10/11/12

Ride In 10/11: Mo Vaughan did not win the Nobel Prize for Literature

I've been riding my bike to work for some time now and I'm still amazed at the very simple revelations I'm capable of having. For example, there is a direct and immediate correlation between the state of repair of a bicycle and how it rides. If something seems wrong, it's because something is wrong. Contrary to my now former belief, I can tell you that there are no such things as bike hobgoblins, phantasmagorical phantasms that beset your bike with mysterious ills and woes. Nope, it's all just mechanics and it's all pretty straightforward. A bicycle works as well as its parts work and as well as those parts work together. For a long time, I've been afraid to acknowledge this, preferring my alternative reality in which my bike is mysteriously and unresolvably (by me at least) under-performing and riding abnormally, as if it's fallen under a gypsy curse. But now, I think I've become, how do you say, less stupid about the whole thing and finally have come to realize that bikes don't get affected by gypsy curses (assuming you take the proper precautions, like throwing salt over your shoulder every time you ride over a crack in the street) and if my bike seems like it's behaving less than ideally or making a funny noise, it's because there's an actual, mechanical and reality-based reason for this and that I can, through the powers of observation and tool-usage, normally deduce and hopefully resolve these issues. I feel like I've just discovered science after long believing in witchcraft. All of this is a very long run-up to say that I found out my rear wheel wasn't properly set in the dropouts and had been wobbling and that this has been the reason that my chain has been skipping around and why my bike was riding sort of funny.After I fixed it this morning, after cup of coffee number two (don't undertake bike maintenance efforts pre-caffeination), I was almost immediately graced with a much better ride. And hence my revelation and exhortation. I hope this is the first step to overcoming my wrench-aphobia.

14th to South Carolina to 11th to M Street and then down M Street to Nationals Park, where I displayed my latent #natitude by propping my bike against a fence and taking a picture of it.


This is as close as I'm getting to playoff baseball. I also displayed my #natitude headwise with this snazzy baseball cap.

The curly W stands for curly winning
It was colder this morning and I wore gloves, but I did this without any consideration as to whether the gloves had #natitude. They had the appropriate number of finger holes and that was good enough for me.

After the ballpark, I rode down N Street SW to Canal Street to P Street and then along the Riverwalk trail and Water Street to eventually Ohio Drive. I found the wind to be whatever you call slightly less bracing than bracing. There's probably in Klingon for this, but not English.

I enjoyed dabbling in pathleticism, but there were very few cyclists heading in the same direction as I was. Almost all the ones I encountered were riding in the opposite direction. Many of them adopted the semi-official bike commuter look of the lone pannier on hanging from the non-drive side of the rear rack. That was my look as well. I think it might be almost as popular as the messenger bag.

This is important. Watch it.

I took K Street to Wisconsin and then it was up the hill and through and around various street construction. When there's street construction and a lane is partially blocked, I tend to ride in the middle of that partially blocked lane rather than to its right. I do this because if there's no enough space for me to ride alongside of a car, I prefer to make that obvious rather than run the risk of a driver pulling up right next to me. Most drivers, I would say, are pretty understanding. You can print out this paragraph and add it to your unsolicited bike commuter tip scrapbook.

Where there used to be a 711 on Wisconsin at Q Street is now an Edible Arrangements. Presumably none of the arrangements contain beef jerky.

People who don't park close to the curb are history's greatest monsters. I say this as a sometimes great monster of history. Sorry, cyclists who ride in the door zone.

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