If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll know that I've recently changed my route to work and no longer go through downtown, but instead skirt it by riding along the National Mall, which is America's Mall, but not the Mall of America, and there are benefits to this route, I guess, since it's a long stretch of normally empty road with few stop lights until 15th street and then a series of sufficiently wide, normally unpeopled paths until the other side of the Lincoln Memorial, where the Mall runs out. It's really not bad, even if you don't like looking at neoclassical buildings and obelisks and whatnot, and normally I take a tree-lined path from 17th Street to the Lincoln Memorial that puts the 'quaint' in 'that's a really quaint path' but today I diverged from my normal route and chose to ride along Constitution Avenue on the very wide sidewalk (path?) there, mostly because I don't think I've ever done this before and because I've seen other bike commuters do it and I thought that maybe they were onto something. I rode past the Federal Reserve. I rode past Constitution Gardens, which is a place that makes me sad. Is it supposed to make people sad? Are we supposed to think 'oh, constitutional governance. and a lake of some sort. what ennui I feel about these things,' because that's sort of the vibe that I get. Maybe it was just too grey today, but it hardly feels like a urban oasis(FUN FACT: Urban Oasis was the Gallagher brothers misguided and ill-received hip-hop album). Anyway, after you ride past that, you can cross 23rd Street and there's another path that goes for a ways and then the path goes up a hill towards Roosevelt Bridge and then becomes a sidewalk on that bridge but then (and I know this because I 1) used to live in the Old Dominion and 2) I tend to pay attention to any potential which way one might be able to ride a bicycle from one place to another) the sidewalk on the other side of the bridge just stops in the midst of some grass on the median between a couple of highways. There is no there there. But we've got a perfectly good path that turns into a sidewalk on a bridge that leads to nothing. And there's no signage anyway to suggest to anyone who might not know this that they shouldn't take the path to the bridge sidewalk because it will strand them. Now, I'm trying to decide which is the bigger 'fuck you': building the path that goes nowhere or not putting up a sign that tells people the path goes nowhere. I think it's the latter. You shouldn't build sidewalks that strand people. It's cruel. A sidewalk is a promise. Or should be.
I walked across some grass and cross the parkway and then took the regular path. Under the Whitehurst Freeway, I saw a police officer maybe writing a bicyclist a ticket for presumably failing to stop at a stop sign. Or maybe she was just writing down a paella recipe and was like 'here, you look like you might enjoy paella. Make sure you buy fresh prawns! I only have my ticket-writing notepad, but it is a really good recipe and I desperately want to share it with you!' Anyway, stop at stop signs if you don't want tickets for not stopping at stop signs. I have no advice on what to do for rebuffing unwanted paella recipes.
I also rode my bicycle home from work. I saw three people that I know from real-life and many other familiar faces that I only know from regularly bike commuting. I wonder if they know me from bike commuting too, or if I'm just overly stare-y at the people I pass. Although then maybe they know me as 'Creepy Overly Stare-y Guy.' What bonds we have forged.
I would really like it if my local grocery store (and all grocery stores) had a separate entrance to the parking lot just for bicyclists. This would uncomplicate my life in so many ways and de-stress my store trips tenfold. You can tell a lot about the character of a person based on how they handle parking their car in a grocery store parking lot. It's not a good scene and I'd like to opt out. If you own a grocery store conglomerate and happen to be reading this, thanks in advance.