Ride In & Ride Home 12/17: Teuton Common

Two newsy items of note, the first and more important of which is the Bikeshare expansion, which will bring 54 new stations in early 2013. Allegedly. I'm sure it'll happen, but we've done this before and I think it'll take longer than March and I don't think we'll get all 54. There's almost always a problem with siting one or two of the stations. Nonetheless, 50 more stations in DC proper is a pretty big deal and since one of them will be two blocks from my house, I'm pretty excited. What this all MEANS in a large sense for DC and bicycling and bike culture and citizen cycling chic and such is still up in the air, much like Capital HotAirBalloonShare, which is slated to launch some time between the DC Streetcar  late 2013) and the DC Hover-Streetcar (2213). Watch for sandbags.

The other bit of newsy news is that the good folks at the Washington Post (pronounced down-home-ingly as the Warshington Porst) committed one of the bigger acts of journalistic malfeasance not involving WMD by including my name amongst those of real Local Transit Experts in the 2012 DC Tweeps popularity contest. I encourage you to vote for @SharrowsDC (even ironically) and I promise that even if you drop a bucket of fake blood on me at prom, I won't go all crazy and get you all in an act of phantasmagorical revenge. Or, you could vote for any of the other tweeps, since they're all good too. But keep in mind that unlike the other tweeps, my favorite color is [your favorite color (favourite colour if you're British)] and the best sports team is the [your favorite team] and I will pander oh so very much because coming in second in this very ephemeral contest will be the crowning achievement of my social media life. I might also make myself a trophy. It will have a plastic bowling man on it.

I am a dolt. I decided to remove my fenders from my bicycle this weekend and this morning the streets were wet and I was one of those dolts who rides on wet streets without fenders. I also swapped out my tires for some thinner, better, road-er tires, all in the attempt to ready my bike for the Hains Point 100 on Sunday. I don't think I'll ride all 100 miles on account of my getting winded when I even think about walking up the stairs, but I'm definitely planning a few laps, all in the name of [your favorite charity] WABA's Women's Bicycle Outreach and Advocacy Campaign. If you'd like to ride in circles for six hours, then sign up now! If you'd like to give money to Megan, who is really quite a lovely person aside from her willingness to ride in circles for six hours, give money now! If you feel pressured by imperatives and exhortations and exclamations, accept my apology now!

East Capitol through the Capitol Grounds down the hill to a left on 3rd and a right onto Madison Drive and a quick straight shot down the Mall, which has new grass that will all soon be trampled at the second inauguration of the same president we have now. I kept on until crossing 14th and 15th and then took the paths by the fenced-in Washington Monument (I guess they don't want it to wander off?) and then by the World War II Memorial (it has pillars for veterans from USVI and Puerto Rico. Does it have one for DC? It does. I just didn't see it) and then down the path past the reflecting pool and over to 23rd street. I rode up 23rd street to and through Washington Circle (the worst circle in DC), up New Hampshire and then instead of taking 22nd towards Massachusetts, my eye was caught by a garbage truck parked in the L Street Cycle Track. So began my morning odyssey down the cycle track from 22nd to 15th, wherein I was basically Ulysses, except instead of killing cyclops and tying myself to masts and whatnot, I took pictures of scofflaw parkers and snarkily tweeted about it. Local Transit Expert. I turned left at 15th, followed that to R Street ("R Street, is a very, very fine street" sings Crosby, Stills, Nash and L'Enfant) and followed that past Connecticut Avenue to the intersection with Massachusetts Avenue and rode up the hill. Was my bike, lightened from its absence of rack and fenders, any faster up hill? Not that I could tell. It's not like it's a horse (how you down-homing-lu pronounce hose?). It still relies on me to power it and I'm certainly no faster than I was the last time I rode it. On the other side of Wisconsin, I found a $5 bill in the street and I stopped and picked it up and I mean to put it into a poor box because it's probably bad luck to keep found money according to some religious or philosophical or historical tradition.

I rode home in the dark, but I had lights on my bike and things were generally fine. There was a cold, wet mist and it was like I was being spat upon by a penguin. Night riding isn't so bad anymore. I guess I've become accustomed to it.

Does riding a bike through the city take an unduly confidence? I can never tell. Maybe. Probably. I guess. I don't know.

Mass to 23rd to L and the comedy of errors of driving parked or "standing" in the bike lane continued. I say "standing" because there were people in or next to the cars. This is somehow even more offensive to me than parking the car. One guy even apologized to the cyclists as they rode past. How about instead of apologies, you JUST DON'T FUCKING LEAVE YOUR CAR IN THE BIKE LANE IN THE FIRST PLACE? The worst part of it is that due to the construction of the cycle track, the parking took place in the mixing zones, creating havoc for drivers as well as cyclists. So, way to go, jerks. I get that you're just "popping in" for "just a minute," but come on. This isn't CONFUSION. This a calculated, rational, cost-benefit analysis that they're going to get away with it. And unless DDOT starts putting TCOs on each corner (which maybe they should?), they will. So, yeah. Decidedly uncool.

I found myself in the left lane at the end of the cycle track and unable to get right at 11th street and soon I was on Massachusetts and even sooner I was looking for a way off of Massachusetts and I turned right at 10th and right again and New York and illegally left at 11th and followed a bus for the five-ish blocks to Pennsylvania, where I turned left again to ride the cycle track, across which I saw at least one u-turn. U-turn, I-turn, we all turn across cycle tracks. I try not to let my fatalism about this get the best of me, but it's hard. I found myself singing to the tune of America's most alien-looking songstress Taylor Swift " Theeeee-eeese are never, ever, ever getting any better" and now I'm imagining a whole parody song video which will change the hearts and minds of all the drivers who do this horrible thing. Local Transit Expert.

On East Capitol, I followed a man who wore on orange helmet that looked like a bowling ball and it had an OBAMA sticker on the back. To the best of my knowledge, it was not President Obama himself. I rode to Lincoln Park, around Lincoln Park and away from Lincoln Park, veering left on A Street and then home.

It's good to be back. Thanks for reading.

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