Ride In 6/13: Nails from the Pharoahs


Not much more dispiriting than discovering a flat tire right as you're about to leave for work. I've had the Ogre for a few weeks now and I've had an evil curse on me for a few years now, so it's about right that this bike has finally been afflicted. I didn't examine the cause. I didn't attempt to repair it. I have patches, but no spare tubes. I was running a little late and didn't want to spend the time trying to diagnose and resolve the issue, especially since I didn't really think I could fix it anyway. I try not to get too upset about flat tires because if I did, given the frequency with which I get them, I would be perpetually upset. Flats, all kinds of flats, happen on all of my bikes. Maybe my house was built atop a former glass factory. Maybe I once accidentally ran over the woodland home of a series of magical elves and they've decided to avenge the loss of their former abode. Maybe I am just supremely unlucky. I don't know. Since it happens on each of my bikes, I can't blame one kind of tire or one kind of rim strip or tube. It's me and I've made peace with that. It's like the worst X-Men mutation ever. "Oh, you can shoot lasers from your eyes? Check this out- yeah, I've rendered this bike temporarily unusable. Yeah, it's my own bike and not the bike of our enemies or anything. Yeah, no, I don't really have another way to get around. What's that, Professor X? You'd like me to leave your special school. Lemme just get on my bike- oh wait, nevermind. Where's the bus again?"

I rode the Cross Check, my erstwhile commuter, and it felt very small compared to the beefy, ample Ogre. I felt hunched over, as if my knees would smack me in the face. Aside from the size difference, I was also riding on road pedals for the time in years and they were tight and I was mostly convinced that my inability to unclip in a timely manner would result in my falling down in a somewhat hilarious (or not) manner. I didn't, so that was nice at least. There's always the ride home.

Uneventful to Friday Coffee Club and then afterwards down G Street through Foggy Bottom. I rode with Rootchopper a little until we parted ways by Virginia Avenue and then for me it was down K/Water Street and up Wisconsin Avenue and for him it was either over the bridge and to work in Rosslyn or back down to his house to sit on the deck and drink beers.

The other funny thing about the Cross Check, which I had mostly forgotten, is that its rear derailleur is kinda messed up and needs replacing. Whoops. It shifted ok and didn't make too many scary grindy clacky noises, but I should probably get it taken care of sooner rather than later. I had put fixing it on the back burner since I didn't intend to commute on this bike any time soon, but you know, flat tires and such. I thought that the bike would feel a bit more springy since it's stripped down with no rack and no fenders and lighter tires and no coffee cup holder, but it didn't really feel much lighter than the very heavy Ogre and I think I attribute that to my own lack of energy lately. Bikes, so they say, aren't horses [note: while this is factually accurate, I'm not sure it's an actual saying. Nor should it be, really] and my bike doesn't go on its own, no matter how much barley and sugar cubes I give it. In fact, I think my bike mechanic would really prefer not to have to pick barley husks from the rear cogs. Live and learn, I guess.

At the intersection of Wisconsin and Massachusetts, I rode across the street in the crosswalk (I normally pull up on the sidewalk to get out of the way while waiting for the light to turn green) and I had a nearly very unpleasant experience with the front of a Mercedes, whose driver barreled it into the crosswalk, presumably in the attempt to make a (illegal there) right turn on red. I have no problems with the rule about right turns on red except for the rule itself, which is a terrible and anti-people idea. You cannot simultaneously prioritize the safe movement of people in crosswalks and the continued flow of car traffic through those same crosswalks. It just doesn't work.


  1. I know that location quite well. Drivers take the sign prohibiting them from turning on red as a personal affront to liberty and justice, which must be actively resisted.

  2. I didn't think you could do it, but you did. Nails from the Pharaohs, Mail from the Scarecrows, Snails from the Sparrows, Pails from the Barrows, Shale from the Tarots. What a fool I was to choose "mailboxes." But I didn't know, I didn't know! My hero.