please do not use the description of this technique as part of your own plan to steal avocados- I do not want to be party to your crimes. I would, however, attend a party if you were serving guacamole, but do not reveal the provenance of said guacamole if it derives from absconded fruit! I paid for my other groceries. Whoops.
After the store, it was only another 3 minutes until home. Fall is in the air, but it's still not too nippy to mandate long pants each ride. Once that happens, then it's fall for real. Maybe we can make it until November.