Ride In 11/26: Gnomes in Space

Proper DC cold, which isn't really cold, but cold enough. I wore the heavy gloves and they more than did the job. I left my scarf at home, but that didn't ruin my life or anything. It wasn't that cold. In the winter, I tend to wear a strange combination of bikey clothes and regular people clothes, normally throwing my winter coat, a navy blue wool coat of the pea variety, atop whatever combination of long-sleeve technical shirt/cycling jersey/fleece I've worn and sometimes I also wear a scarf about my neck, but not today, at least according to the third sentence of this post. I wore bikey gloves, but sometimes I wear non-bikey leather gloves (they are brown), and I wore my winter cycling cap, the one with ear flaps. On the bottom, I wore some tights as I am appearing in a local repertory production of Peter Pan (I'm the understudy for "Bike Commuter in Tights"- it's an avant garde production) and also to keep my legs warm and over the tights I wore my normal bikey shorts, which are baggy. There were wool socks involved and I wore them in a most unexpected way, placing the left sock on my right foot and vice versa. I slung my messenger bag over my back and filled it with charcoal, which I set aflame soon after leaving and at mile 3, I stopped for a bag-cooked hot dog (sous-vide?) or would have done the charcoal hot dog thing if I didn't preferred my hot dogs boiled and my bags not ruined by char and flame. The whole look was a bit incongruous, but it works for me. If you have a winter coat, you can cycle through winter. Coats can't tell if you're biking or walking or standing outside waiting for the bus and even if they could tell, they wouldn't mind because coats are generous in spirit and understanding in their nature. Also, it's nice to wear a normal person coat because I can then wear it after I change clothes and walk from the building in which I do that to the building in which I work. The radioactive yelllow thin cycling windbreaker provides neither the warmth nor the anonymity I sometimes crave. 

On the other side of the park, I was passed by a fellow cyclist and he was very much in a hurry and good for him for riding so fast. I had neither the heart nor the legs to allow this to rouse me into peddling marginally faster, as I sometimes do when confronted with the reality that other bike commuters are whizzing by me. It's not that I'm trying to compete with them- there are no gold medals in bike commuting- it's just that sometimes I'm accidentally inspired to slough off my lethargy and benefit from the extra blood flow and the breathtaking and the other incidental benefits of active transportation when done actively and with a bit of real effort. Maybe tomorrow. 

Massachusetts to Columbus Circle to First NE through NoMa to the Wendy's that divides NoMa from rest of the world. I would really like a poster a-la-Saul Steinberg that shows First NE, the Wendy's, Annapolis, France and Moscow. However, I doubt such a perspective exists. I also don't think there's any bike parking at that Wendy's, in spite of its location between what some day will be a prime bicycling route. They've got some time, I guess. 

R Street across town. On R, I saw a guy riding his bike and a little girl, probably his daughter, straddled the rear rack. Probably unsafe, but pretty pragmatic. I saw them at North Capitol and then again at 7th and again at 6th. They were traveling at a speed that made me think that this was fairly safe for everyone and that should also give you an idea about how slowly I was going. 

I swear I'm just checking out your bike, not your gams. I apologize to all offended, especially for using the word "gams" because it is a stupid word. 

These paragraphs are getting shorter and shorter. 

On the hill up Mass, there was a guy riding ahead of me for a while, but then the hill got hillier and he decided to get off his bike and walk it up the hill. Since I tend to obsess of issues comportment (my other blog would be called Commuting Comportment Corner if I weren't so busy not being alliterative with the title of this blog), I debated the best manner in which to proceed. Should I stop and ask "Hey, bud, everything ok?" in the case that he suffered a mechanical issue? Or would that be interpreted as my being some kind of jerkwad, highlighting the fact that he dismounted his bike climbing up a hill because riding the bike up the hill was too much? Really, there's no shame in pushing a bike up a hill. I've done it a bunch of times. Hills are terrible. But some people are really sensitive about it because it seems defeating and disappointing and they don't want anyone to bring attention to it. But what if something was actually wrong with his bike and I could have helped with my copious knowledge vague awareness of bike mechanical issues and their resolution? It would be pretty rude of me just to ride on by- then I'd be a self-centered jerkwad focused more on his own commute than helping those around him. WHAT TO DO? Should I split the difference and ride behind for a little while to better assess his condition before making the "ask or pass?" decision? Or would then I just be a jerk was jawsing him? Faced with the prospect of being a jerk no matter what, I rode past. There was no muttering of "jerk" in the wind, so I think I did ok.

Up Massachusetts, across Wisconsin and up Massachusetts again. There might be an issue with one of the very small cogs on the back of the bike. It made a clicking noise and seemed to cause the chain the skip a beat. I should look into that. I doubt it's anything major. 

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