10/31/12

Ride In 10/31: The Usual Schtick

Nippy. I stayed warm with the help of many clothes, including a hat and some (2) gloves. It wasn't too bad, but it was one of those transition days, the first one that really signals that it's getting colder and soon this will become the new normal. I find these kinds of days (like the first really dark ride home or the first snow) to be rather jarring and hard to prepare for, but not altogether bad. Just different. Another thing that's hard to prepare for is wet leaves, which can cause the quite the anxiety and/or falling down. Perhaps worse than the wet leaves are the twigs and sticks that find their way into bike lanes (via Krampus?) that prove hazardous, especially if you're not paying attention. Other than 1) pay attention and 2) ride a bike with thick tires, I don't have much in the way of advice. Maybe don't ride in the bike lane if it looks that bad. Bike lanes, as always, are totally optional and you shouldn't feel compelled to use it if you think it'll be unsafe.

Speaking on unsafe, u-turning taxi across the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes. In his defense, the flashing sign that reminded drivers that this is illegal was taken away before the hurricane. Nonetheless, this isn't an excuse. We've still got a long way to go. A long way.

This isn't great.


Obviously there are other, larger issues that need to be attended to with greater urgency than bike lane cleanup. But I hope that they do get around to cleaning this up at least somewhat soon.

I rode past the White House and then up Pennsylvania Avenue on the other side. I mistakenly and obviously stood in one of the travel lanes on 17th while waiting for the light to change and blocked traffic, rightly receiving a honk from a peeved driver. I try to avoid being oblivious during my commutes and this was a pretty big fail on my part. I hate being honked at, but this time the alternative was her running me over with her car, so I'm gonna be ok with it.

The side of a bus told me that I could buy Wizards seasons tickets for $399. Note the lack of decimal point between the 3 and the 9 and my subsequent uninterest. I lack wizarditude. The side of another bus compared the sitcom How I Met Your Mother to the book Fifty Shades of Grey, with the black-and-white picture of the cast of the show under the words 50 Shades of Funny. If that's how he met the mother, it will certainly be a surprise twist that I didn't see coming.

When two cyclists race each other on the commute, it's called a Cat 6. I believe this terminology is derived from the time when some guy dressed his kitty as Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica and he thought "well, this has been as productive as racing another bike commuter." The only thing more fun than watching a Cat 6 unfold is watching a passive-agressive Cat 6 unfold, where neither rider wants to admit to the other than they're engaged in an EPIC race. This happened in front of me on Penn from 17th to Washington Circle. It was pretty silly.

I took a tour of the L Street cycle track. Some of my reactions and thoughts about it are here. I think I'll ride it again this afternoon to see how that goes.

From L, I rode up 15th, then left on R and through Dupont and up Massachusetts. On Mass, I fell in behind a woman who wore black shocks adorned with pink and yellow skulls and crossbones. Argh. Initially, a guy on a Specialized road bike was behind us, but then he went out into the street to pass and kept going at his own pace. I watched drivers pass him too closely. After Garfield, skull-n-bones decided to do the same and I watched drivers come within a foot of her as they raced to get around. There is nothing that validates my decision to stick to the path more than watching what happens to other bike commuters when they ride in the road. Were they in actual danger or did it just look terrible? I don't know.

On the other side of Wisconsin, I did move back into the road and ended up taking the lane until after Macomb Street on account of the wet leaves where I would normally ride. I moved back over before the final little climb and it proved all right. I watched two cyclists almost collide when one of them, the one coming downhill, failed to stop at the red light as the other started to cross the street. They shared words, which I didn't hear, but I doubt that the words were particularly amicable, though the offending guy did look pretty apologetic.

I forgot my lock. My bike is in my office, but it hasn't offered to help with work at all. Lazy.

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