Rides 9/10 and Ride In 9/11: Moose

It's the time of the year that's on the eve of the time of the year when I start getting ragey about bicyclists not using lights at night. So, get excited for that. As always, this offer stands: if you do not own lights for your bike and cannot afford lights for your bike, I will buy you lights for your bike. Please email talesfromthesharrows@gmail.com. I am willing to put my money where my soon-to-be ragey mouth is. Lights are too important to not have.

I remember the ride in yesterday as uneventful. It was a straight shot along the Mall and when you catch the lights, you can really make a go of it. Of course, this means something like sustained pedaling for more than a block and that's utterly exhausting.

I went up Wisconsin in the morning and came down it in the evening. There's a mildly thrilling view from Book Hill of the Kennedy Center and the world beyond that always makes me happy. The conditions on the road for bicyclists are suboptimal and I would recommend that 9 out of 10 times you take the better bike routes through residential Georgetown instead of along the commercial strip. But 1 out of 10 times, I recommend the other way around. Of course, my advice being what it is, you should ignore it and do what you want.

I rode through Washington Circle, which is designed to ensure that all passers-through are obligated to stop and pay due deference to George Washington and his statue. It's not just a traffic mess. It's deliberate. Yes, sure. It's another place best (and rather easily) avoided by bicycle. I guess the recurring theme of this ride was 'poor choices,' which itself was an homage to George Washington's time in the French and Indian War (which was an important 18th century military conflagration and not just the world's most lopsided cricket match).

This morning I wasn't much up to riding to work, so I decided to take the Brompton to the metro. Along Massachusetts, I was passed by another bike commuter and I just got bad vibes coming off of him, like he was resentful that I was on a clown bike and wearing normal people clothes and not on a proper bike wearing proper bicycling clothes. I'm relatively confident that I'm making this up, but do you ever occasionally just get a feeling that other bike commuters are judging you? I get this feeling all of the time and not just because they hold up score cards as they ride by. Judge not, lest ye be judged and all that. There's no wrong way to bike commute (except by driving, which is the most wrong way to bike commute) and it seems foolish to mistake the paltriness of the percentage of us who do it regularly as exclusivity.

At my Metro destination, the escalator was broken so I ended up carrying the folded bike up one of the longer escalators in the system. I did make it to the top eventually, but for a while, I thought I was never going to make it and would have to live permanently underground and aspired to become the 37th most popular mole-person blogger in DC. Good thing I made it. The ride down Nebraska wasn't terrible. One close-ish pass.

I won't be riding to work or blogging on Friday or Monday (please don't cry), so see you Tuesday. But before I peace out, here's some info about a Kidical Massing event that you might want to know:

There are those times in life when two forces rocket towards each other, only to meet in the middle with an incredible explosion of AWESOME CUTENESS and CUPCAKES. On Sunday, September 14th, the incredible adorability of Kidical Mass Arlington will cross the bridge and join forces with the amazing delightfulness of Kidical Mass DC to ... circle the Washington Monument. And eat cupcakes. It will be awesome.

When: Sunday, September 14, 10:00am (roll out 10:15am)

Meet & End : LBJ Grove, on the Pentagon side of the wooden bridge (Right by the Columbia Island Marina)

Parking: Either in the Columbia Island Marina / LBJ Memorial parking lot, accessible from the southbound GW Parkway OR in the LBJ Grove Parking lot accessible from Boundary Channel Drive on the Pentagon Reservation.

Route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/5725066

This ride will be long -- 3+ miles EACH WAY, but it will be awesome, and there will be a break in the middle. We'll meet at Columbia Island Marina at10am, bike across the Memorial Bridge, meet our friends and cupcakes, meet, eat and be merry, then return via the 14th Street Bridge.


  1. I have lights and can afford lights but they have dead batteries and every time I walk into my house, any and all thoughts of "need to replace batteries" are immediately wiped out. And rekindled as soon as I get on my bike the next morning. So far I haven't been caught at night without lights, but the streak won't last forever. Hopefully before then I will retain the memory long enough to dig out the spare batteries in my desk drawer.

    Also, I was drinking a boozy milkshake on the patio of Burger Tap & Shake the other day and was just mesmerized by the incredibly awful driving in Washington Circle. It was a pretty good way to spend the evening, actually. Awful to participate in, but entertaining to watch in the way that car crashes (or near misses) are captivating. Plus the police busted someone in the circle park, though I don't know why.

  2. I used to have a similar problem, but then I invested in two things: rechargable batteries and USB lights. Now obviously it doesn't help if you forget to keep these charged, but it was at least a step in the right direction