Ride In 12/20: Was Fantine singing about literal tigers? That would really change my understanding of that song

This was a lazy ride. I slept in and shuffled out of the house about 20 minutes later than I normally would. And rather than try to make up the time on the road, I decided that I'd do the opposite and really luxuriate in my lateness. When others zig, I zag. And when others zag, I duck for cover because zagging is unpredictable and highly dangerous.

My first stop on my very lazy trip was the Wells Fargo at Pennsylvania and 10th. I deposited some checks at the ATM. Before this, I leisurely rode down to and around the Capitol, directed away from my normal path through the plaza/parking lot in front of the Capitol by one and then another member of the Capitol police, standing out front and blocking the entrance. I followed some other bike commuters around toward the north side of the building, where we were able to pick up another path and follow that to the driveway which dumped out at the bottom of the hill. At the very bottom of that driveway, the one on the Senate side of the Capitol, there is a security gate. And there's also a big planter. And there's some metal bollards. All of these serve to restrict, I guess, the movement of cars. But they're tremendously hazardous to bicyclists, so I urge you to be very careful if you happen to be biking along there. AND, to make matters worse, recently (within the last month, maybe), they've moved a metal fence-let there and have placed it between the planter and one of the metal posts, further restricting the movement of bicyclists. Ugh. Dear state security apparatus: either restrict access or don't. You really needn't be so passive-aggressive about the whole thing.

After the bank, I followed Pennsylvania for another block (I rode on the sidewalk because I'm one of those terrible people) and then rode on the street, 11th street, for a block before stopping to ascertain whether the line at Starbucks was too long. I drink Starbucks because I'm one of those terrible people. The line was too long, or at least too long for my patience, which even on a slow, leisurely, bike ride, is easily tested. I set off again and followed 11th northward, for that is the way that I needed to go.

There were bicyclists aplenty on 11th. There were also a few on R, including one man in a bright orange coat who took umbrage at more than one driver who partially blocked the bike lane in anticipation of making a right turn. His umbrage took the form of touching the side panel of a taxi and it also took the form of verbally scolding a driver a few blocks later. That's a lot of umbrage. He was the bike lane defender and he was going to defend the sanctity of the bike lane against all interlopers. I never know how to feel about these sorts of people. I am very much not one of them and part of me is deeply embarrassed by their levels of righteous extroversion. But on the other hand, much of me is deeply in awe of their self-assuredness and unwillingness to be slighted.

It's sort of cool when you diverge from a bike commuter in one part of town and then you come back together in a different part of town. Only so many places to go, only so many ways to get there.

I decided to again attempt a stop at Starbucks. I locked at Connecticut and R and my bike fell down after I locked it. This line was even longer than the one I didn't wait in on 11th street:

I guess my overwhelming desire for caffeination overwhelmed my impatience. I had a Starbucks gift card, so it was free.

I didn't even drink any coffee during the rest of the ride, which was on the last bit of R Street and up Massachusetts Avenue. On Massachusetts, from 30th Street to 34th Street, I counted 9 drivers holding their phones, either talking or texting. I don't know if this is a high or low number. So, we're either winning or losing the battle on distracted driving.

No problems the rest of the way. I saw a guy on a CaBi stopped at an intersection and he had propped up his leg on a lamppost in a position that looked like it was inspired by the Karate Kid. The things people will do to avoid putting their feet on the ground amaze me. I haven't yet encountered shoe-eating bacteria, so I'm fairly certain it doesn't cover our roadways. Though I'd hate to be wrong.


  1. Argh, I ride around the north side of the Capitol for about 75% of my morning commutes and MAN is that blockage at the bottom of the hill irritating! I really do think it's placed specifically to ensure that bikes have to come to almost a complete stop before entering that circle ("Peace Circle", apparently?) which is more or less deserted except for maybe a half hour stretch at either end of the work day. Pretty sure I've caught the Capitol Police officer at the gate staring at me with a conspiratorial grin on at least 3 occasions.

  2. Unless there is signage indicating otherwise, partially blocking the bike lane in anticipation of a right turn is only incorrect in that they did not fully block the bike lane. A whole lot of misguided umbrage by that cyclist.

  3. @UrbanEngineer- I should clarify that this was midblock and well before the intersection. So, I wouldn't so the umbrage was totally misplaced. Just effusive.