Ride In 11/5: Paradox Lost

First day of early dark and the first day of real cold. Bicyclists: now with mufflers! I hope you packed some lights for tonight. Rumor has it that it will be dark. As usual, I extend my offer of buying lights for anyone bicyclist who needs them and can't afford them. Email me at talesfromthesharrows at gmail. No one has yet to take me up on the offer, but it's one made in total seriousness. Lightless bicycling is idiotic and dangerous and there's no reason to do it. Unless you're trying to bike behind enemy lines in some kind of World War II prison break movie. But I have it on good authority that WWII has been over for some time now, so really, no excuses.

It's cold and bicyclists are still riding. Saw plenty on East Capitol and then on Pennsylvania Avenue. There was a steady mix of normal-people-clothes-wearing people and cycling-attire-superbiker-looking people, so it's nice to see that the change in the weather doesn't really change much. I also saw a man wearing a kilt. This was at Penn and 17th on the west side of the White House. He rode a CaBi. That's right- a man in a kilt was riding a Bikeshare bike, a bike that you might be renting this very afternoon. He was also wearing argyle socks, pulled up to his knees, so I guess those kept him warm.

I rode Penn through Washington Circle, turned right at New Hampshire and for the fourth day in a row, set off down the almost now fully completed L Street Cycle Track. I do not yet find this tiresome. Some bullet points:

  • Right at the beginning, as I stood off to the side to take this picture, I was passed in the bike lane by a man in a Land Rover. I said "This is a bike lane" and he said "I know" but pointed forward to the parking garage 500 feet down the road he planned to pull into. Um, ok. And then I found myself pedaling behind him, but with another driver behind me. I've decided to be charitable and chalk this up to "learning curve" and hope that drivers will learn that they should drive in one of the other lanes and pull into the garage down the road. I don't know if bike symbols will clear this up. 
  • Mail truck in the cycle track? Mail truck in the cycle track. This is becoming a recurrent problem and I don't think USPS really cares. I hope that DDOT at least tries to address this. 
  • Only two drivers made lefts in front of my path from the travel lane instead of merging through the mixing zones to make lefts from the left turn lane. I guess I could be less sanguine about this and say "TWO ASSHOLE DRIVERS CUT ME OFF MAKING LEFT TURNS FROM THE WRONG LANE," but I'm still feeling charitable. 
  • Other than the mail truck, no one was parked in the cycle track. I don't know if this was true later in the day, when the rush hour parking restrictions were lifted. 
So, that's my story. What's yours? I'm compiling them, so please share. 

It would've been really nice if DDOT extended the cycle track to 11th, where the northbound bike lane starts. Oh well. There's a one block gap and that's not a big deal. 

11th to R and the usual mix of shoaling and all that. R to Mass and the usual mix of slowly riding up a hill. 

Olive green Velo Orange mixte lady: I have a crush on your bike. 

I tinkered with the angle of my seat this weekend and I think it improved the quality of my ride. This tinkering inspired me to further tinker with my front fender, which I did at lunch time. All around, I'm just a tinkering fool. I haven't tinkered with my bell, but if you really believe I should, just clap. 


  1. Support your comments about lightless cyclists and your idea to offer to buy them lights if they need financial help. It's perhaps hard to believe just how much a cyclist fades into the surroundings at night, even if the street is well-lit. I posted my thoughts about the L St bike lane here http://midatlbike.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/l-st-nw-bike-lane-good-thing-or-bad/