Rides 9/23 & 9/24: the bike commutes I did on those days

For a few years, I rode a Surly Cross Check to work and if you asked me what kind of bike you should buy if you didn't have a bike and wanted a bike that you could ride to work and/or also do pretty much anything else with, I'd say to you 'why are you asking me? and why are you hiding in the bushes outside of my house?' but then before going back inside and phoning the authorities I'd say 'buy a Surly Cross Check because it's the kind of bike that you can ride to work and/or also pretty much do anything else with it' because I'm a polite person who answers questions, even when asked from the bushes, and also because it's my genuine and true opinion. I've had the pleasure of riding the Cross Check again for the past few days and I've taken it on the C & O Canal path and it's been a blast. I've temporarily removed the fenders and put on knobbier tires and I'm having an altogether wonderful time pretend I'm riding fast and with verve and adventuresomely, none of which is true, but in any case, at the end of the day, the thin chalky patina of kicked up dirt that clings to the black frame serves to belie the truth, allowing me to substitute my preferred, false version of 'extreme' off-road riding for the more banal truth of plodding along a glorified dirt path most frequented by the senior citizens  Ward 3 and their walking sticks and Irish Setters.

Normally when I ride this way, I end up taking a certain road up a certain hill and I can get to work with minimal incident because the hill that way isn't so bad. Yesterday, I tried a different road from normal and today I tried a different road from that because you start doing things to spice things up when you've bike commuted a long time in mild acts of rebellion against monotony and repetition. Lowell Street (no, not the Lowell Street by the Cathedral and not the Lowell Street in Wesley Heights, but the one over in the Palisades, between MacArthur and Loughboro) is a nasty stinger of a hill that was far more than I wanted, but these are the costs you pay when you decide to mix things up. Don't ride Lowell Street. Actually, strike that. Ride Lowell Street. Ride every hill. Just go up every hill once. Just to remind hills who's the boss. Oh man, now I'm thinking of a The Hills/Who's the Boss anachronistic crossover episode and I can't help but wonder if Mona would've steered Heidi clear of Spencer, but we'll never know because 1) those shows didn't have a crossover episode because they were on at different times and 2) one of those shows was totally fictional. The other starred Judith Light.

Oh, I'm going to interrupt whatever the hell that just was to wish a L'shana Tovah to any and all Jewish readers! Thanks for reading!

Yesterday on the way home, under the Whitehurst Freetway, I saw Chris and we chatted for a little bit. We also noticed that there was a police officer standing at the corner and he looked like he might be there to give tickets to bicyclists who declined to stop at the stop sign. There were many bicyclists who declined to stop at the stop sign and while I didn't see him issue any tickets, apparently he did after I left and that's the story about how declining to stop at stop signs directly in front of a police officer might get you a $25 ticket. Now, I'm not necessarily of the opinion that cyclists failing to stop and stop signs necessarily creates a clear and present danger and obviously a cyclist not following traffic laws (per physics) is objectively less dangerous than a driving doing so, though that doesn't mean it is entirely without consequence where there to be a collision. And secondly, I don't necessarily think it's the best use of police resources to deploy an officer to ticket bicyclists. But, with these caveats asides, I think I can safely safe that I've probably seen thousands of cyclists decline to stop at tens of thousands of stop signs and decline to stop at red lights and I think out of all of these people, I've seen one get a ticket. Because she did it directly in front of a police officer. So, in conclusion, even if you think it's really dumb for police to be ticketing bicyclists and even if you think that the idea of cyclists having to stop at stop signs is really dumb and even if you think OMG DRIVERS ARE SO MUCH MORE DANGEROUS AND YOU'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS (fun fact: Chris and I heard a cyclist scream as she stopped short to avoid a driver who pulled out of the parking garage without looking. He was not ticketed), if you don't want to risk getting a $25 ticket, you probably shouldn't decline to stop at a stop sign directly in front of a police officer.

I guess they're selling Sting tickets somewhere around here?
Today I rode Pennsylvania Avenue past the double-fenced White House to G Street and then eventually to the C & O. On the way home, I rode down Massachusetts to Q Street to 7th to E and eventually near and around Union Station to the Hill and then home. It started to rain on the way home and this was comeuppance for my fenderless lifestyle.

1 comment:

  1. I'm thinking of replacing my kick stand with a deployable artificial foot that I would use to touch the ground at every stop sign, allowing me to truthfully tell the ticketing officer that I put my foot down.