Ride Home 1/7: Torvill and Dean and Deluca

Two days, maybe? Three? How many days of bike commuting would it take for someone who doesn't normally do it to realize how unfair the whole situation is? So, can we get them on bikes for just two days? How long before they become entitled cyclists?

I rode Massachusetts down the hill to 21st street, as I had implied I would in some previous post. Forget you, 23rd street. The reason I hadn't formerly ridden to 21st was because I would normally get stopped at the light at 23rd and it was easier to turn right than to wait. But 21st is a much better riding experience. And the street is one way and wide. I'm not sure if it's two lanes wide, but it's definitely more than one lane wide. I would suggest it as a good place for a two-way cycle track, at least until New Hampshire. I saw a lot of people heading north while riding on the sidewalks.

Speaking of sidewalks, that's where I rode from M to L. It's a very wide sidewalk, but I was still wrong for doing it. I should've waited in car traffic because these are the RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES that I must share for some reason in order to be taken seriously as an upstanding and sufficiently rightful road user or something. Because, as we all know, great strides in human progress have been made when people just toed the line and conformed to the status quo. Why yes, I am engaged in some preposterous self-justification. You noticed? Laid it on a bit thick, I guess. In any case, the block went quickly and I don't think I ruined anyone's life by doing it.

Here is how someone is going to get very hurt while riding the L Street Cycle Track:
At the intersections where there are left turns, there is a mixing zone and this puts left turning car traffic to the left of the cyclists and leaves straight-ahead car traffic to the right of the cyclist. There is a three foot painted bike lane between the left turn lane and the go straight lane and on the right said of this painted lane, there are flext posts. To the left, there is a white painted line. This three foot lane facilitates the cyclist getting around the turning cars. This is normally ok. However, left turning drivers have developed a certain proclivity to curve their left turns, drifting a bit to the right before making the turn. A bicyclist, seeing this, will drift to the right to avoid the curving turn. Maybe too far to the right. And a driver proceeding straight will rear end end the cyclist. This is how someone is going to get very hurt on the L Street Cycle Track.
 I have a few suggestions:

  1. Cyclists could not use the painted bike lane part and just wait behind the turning car traffic, obviating the need for the painted patch and slowing up bike traffic. This is the least good idea I have and that's good, because this idea stinks. 
  2. DDOT could add a flex post between the left turn lane and the painted bike lane. This flex post would serve to push turning cars closer to the curb and prevent drivers from drifting right to make curving turns. This might work, but wouldn't stop curving turns from taking place after the end of the bike lane (in the intersection itself). 
  3. DDOT could paint some lines across the intersection. There could be turning lines, which suggest a path for the turning drivers, and there could be dashed lines, which show how the cyclist should proceed. Maybe some extra paint could provide some extra clarity. 

Those are pretty much my only ideas about this. Just be careful at intersections. And especially at this one at Connecticut Avenue:

L Street at Connecticut Avenue, 2013. 

The median provides a refuge for pedestrians, but an additional object for left-turning drivers to avoid, causing them to drift even further into the desire lines of cycle track users. If you're stuck at the red at this intersection, get a good jump because you'll want to get across the intersection first. And if you get there on a green light, just be careful and get back to the left as soon as you can.

11th, Pennsylvania and no real problems on either. A bit of a bike traffic jam at Pennsylvania where it intersects with Constitution. There were four of us. My bar for bike traffic is low.

Rode up the hill and to the grocery store and I walked around the grocery store with a flashing red light attached to my bag and I am embarrassed about this because I'm fucking bike commuter Rudolph and Santa didn't need me to guide him to the soup ingredients. I realized the light was on while I waited in the checkout line and turned it off. I like to pretend that you can bike around the city, even wearing bikey clothes, and still look relatively inconspicuous, but this really didn't help my cause. After I checked out, I saw in a line a few over, Gina from WABA. "Hi Gina!" is what I said to her and we briefly talked groceries and we both carried on our respective ways. Outside the store, before going in, I saw this brand-new Surly Crosscheck.

A new bike

This bike reeked of newness. It sparkled. Must have been a holiday present. My advice to any owner of a new Surly: beat it up a little. That's what this bike is all about. Don't kill it; just don't baby it. It's not that kind of bike.

Blog over. Now it is time to watch the big game and by that I mean the big game of upper class soapy intrigue that is Downton Abbey. I bet Bates will cover the spread.


  1. The bike rack that the very pretty and new bike is sitting on, however, is atrocious and makes the bike stand out even more. Where is this?

  2. S/he can borrow my beat up relatively young (2.5 year old) bike and I can take that bike. I am open to the deal.

    The other concern on the L St Cycletrack is merge with 15th St Cycletrack. The realistic time to go left would be when L St hits a red, but that's also when the pedestrians all cross. So it ends up being safer to move into the left turn lane and turn into the 15th St cycletrack from that spot.