Ride Home 1/31 & Ride In 2/1: Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things

Last night I was riding in the L Street Cycle Track. Car traffic to my right was stopped, as sometimes happens because cars are a remarkably inefficient way of traveling downtown. I had the cycle track to myself and was moving along just fine, but as I approached the intersection of L of 19th and moved into the green painted section of the cycle track (to the right of the turning cars), I noticed that a gaggle of pedestrians were planning to take advantage of the stopped car traffic to blithely cross the street against the suggestion/mandate of the traffic light. In short, they were jaywalking and they were about to jaywalking right into me. I yelled "stop" in an exasperated and annoyed tone, as I was both exasperated and annoyed ( I'm the Man of 1,000 Facial Expressions that Express Exasperation With the World Around Me, thanks to bike commuting) and I stopped my bike, miffed. I made eye contact with at least two of the people crossing the street and then I glanced up at the traffic light, which still showed I had the green. Their eyes followed mine. Then the light turned yellow and they kept walking. Then a beat. Then one of the women, a woman who I'm sure is probably a nice person, said "I'm sorry." Then a beat. Then she continued, and this was her mistake, "...I'm glad you're not on the sidewalk because I yell at people who ride on the sidewalk." To which I replied, "No, I'm where I'm supposed to be, trying not to hit you." Listen, I get it. We all make selfish decisions in traffic sometimes and that can put other people out. But just apologize and don't throw in some non-sequitur about cyclists on sidewalks! Oh, I see- bikers are bad and somehow because bikers are bad sometimes that excuses her being bad and somehow makes my being upset unreasonable. Don't make excuses. Just apologize.

Sometimes I think the greater danger of the L Street Cycle Track comes from pedestrians than from drivers. Not because they're distracted and not paying attention, but simply because of self-interest and advancing that self-interest at the expense of others. CONFUSION and DISTRACTION make for great excuses, but sometimes it's just APATHY. Let's stop conflating these things.

Later in the ride, I kicked a cone. It was a traffic cone and it was placed in the bike lane in front of the Folger Shakespeare Library. I unclipped my right foot from the pedal, swung and it back like a polo mallet and struck the cone, laces down, about midway up, sending it cascading toward the curb. I learned later than night that Dave had also kicked that cone, maybe only a few minutes before I did. Next time, I might just take the cone, like a pirate's plunder. Don't put cones in the bike lane. Unless they are ice cream cones. Then, soft serve please.

My bike has a mechanical issue (SPOILER ALERT) that I am incapable of fixing and it's that one of the brake hoods has become loose and has drifted down the handlebar, so it points downward rather than remaining level with the top of the bar. It reminds me of a stag with uneven antlers. On account of that, I rode the Brompton today. I rode lethargically. I felt like it took me 2 hours to get from home to Swings. I was dispirited by the wind and then further dispirited by how slowly I was progressing and then even further dispirited by how dispirited I was from those other things. It was like a vicious cyclone of dispiritedness. I could have used some of the air from that vicious cyclone to fill my tires, which seemed low and might have contributed to the lethargy.

After coffee, I rode up 17th Street to Farragut North, where I folded, both the bike and the bike trip, and decided to take the Metro to work. The Metro platform was quite crowded, but the train itself was fine and I was able to grab a seat and watch the world go by. The world that went by was very dark. The world inside was very orange.

At Tenley, I recommenced the ride, taking Wisconsin to Nebraska and then rounded Ward Circle partially and then I arrived at work and have been here since, except for taking Bikeshare down to Glover Park for lunch. I forgot my gloves during that ride and my fingers have only recently forgiven me.


  1. Forgetting your gloves on a day like today - my fingers would have cracked and broken completely off, and that would have made it much more difficult to grasp the handlebars.

  2. The sliding brake/hood lever is a very simple fix in 99.9% of cases. Is it simply a brake lever (i.e. not a "brifter" brake/shifter combo)? If so, the fixing bolt shouldn't be too difficult to find and fix. If it continues to slip, you might want to try a bit of anti-slip paste under the clamping band (yes, this will scratch a chromed handlebar, but chrome is slick, so....).

    I've been riding through the warm and cold and wind and everything else this bipolar weather has thrown my way. It's been interesting, I'll grant you that, but not the worst, either - in other words, it hasn't had me wanting to hop on Metro, a bus, or into my car. :)