Ride In 12/19: Grande Armée of Darkness

"Coldfinger," longingly belts an internalized Shirley Bassey, regretful that I left home without my gloves. Stupid winter weather during stupid actual winter. It didn't seem that cold before I left home, but maybe that was because I was inside. (If you knew how little insulation our house has, you would know that's not much of a joke. An actual joke? How little insulation our house has.)

Washington is a town full of suspicious packages. This might even be on its official tourism brochures. This morning there was one not too far from where I live and I stopped to find out how many streets were blocked (many) and how many emergency personnel had responded (many) and just gawked for a little while because hey, why not. I didn't see the suspicious package, but I can only assume it was bright green and covered in question marks. I guess you can never be too careful.

It was one of those mornings where people driving cars were mostly fine but people on foot were sort of terrible. Pedestrians seemed antsy. Any gap between cars and someone would try to get across the street. Given the way that pedestrians are normally bullied into submission, I can't really blame them, but it can make for a trickier bike commute and more than once I stopped short to avoid someone who had left the sidewalk regardless of my approach. Oh well. There are lots of things that you can get upset about during a commute and I rank jaywalkers rather low on that list. Above them, I rank reckless taxi drivers, lack of bike-thru churro stands, and birds who hold eye contact just a little bit too long. I keep this list on a big vellum scroll.

I don't know why I ever bothered biking in winter without Ibex wool tights. I endorse them. I want merino wool everything. I might even replace Ellie the Poodle with a merino sheep. I will name her Ellie the Merino Sheep (EtMS) for continuity purposes. If I do this, I'll include EtP in the same eBay auction with my Yoda street loot. That's a great deal.

There are some intersections where it's red lights in all directions at the same time for a few seconds and cyclists approaching from every direction manage to run their own red lights and it's like shooting the moon in Hearts and everyone involved should consider that a victory. 11th and R is like that.

You ever see how closely you can pass a car that's parked blocking the bike lane? I call it Reverse Pamplona-ing. It's totally going to become a thing, like swagger-jacking and noveau Columbusing. You're welcome, DC lexicon.

Noticed this at the top of Massachusetts.

Ruh roh.
Looks like I'm going to need some new bar tape. People, many of you who might actually be reading this, have told me in the past that wrapping your handlebars isn't that hard and that there's YouTube tutorials aplenty. But there were YouTube tutorials aplenty for tying bow ties and even with that, it probably took me a good hour of frustration to figure that out. It's good that I have the week off next week.


  1. Bow ties are hard! First the YouTube tutorials never show the angle that I want to see. Then I get mad, then sad, then mad again. I'll give up for a while, but then try again as if a surprise attack will outsmart the tie. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I move on and pick on the double windsor - I always beat them.

  2. Two words: Fizik Microtex. Maybe pick up some new hoods as well?

  3. Oh, and +1 on the Ibex tights.

  4. I am not skilled at things like basic bike maintenance, and don't have a lot of patience for doing tedious things.

    That said, I managed to wrap my bars pretty successfully on my first try. There was one spot going around the brake on one side that didn't quite work, and I could have left a little more to tuck into the bar on the other side, but all in all it looked pretty good.

    So you should be fine.