Rides 8/5, 8/6 and 8/7: Forms

When I don't write daily, I tend to forget the details, salient and otherwise, of the things that happen on my bike commutes. After awhile, they all tend to blend together. I can tell you a few things that didn't happen. It didn't rain, for example. I didn't pick up any flat tires. I didn't have to fend off an army of giant space bugs, sent on a mission from their home planet Xanfor VII to invade the Earth and conquer humanity. I'd say that of all the things that didn't happen, that last one was my favorite.

I've been riding along the Mall in the morning and through the city at night. I've begged off the park for the past few mornings. Foliage is nice, but we're not exactly the best of friends these days. Due to a gardening mishap (namely, gardening itself), I have the current misfortune of a poison ivy rash. It hasn't affected my bike commuting, but it has made me want to spend less time around greenery. The twitter hashtag #notallivy trends in my timeline.

I remained impressed with the ever-increasing number of bicyclists on the road, even in August when a lot of DC clears out. With fewer cars, it's kind of like being a kid in a candy store. DC should aspire to having August-level car traffic all year round. That would be a laudable goal. I would laud that.

For the third week in a row, the Washington City Paper has published my Gear Prudence column, in which I try to offer serious advice in a serious way about serious bicycling issues. It's all very serious. The week I wrote about fraught interactions at intersections and also about the clothes you might want to wear or not wear while cycling. I'm glad that someone asked about cycle attire because I find issues of self-presentation to be super-fascinating. In the end, I told the questioner to wear whatever he wants, but now I'm kinda having second thoughts about it. It's not very good advice. Most people dress terribly. So, my new advice would be to wear what other people want you to wear. Pack a lot of changes of clothes- it's likely that opinions will vary along your route. Costumes changes aren't easy, but you're the one who chose to ride a bicycle and you should really try to conform to expectations of others as much as possible.

Now, as for the issue of wearing bike clothes while biking to a date and then changing when you get there, I see some potential pitfalls. Some pitfalls:

1. Changing and freshening up in the restaurant bathroom might be inconvenient. And there are barely any phone booths anymore, so it's not like you can Superman it, even if you wanted to. And then you'll have your bike clothes in a bag and what if they accidentally spill out of your bag at some point. "Nice chamois" your date might say. Or he/she might just look horrified.

2. What if your date beats you to wherever you're meeting and he/she sees you lycra-clad? Are you prepared for that? Will that just lead to an awkward conversation about your weird bikey lifestyle?

3. If you need to flee your date for some reason (I don't really know what reason would precipitate this, but let's assume this happens), would you be so out of habit in riding in regular people clothes that you can't make a quick getaway? If you have to change back into your bikey clothes, won't that slow you down?

4. I don't really have a 4. Honestly, 1 through 3 aren't that great either, so I might just retreat back to my original answer of "wear what you want." But maybe ride to your date in your date clothes? That doesn't seem to onerous, right? And maybe slightly less complicated? 

Anyway. No commute to work today, but I did ride to coffee and then from coffee to a different coffee shop from which now I write. Next up, I think coffee maybe. Oh, also between coffee shops, I rode to a different coffee shop (in an alley), but that place HAD NO BIKE PARKING and so I didn't stay there. Get bike parking, coffee shop in the alley! This isn't very complicated.

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