1/27/13

Ride Home 1/24: Puddle Sandwiches

The metro stop closest to my office is on the red line and I live closest to the blue/orange. This necessitates a change at Metro Center, something I don't particularly enjoy. When I decide to take the Metro home, it has been my habit to bike from work to one of the nearer blue/orange stations, normally Farragut West (on this ride, McPherson Square). This is primarily a downhill ride that follows my normal route home and it's all right- though this time, maybe, wasn't the most fun. I'll return to that in a little. I don't know, however, why it has never occurred to my to start my trip with a ride of the red line at Tenleytown and then bike the final two miles from Union Station to home. In many ways, that seems much more sensible. This might be, in part, to my deeply held aversion to that metro line on account of my formerly, in my pre-bikey life, having taken it from Takoma to Tenley, an hour long u-shaped ride into, through, and out of downtown DC. But, more likely, my decision to ride to Farragut or McPherson more echoes my desire to just get on the bike and go and put as much distance between me and my workday as I can.

Though, when one tries to accomplish this on a CaBi and in the snow, the distance is hard-won. On the initial ride down Massachusetts from Ward Circle, the Bikeshare bike reached it's maximum speed and I sputtered and puttered as drivers zipped past. Though I wasn't going particularly fast, it was fast enough that the falling snowflakes pelted my face and stung like needles or nettles. I wanted to ride my out of this problem, to try to summon some vitality and power the bike with a greater effort in my legs, but this didn't seem to work and I felt pokey and slow and poked by the snow and altogether unhappy at my failing to bring with me a headcovering of any kind. Unsolicited advice for bike commuters or anyone who might at some point be inclined to think of taking a bicycle for transportation: always have with you a hat. No exceptions. It really does make a difference. This unsolicited advice is brought to you by silktophats.eu. The .eu means it's classy.  Also, gloves aren't a bad idea either.

I thought that maybe I should ride on the sidewalk since that seemed safer, in that I'd be farther away from cars, but it turns out that it wasn't safer as I was, riding there, much closer to ice. Ice and snow, more than car and driver, is the greater enemy to the inclement weather cyclist. Though the CaBi handled the snow well (thanks, giant tires and drum brakes!), I did feel much more comfortable on the road, like normal. There's almost never any need to take evasive actions. It's riding a bike home, not navigating an asteroid field. I think that we bike commuters can tend to over-complicate things.

New Hampshire Avenue is under construction and the intersection with 21st Street is a total disaster. There are concrete barriers and no sidewalk on the east side of 21st, but this doesn't stop intrepid pedestrians from attempting to walk up that side of the street. This is madness! There's absolutely no accommodation for pedestrians at all and thanks to the barriers, the street is only a little more than one car width wide. On this ride, I rode passed a woman, dragging along behind her wheel luggage, who squeezed between the barriers and the car traffic stopped at the light. This is a real mess and, while the construction is only temporary, I worry that this situation is going to result in a pretty serious crash.

L Street to 15th Street, but the light was green at 15th and I didn't know how to handle turning right on to the cycle track because I only realized too late that I wanted to turn on 15th to dock at McPherson, so I rode to the other side of the intersection and then cut across the street to ride on the sidewalk. Yup, I was the jerk riding on the sidewalk (illegally) when there's a cycle track on the other side of the street. I'm not sure how much I believe in the effectiveness of penance, but I do believe in unfailing karma and I'm sure that my punishment, just and equal, will be meted out by the Universe soon enough. You'll probably even read about it here. Turning right from the cycle track during  green light still baffles me a little. The design doesn't really accommodate one stopping in the bike lane,  so guess I should've just ridden slower to catch a red light.

Only two docks at 15th and K and I walked into the wrong Metro entrance at McPherson. I saw a mouse on the platform. It was causing quite a hubbub. The train didn't take very long to arrive (by DC standards) and I got a seat and I sat there until I got off the train to walk home.

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