Ride Home 1/4: No one is going to read this now

48 hours have passed since this ride and I'm blogging in the midst of watching the second quarter of the Pigskins game. Nonetheless, I won't let my being distracted and my barely recalling the ride itself prevent me from putting out a blog post of the quality you've come to expect (middling).

I've taken to storing my bike in my office on Fridays, the day in which I'm most likely to bike in normal people clothes. This Friday, the Dean (I work at a university) saw my bike and commented that I had ridden in that day. I assented. He pointed out that it was cold. I agreed. He asked where I rode from. Apparently, he's not a fan of the blog. But he was interested. It wasn't much of a conversation, but it also wasn't the conversation "why is this bike in your office and would you like to put your things in this box because you are fired because this is unprofessional." My workplace, and I'm really lucky in this regard, is ludicrously bike friendly and I am so grateful. I think that along with the accouterments (the bike parking, the showers, the bike commuter benefits) and perhaps even more important than them, the overall attitude about bike commuting at the workplace can play a really big role in one decision to keep doing it. I don't know what it's like where you work (unless you work where I work), but I think that everyday having to face "you BIKED HERE?" and "This one time, this biker totally was a jerk" would be really dispiriting and highlight an unwelcome othering that would only make me question my choices to bike. This just serves to highlight the need to develop a culture of bike friendliness (or tolerance or acceptance) alongside developing the physical infrastructures associated with it. Until, of course, bike commuting becomes totally mundane and then we can all go back to not caring, as is appropriate at the workplace.

I left work, rode down Massachusetts and turned right at 23rd on my way to L. I think I'm going to start going to 21st. Maybe it will be better. Remember when I used to take Q Street? That was, like, forever ago. I don't miss it. Q Street does have a bike lane, but L Street has a cycle track and the latter is much better than the former. When I ride on L Street, in spite of its deficiencies (the flex posts should be replace by a curb), I feel so much more relaxed than do I in a standard white-stripe-only bike lane. I exhale. I wish we had more of these. Maybe wemoveDC will do something about this, but I'm worried that it won't. Anything multimodal that supersedes/replaces a Bicycle Master Plan isn't, by definition, likely to put bicycles at the fore. So, we'll see.

On Pennsylvania Avenue.

Wait, he's not gonna do this, right? 


You suck.
Now, this is illegal. Both intuitively and because there's a sign. But worse than it being illegal, it's stupidly dangerous and so irresponsible that a string of expletives doesn't even begin to express the invective I wish to hurl upon the driver. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. A bus is just a bigger taxi with a set route. I'm writing a letter to WMATA. I don't think anything with come of it, but I can try. Inexcusable.

Easy ride up the hill after juking a tourist (I was just trying to go to the right, but I was glad to test of the ol' shake-n-bake on you) and then not much longer until home. I think I got passed at a stop light by another guy on a bike, but I don't remember the exact details. I think it had something to do with a minivan parked in a bike lane. Such is the way of the biking world sometimes.


  1. Shared this story from Friday on the BikeArlington forum, but it's relevant to your "othering" comment:

    Her: woman who saw me dressed in a neon yellow jacket and tights, as I walked away from the bike rack carrying a bicycle helmet, and then asked me what sport my funny-looking shoes were for. I can excuse the lack of observational skills, but I question why she felt it necessary to rant to me about the one time a cyclist ran into her when she stepped in front of him on the W&OD.

    Me: trying to remain friendly rather than reminding her that drivers, such as herself, nearly kill me on a pretty regular basis.

    Maybe I'll start that convo with a random person some time: "what kind of lock does that funny looking key with the buttons go in? oh a car...I almost got run over by a car just a few minutes ago. That wasn't you was it? I like driving, but I see so many of you breaking the law and nearly killing people that I just get too scared to go out on the roads sometimes. but I'm sure YOU aren't one of those people."

    1. That's almost exactly what I say to the staff here when someone asks me (as I'm pushing the bike into my classroom) if I rode today. My other favorite is,

      "Did you drive into work today? Wow, you're brave. With that gorgeous sunrise right in your face making it completely impossible to see oncoming traffic at high speeds? I don't think that I could ever take a risk like that!"

  2. Ever since WMATA opened a massive bus service facility near my office, whenever a bus labelled "Not In Service" comes anywhere near me, what I see is "Death Machine." Those guys don't want to slow down for anything, especially when they are heading towards the bus facility and, I'm guessing, the end of their shift. I deal with it by riding that segment of my evening commute--covering most of the length of Shepherd Parkway, SW; about 1/2 mile--like a bat out of hell. The idea being to get through that segment before the buses catch up to me (they come from a different direction than I and a traffic signal delays them). I used to like WMATA buses, but their drivers have taught me otherwise. DASH buses, OTOH, are quite well-behaved.

  3. the "no u-turn" signs are still posted. where's a cop when you need one? what's the email addy you sent your complaint to? i'd like to add my voice to the "no u-turns" emails. i see it all the time too, i'm just not able to get a camera out in time. was this on mon. evening?

  4. Please, please send the pics to WMATA and DDOT (the latter is responsible for installing/maintaining the flexible posts along PA Ave). All we can do is keep pushing DDOT to install more posts, or better yet, curbs/walls.

    Unfreaking believable.