Ride Home 10/31 & Ride In 11/1: Feint Praise

Yesterday was Halloween (in case you forgot or have candy-induced amnesia) and I tricked myself into the treat of riding down 23rd street instead of my now usual 19th street once I got to the bottom of the Massachusetts Avenue hill. I had never ridden 23rd street from Sheriden Circle to the West End, mostly because there's little in the way of bike accommodation and also because the street hugs the east side of Rock Creek Park and and curves a bit and I prefer streets that are bolt straight because I am a very boring person. I rode from P Street to N Street and then stood in car traffic for a little while while the cyclist who had been behind me rode on, riding onto the sidewalk and making his way just fine as I clung steadfastly to the notion that I should be in the road, proving myself a martyr to the slings and arrows of outrageous single-occupancy vehicles. I did this for maybe 30 seconds before decided to also ride on the sidewalk, which I did for two blocks, then decided to take L Street, revisiting the cycle track in the evening, the way Monet did hay stacks. Impression: it wasn't fun.

It's not that the cycle track isn't fun in the abstract sense- it's just that it wasn't fun in the very specific sense that it's done yet. I tweeted last night that riding in half-installed cycle track is like eating a half-baked cake and I'm still in firm agreement with myself that that's true. I'm not going to ride it again until it's fully installed, until all the green paint is down, until all the signs are adjusted (the signs still indicate that there's parking allowed in what should be the cycle track) and until all the bollards are in place. There's definitely a learning curve when it comes to new bike infrastructure- for cyclists and drivers- but that curve only really starts when the lane is done and fully established. Until then, it's just a crap shoot and I don't really need to partake in it. One of the small concerns I have, I experienced on a part of the lane that was done and it's this:

Note: green is supposed to mean 'no cars here'
This is green patch of paint is between the left turn lane and the bollards that divide the cycle track from the other travel lanes. As you can see, it's quite occupied by that car. This will always be the case if a driver doesn't pull close enough to the curb in the turn lane. I felt really pinched, so I hung back a little. This is why I would suggest another plastic bollard on the left side of the green paint.

After L, I turned right onto 15th then Vermont, past the Treasury Building and down 15th again. I noticed that the leaves had been sort of swept (or blown) to the side. I thought "well, this is better."
A somewhat improved situation
And while it was better, it's still not good enough. On my ride this morning (I'm jumping ahead), I watched a women riding in the other direction hit the patch of leaves and wipe out. She wasn't going too fast and landed hands first. I stopped to see if she was all right. I asked if she hit her head. She said that she did not. I asked if she was ok. She said she was ok. I waited a little. I asked if she had far too go. She said she didn't. Another guy stopped right around the time I did and he said something about how it hurts when you scrape your hands. I saw no reason to disagree with this. She moved her bike to the sidewalk and stood by it for a while. I stood around and didn't really say anything for the same while. And then, reasonably assured that my standing there was making her feel self-conscious and almost equally assured that she wasn't terribly hurt, I left and that's why this leaf situation isn't good enough. People will continue to fall and this really ought to be addressed.

Still u-turns on Penn. I saw a guy make one and I'm not sure if he was a valet for Capital Grille. I waited, thinking that maybe I'd go inside and talk to the manager, but he never left the car, so I was unsure of what course of action to actually take. I decided to go. This morning, I rode parallel to a driver who slowed to a near stop and then a full stop and waited for me and the two cyclists behind me to ride by and then he was totally sure that the lane was clear, he crossed the bike lane with his u-turn. This was about the safest one could do this and it was still illegal and wrong.

Many, many, many kids out on East Capitol and many of these children wore superhero costumes or maybe our superheroes have just gotten considerably younger and more concerned with collecting candy than keeping our cities safe. Very little of the way of ghoulishness. It was still light out.

I saw a group of bicycle police, gathered around 6th and East Capitol, meeting up before beginning their patrol. This seems like an effective way to police a neighborhood like mine and I hope that they had a relatively smooth shift.

This morning, it was down East Capitol and past the Capitol and I couldn't help but notice how smoothly my bike was running and this brought great joy to my heart. Riding a bike is a great feeling and it's even better when the bike seems to want to go.

I saw a guy on Pennsylvania Avenue who wore a helmet that was part Evel Knevil and part Captain America. I'm pretty sure it's this one from Nutcase. Bike commuters: a mix of daredevil and superhero. Not sure how I feel about that.

I saw Aaron. I yelled his name and he turned his head, but I not sure if he knew it was me. He seemed locked-in.

On 15th, I noticed that L had been milled to at least 14th. First they mill, then they pave, then they stripe and then trucks park in the cycle track. It's the law of nature.

I found a tattered Red Sox hat crumpled in the cycle track. I thought this was a metaphor. I didn't find a Yankees hat- perhaps because it vanished when the playoffs came around.

R Street through Dupont and up Mass- the same as every day. I should start mixing it up more, but it gets harder to be creative with the bike commute as it gets colder and it becomes almost impossible to muster the energy to be creative once the wintry precipitation starts, and with good reason too. Nonetheless, it's not the Metro, so I don't have to hit the same stops day after day and I ought to remember that. What's the point of taking the most flexible way to work if I'm not going to take advantage of that flexibility. And what's the point of ending a blog post on a rhetorical question.

1 comment:

  1. Are you abstaining from the coffeeneuring challenge? Or are you doing it in secret?

    I rode L St this morning, definitely needs a lot of paint, signs, etc.