11/13/12

Ride Home 11/12 & Ride In 11/13: Fork Innovation: These Tines, They are a-Changin'

Sorry for another wrap-around double post. These are admittedly confusing. Is it night or is it day? Will I clearly delineate between the two rides or will I just lump everything together? Do I only ride on Massachusetts Avenue and how can this one street be all over the city? Was Pierre L'Enfant a witch? (Yes).

I was to attend a gathering at a local watering hole of some renown and it's location was essentially on my normal route home, so there wasn't much in the way of divergence except for my taking 21st street through downtown instead of taking 19th or 23rd. To be perfectly frank, I prefer 21st street because prime numbers just freak me out. They're just so indivisible, you know? But before 21st street, I rode down the previously mentioned Massachusetts Avenue and before that I rode on the sidewalk along Nebraska Avenue and before that I almost fell off my bike when trying to transition from the grass next to the sidewalk to the sidewalk itself because I lack even very basic fundamental knowledge of ways to avoid falling down when moving my bike in an orthogonal direction. I was on the grass so as to the give the two people walking in the other direction the full sidewalk, that they could continue their conversation without having to mind me at all, which it appeared they were going to do regardless of where I would ride. The road to hell/falling off your bike is paved with good intentions. Or maybe the road to hell isn't paved at all and it just alternates between grass and sidewalk and hell just consists of clumsily almost falling down.

There's a speed camera on Massachusetts Avenue (where else?) past Garfield Street and it's there to catch speeders who exceed by 11 miles per hour the 30 mile per hour speed limit. I doubt it catches very many people. There are two lanes in each direction on Massachusetts there and I think that the camera could catch speeders in both lanes, but I imagine that there's an angle at which someone in the nearer lane might block someone in the far lane from getting pictured. I'd be really miffed if my bicycle and I ever served as a screen to block the ticketing of a speeder. Likewise, I'd be miffed if caught speeding, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going that fast and I certainly wasn't going that fast last night since I was riding behind another bicyclist who was clutching the brakes the whole time.

An etiquette question: if you're taking the lane (on a bicycle, not in some nefarious larceny), have you taken it from just motorists or fellow bicyclists too? For example, I was in the middle of the lane at the bottom of Massachusetts Avenue (it's the only street in DC!) and there was a bicyclist to my right in another lane and as I was riding by, but not before I rode by, she moved from her lane into my lane. I guess there was enough room, but should have she waited for me to ride past first? VEXING.

Some bike boxes on L Street:

they don't look like boxes
A "bike box" is meant to be a place for cyclists to get out in front of car traffic, thereby increasing the visibility of the cyclist and/or permitting his movement through traffic, such as making a right turn. This latter use is the primary impetus for bike boxes on L- the cyclist leaves the left-hand cycle track and turns right, somehow using the bike boxes. I think this only works at a red light. And then, it would seem to make more sense just to ride in the crosswalk. I guess if you didn't want to be a jerk in a crowded crosswalk, then you could wait in the bike box for the light to turn green and then go from there. Anyway, bike boxes ladies and gentleman.

I locked up at 21st and H, enjoyed a Jackberry Smash, was rebuffed on a second drink order because the bar was out of Midori, ate a bunch of fried, brown foods and rode home afterwards. I took Penn to 15th to Penn.

You can ride whatever kind of bike is comfortable, but it's sort of a dumb idea to ride it into the middle of an intersection against the red light with no lights on it. I'm glad that so many people take up bike commuting, but there really needs to be a minimum standard of common sense. Or maybe aversion towards getting hit by a car. Both probably. I assume that most everyone (adults) I see biking around the city has a driver's license and perhaps the good sense to use lights on their car at night and never question that that's both a good and practical idea and yet somehow this doesn't translate to biking. It's curious and disappointing.

I saw a Jack-O-Lantern at a bus stop. I think it was waiting for the bus. Listen, buddy. There's no escape. You're pie. I'm sorry.

[sleepy time interlude followed by Peer Gynt 'Morning' because my life is basically a Bugs Bunny cartoon]

It was raining. A cold November rain.[Because my life is basically an overwrought music video]. I wore a rain jacket and a hat and I covered myself in Bounty paper towels to absorb all of the sky water, except for that last thing which is total fiction. I stuck to my new route down (any guesses? yeah, that's right!) Massachusetts Avenue, where I saw a guy on a great looking Civia with bamboo fenders and a bamboo front rack and a bamboo rear rack and a ravenous panda clinging to his rear wheel, except not that last thing. He turned at 10th Street NE and I kept going around the park and around Columbus Circle and awkwardly negotiated the throngs of people trying to cross the street by Columbus and E, where the Met Branch Trail of 30 feet is and I ended up riding past them and then looping back to gain access to the trail, which is, I suppose, mixed use.

My trip is First NE wasn't as fun as it was yesterday, but that probably had more to do with the rain and cold then the street. My ride up Florida Avenue wasn't fun and that had do with at least a little bit of the honking that I received. Guess what? I can't make the cars in front of me go any faster and I'm pretty that my being behind them isn't making them go slowly. I crossed at R and that wasn't very funny because, in spite of years and years of chicken jokes, crossing the road really doesn't deliver the laughs like you might expect.

Very few cyclists on R Street. A dumb guy, seeing the backed up car traffic, stepped out into the bike lane with the aim to jaywalk across the street. He declined to look for bike traffic, but I believe he did see me when I said "Stop" and then "fuck dude come one" in the exasperated monotone that all well-intentioned and appropriately peeved urban cyclists eventually develop. I guess I "broke the seal" on the cussing because I later told a lady to eat shit but mostly because she almost hit me with her car. Bygones! Swearing- it's like Pringles!

There's a No Turn on Red sign at the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin and drivers consistently turn on red there. Is that because of CONFUSION?

I'm looking forward to riding home tonight because I enjoy my home and also because the day has since become nice and there's no rain in sight and because I've been cooped up inside all day and I yearn to be free and I've got just one more hour to go.

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