On the way home, I was riding in the right lane downhill on Massachusetts Avenue and somewhere between Ward Circle and the intersection with Idaho Ave, a driver passed me in the next lane over at what I would have estimated to be about 60 miles per hour. I can't say for sure- it's just a guess and my handlebar mounted radar gun/net launcher (never ride your bike without a net launcher! What if another red panda escapes the zoo? Do you not want to be the hero whose handlebar net launcher returns the escaped animal to its proper and natural place, caged human captivity?)- but it seemed that he was driving very, very fast and far faster than the 'normal' 35 to 40 miles per hour that the speeding drivers go. He didn't pass me especially closely and I think there was at least three feet between us, but it was jarring and unpleasant nevertheless. I didn't say anything or even look over when I rode past him in my lane when he was stopped at the red light a few hundred feet up the road. What's there to say?
Really. Do I have any grounds to complain? Didn't I sign up for this? I mean, I'm the one who chose to ride his bike to work and I'm the one who should be well aware enough of how some people drive their cars. Shouldn't I just get over it because he gave me three feet and didn't crash into me and nothing really even happened?
I don't know. The thing about the current state of bike commuting, I guess, is that bicyclists who choose to ride to work are being asked to sign off on a social contract that desperately needs changing. There's a lot of "well, what did you expect?" to bicyclists who have the temerity to suggest that current conditions are less than ideal. Especially to those of us who are bicycling more by choice and not from a lack of other viable transportation options. You signed up for this. No one made you do it. Don't whine. If you can't handle it, don't do it. [This attitude doesn't just come from drivers. It's sadly the viewpoint of plenty of cyclists as well.]
Bicycling in DC is mostly fine and mostly boring and most of the conditions are safe enough and accommodating, even if not always deliberately so. It's get safer every year as more of us do it and as we slowly lurch to more bicycle friendly infrastructure. But a lot of the time, you're asked to ride three feet away from some drivers willing to go 60 and much like caged red panda, it doesn't feel natural and it certainly doesn't seem like it's in your best interest. I know that you can't always control for the actions of self-absorbed maniacs, but am I really supposed to be ok with road conditions that say, in effect, 'yup, you're gonna have to get over it"? You chose this. Did I?
East Capitol to Pennsylvania Avenue and wrong way through the parking lot that is the hyper-securitized Ellipse. Thereafter it was 17th to G. After coffee, I rode with friend of blog Jacques down G up then Water Street to Thomas Jefferson to M to Wisconsin and up the hill and eventually to work. The ride home was Massachusetts to 21st to L to 15th and then Pennsylvania and up another hill, through the Capitol grounds and down East Capitol. Tide goes in, tide goes out.
Have a great weekend everyone. I'm going to try to ride my bike, perhaps to tacos. Delicious, delicious tacos. Or what might pass for delicious tacos on the East Coast, a land of admittedly subpar tacos. Or maybe this is taco snobbery or maybe it's unwarranted taco humility. When did this become a taco blog? When was it not a taco blog?