Rides 10/15: Quaking Aspen

I biked a box across to town. In the box was another box and in that box were shoes that were one size too big. It's not the first box I've biked across town. I'll bike others, too. It's not such a bad thing to strap a cardboard box to your rear rack and bike it 8 miles across town, even though there's probably somewhere closer to drop it off, because biking a cardboard box across town teaches you some valuable lessons about how drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists react to someone biking a cardboard box across town. And the valuable lessons about this is that neither drivers, pedestrians or other cyclist seem to care that you've got a cardboard box strapped to the top of your rear rack. No one honks, disapprovingly or otherwise. No jaywalker halts himself agog at the corrugation. Not a single cyclist once stopped and asked me where I got that 'sweet cardboard trunk bag.' It's an utterly unremarkable thing to bike a cardboard box with a shoebox with shoes inside of them 8 miles across the Capital Of The Free World and it will not change your life. It will not teach you a valuable lesson about These Modern Times or instill in you some virtue that you couldn't otherwise. Depending on the cardboard box (if the contents of the box are particularly heavy or if the box is very large and catches the wind in a certain way), it might slow you down a bit, but this particular box was just a regular size box and the shoes were of normal weight for shoes, so I don't think I suffered in any particular way. Sometimes you just have to bike a box across town and you do and it's not a very big deal and living a banal boring life by bicycle is not only conceivable, but likely.

It didn't rain this morning. If it did and if my cardboard box was full of sea monkeys, oh man, that'd've been nuts. Note: if transporting a cardboard box full of sea monkeys by bicycle, please put that box inside of a trash bag or some other kind of waterproof container. Also, who you sending those sea monkeys to? Huh? What's you deal? What's that about? That's kinda weird. People are gonna notice that. Especially if it rains. 

I rode through the city. I took 15th to M Street and there I saw this:
#waroncars and all that.

Hey, do you like asides? Ones that interrupt what little narrative there is during these posts? Well, did you know that Washington City Paper still lets me write Gear Prudence? The new one.

Saw at least two drivers 'misunderstand' red arrows on M. Or perhaps the drivers were bulls and they were like "Oh yeah? Well, I'm definitely gonna charge that way then!" Unlikely, yes, but why do they call it a cattle drive? If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: we need to hire teams of gauchos to patrol our streets and enforce traffic laws. There are worse ideas.

I was expecting torrential rains on the way home, but there weren't. It barely drizzled and I was happy for it. There were puddles (there was torrential rain earlier in the day) and I rode through those puddles because whimsy.

Mass to 21st to L to 15th. This way has become rote and I might want to try something new. It's not bad. The L Street Cycletrack, for its faults, probably has the highest (speed x safety) score of the few different routes across town. Pennsylvania is faster, but there's no bike facilities. Q has a regular bike lane, but is slower and slightly less direct. I guess you have to pick your battles. Choice is great, but paralyzing.

Let's say that you're nearing the top of a hill and there's someone in front of you who's just about to crest that hill and it looks like, if you continue your pace, you're about pass them right before the top of the hill. Should you slow down and let them get to the top first because passing them 'at the line' makes you seem like kind of a jerk? Should you not let the perceived offense of getting to the top of a hill before someone else cause you to alter your behavior because "who cares?" Should you link arms and triumphantly ride to the top of the hill together? Should you wrestle with the etiquette surrounding this issue nearly every day or should you outsource this problem to a local bicycle advice columnist? I find the whole 'politics' of hills complicated. Ironically, this sort of thing happens to me most on Capitol Hill, which might even make the politics even more complicated. In conclusion, take the bus.

There's a segway commuter I see sometimes on East Capitol. I really want to know how she decided to become a segway commuter, if there's some segwayist version of Friday Coffee Club, if it's a special commuting segway, how far she goes, etc. I just have so many questions that I dare not ask. At least not to her. It seems impertinent. I find that there's something very intentional about choosing to commute a certain way and you don't choose to commute by segway without having really thought about it (like bike commuting, for the most part). It's just novel, that's all. But so was bike commuting once not so long ago, so who knows.

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