Ride In 3/20: One of these things

The long, cold, pointless winter has temporarily come to a close and I rode today without gloves for the first time since the last time I forgot my gloves. I had recently replaced my bicycle chain and have been joined on my last couple of commutes by the clickety clacks that a new chain makes when paired with an old cassette. Apparently, they wear down together [like any good couple really] and the partnership between the new and old was clanky and jerky [I believe Clanky and Jerky were also an old vaudeville clown partnership from the 1890s]. It was unsurprising, though I hoped that maybe I could avoid it, and I decided that I would ride gingerly (i.e. wearing a red wig) to a bicycle shoppe (I only shoppe at shoppes because I am as committed to leading an 1890s lifestyle as possible) to purchase a new cassette (the grouping of rear cogs, not an old Milli Vanilli album- I have those on vinyl. You think I lie? Well.) so that it would better accompany my new chain and quiet the horrific noises and lead to an overall better bicycle riding experience.

My legs and feet looked like this:

Got these shoes from the Clanky and Jerky fan shoppe
I don't know what inspired this picture, but I took it and I figure I should publicly confess to it rather than allow it the live on within my phone until months from now until, in one of my period mass deletions of pictures, I come across it and mistake it for one that perhaps had some significance that I had since forgotten.

It was fine going on East Capitol, where I was passed at different red lights along the way by riders of various stripes and styles, including a gentleman on a xtracycle and a woman on some variation of a Jamis Commuter who cut me off making a rolling right turn at a stop sign rather than stopping and allowing me to pass by unfettered. Something something birds of a fetter something something. I really try to not let myself be fettered or pestered by the unthinking rudenesses that sometimes happen around me, especially those undertaken by my fellow cyclists, but the "roll through a stop sign to turn and cut me off me in the process" manoeuvre (spelled this way for our British reader(s) for some reason) I find to be particularly irksome. I was irked and fettered (this sounds like it should be illegal), but I didn't say anything because 1) saying anything ever is almost never effectual and 2) what is there to say? "Excuse me madame. I find myself irked and fettered by your manoeurve and I do not mean to be quarrelsome, but I demand satisfaction!) I mean, obviously you wouldn't say that. You could pretty much say anything other than that and it would be much better, but I still contend you shouldn't say anything and just get over it because if you can't find a way to muster some patience in your daily doings, you shouldn't ride a bicycle- primarily because it's slow, but secondarily because I'd like to think that the act of bicycling has the capacity to bring out our better selves and not our worse ones. But this is just a theory, or more properly, an aspiration.

I parted ways with the Xtracycle guy somewhere near the Capitol and rode to Penn to 15th. There were a handful of other cyclists, but like maybe the hand of smallish person with proportionally sized hands. What I'm trying to say is that there were "some" but not "many" bicyclists thereabouts. There were stacks of cyclists 8 deep on 15th at a few intersections and that's where you could tell the allegedly warmer weather was luring the riders, much like itsy bitsy spiders. I wonder if the guy who wrote that song was a bike commuter. Perhaps it's all a metaphor. Anyway, I heard they're putting in spidertracks thanks to the newly adopted Complete Spouts policy.

I visited the Bicycle Rack, a shoppe which opens early, and they replaced my cassette right quick. They also told me that I installed my chain wrong, so whoops. I guess I missed running it through some gap nearish and betwixt the hanger and now I'm wondering if, had I installed it correctly, I needed to replace the cassette at all. Let's say yes. Let's all just agree that I needed to replace it. Anyway, commuter benefits sawed the cost of the operation down to a trifle and, while it took me a bit to layer all the custard and fruit and sponge cake, I was happy to do it and leave with a vastly better operating bicycle and the belief that I won't need a new chain or new cassettes for thousands and thousands of more miles.

R Street to Massachusetts Avenue to the hill on Massachusetts Avenue which I haven't really climbed all winter. I don't know if it was the new bike parts or the incipient spring weather or the fact that I've been riding up the more technically challenging (steeper?) hills on Wisconsin and New Mexico Avenues all winter or that I've been off the bike all week, but I felt really good going up that hill and I'm pretty happy that I felt good. I also plan to feel good about riding down that hill a little later. It's a good day for bicycling.

1 comment:

  1. I'm the Xtracycle guy (it's blue) and there's no way I could have passed you at a red light on E. Capitol. I don't run them. It's entirely likely that I could have passed you between the lights. After I drop my kids off at school, the weight lessens and I tend to go faster. Haven't seen the Brompton lately. You still riding it?