Ride Home 11/7 & Ride In 11/8

Sorry for the double post, which will also be condensed, like a can of soup.

There are many intellectual reasons to enjoy bike commuting- it can save you time and money, it's good for your body and maybe Mother Earth- but it's the visceral feeling of it that keeps me coming back, especially in the cold weather. The kiss of the cold wind on my cheeks, the slight constriction of my lungs and chest (Elizabeth, I'm coming to join you...by bike!), the cold tear welling up at the corner of my eye and tingling toes clenching and releases the wool socks.

I saw a pizza delivery guy at the gates of the Naval Observatory, which is where Joe Biden lives. I'd really like to assume that "Uncle" Joe ordered some Papa Johns, but I doubt that he was home.

There's a reason why I sometimes jump red lights, especially if there's a long queue of cars behind me and that reason is because I don't want to get run over. Cars can accelerate must faster than I can and rather than risk the negative consequences of someone's impatience (and/or create a situation that I could just avoid through gentle and safe lawbreaking), if the road is clear, I'll start early. This allows me to get moving while worrying less about both slowing someone down or being passed too closely by someone trying to accelerate around me. I'm not saying that it's the morally right thing to do, but that's at least my justification: it seems safer than waiting.

L Street happenings:

  • A driver cut me off by using the mixing zone as a place to pull over to pick up his wife or girlfriend, who was waiting on the sidewalk. He said "Oh SHIT" when he saw that he had done so. Luckily, I saw him well in advance and was quite prepared for it and wasn't hassled that much, but I appreciated his cursing because it shows me that he cares. 
  • It's not cool when someone drives in the bike lane for a block and a half. 
  • Still no bike boxes painted. I noticed their absence for the first time. Also, the bicycles painted in the lane stop maybe around 15th street. I assume more painting will be done in the coming weeks. We're still not looking at a finished product, so it's still a little to early to assess.
  • Many drivers are still make left turn mistakes. This is a problem that, with time, will resolve itself to about 94% compliance (I'm the Nate Silver of guys who guess shit about bike lane compliance issues...?) but there's always going to be somebody who misses the mixing zone and decides to make the left turn anyway.
  • Mail trucks in the bike lane every day. I snarked about it and I'm sure DDOT is working on the problem, but it's still annoying. 

Took L to 11th and then to Pennsylvania Avenue, where, although I wasn't confronted with any u-turning drivers, was confronted with the question: has anyone actually seen any enforcement of #stoputurnsonpenn? I've never seen a cop pull anyone over. Have you? Are there some statistics on this? Will we get a press release at some point saying 'MPD nabs 50 drivers for illegal u-turns"? Or did nothing actually happen? Maybe that's not the case and there has been enforcement, but I certainly never saw any. Did you?

This morning's ride was one in which I was in the fog of a head cold, which makes all of the visceral enjoyment of winter bike commuting into its exact opposite. I wasn't a happy camper. Biking with a cold is ok for a little while, but after about a half hour, I just wasn't into it any more. Unfortunately, my commute is longer than a half hour. 

I rode East Capitol to Pennsylvania to 15th and all of these streets were quiet and I listened to the quiet and I enjoyed the quiet. Quiet sounds better at night when it's dark, but it sounds pretty good early in the morning as well. 

I wish there was a bike commuter equivalent of hazard lights that I could flash, indicating that I was going to go slow and you should pass me. It would have been really useful this morning. At R and 16th, I pulled out of the bike lane and waited to the right of it at the red light, allowing two commuters on road bikes to get in front of me when the light turned green. They "raced" a little and that provided me some small bit of enjoyment. Every time I see a commuter bike race, I like to impute a large story line on it and pretend it's a high speed chase, like in the French Connection


  1. I've been thinking the same thing about PA Ave enforcement. Aside from the day of the Bicycle Space ride, I have never seen a single police officer do any sort of enforcement of anything on PA Ave. I emailed Jim Graham a while back, and he involved Chief Lanier, and I just sent a follow-up email.

    I'll let you know when I hear back (probably with more empty promises to do something).

  2. "I saw a pizza delivery guy at the gates of the Naval Observatory, which is where Joe Biden lives. I'd really like to assume that "Uncle" Joe ordered some Papa Johns, but I doubt that he was home."

    No - VPOTUS has often been seen eating at Pete's on Wisconsin, so I suspect if not Pete's the pizza was not for VPOTUS.

    Sorry to read about the cold (as in virus). Hope you feel better soon, very soon

  3. No, on the U-turn enforcement. Monday evening I saw (and very nearly experienced) SIX on one trip from 15th to 3rd, at least two right in front of cops and traffic-directing folks.

  4. Feel better soon!

    If the mail trucks keep using our bike lane, perhaps we need to provide a show of force of bicycles at the mail facility. Sorry, are we blocking your exit?

    1. You actually can submit a complaint at USPS.com. You just have to wade through their complaint routing system until you find something that seems reasonable. It took me a few tries to find it.

  5. I've never seen U-turn enforcement either.