Lovely morning in DC and clearly the bicyclists were ready for it as they poured forth from wherever and there were gobs of them coming from every which way, the way they sometimes do. Weather isn't the only determinant factor when it comes to the amount of cyclists commuting, but it's a big enough one to notice the difference between a cold and rainy morning and one that presages a sunny day with warm for October temperatures. Unfortunately, sometimes the exuberance of being back on the bike creates a headiness that leads to minor breaches of etiquette such as raciness (in that people want to race. Now I'm thinking about racey breeches, which are an entirely different thing) and an exuberance that translates into too-close passing. It's best to ignore what you can and forgive what you can't ignore. Bicycling is EXCITING and sometimes people get swept up in it. It's ok.
If you read yesterday's non-post, you might have read the link to Brooklyn Spoke's response to some tired "cars go VROOM" tripe in the New Yorker. Now, obviously, cars go soooo much VROOMer in New York, but it led me to think about Vision Zero in the context of our mayoral election and I wrote something about it in Greater Greater Washington: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/24692/vision-zero-wont-be-easy/
This election aside (one week!), I'm worried that saying "I support Vision Zero!" is poised to become an empty phrase. OF COURSE, no one wants anyone to die a traffic death. Traffic deaths are indiscriminate and awful. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that they're saying it. Frankly, I'm glad that safer streets is a thing candidates feel compelled to support. But my question remains: what are you going to do about it?
Rode home, stopped at the fancy Safeway on Wisconsin Avenue. I'm old enough to remember when it was a slightly less fancy Safeway. Then I rode through residential East Georgetown, which might be my absolutely favorite place in the whole city to ride my bike. I can't say why exactly, but I'm just besotted by it. Probably nostalgia.
Saw a muffin on a recycling bin, took a picture:
It's a metaphor.
[Nope, I'm not gonna explain it. Just gonna not mention it any more and see if you're willing to nod along because honestly, I have no idea if a muffin on a recycling bin is a metaphor. But maybe you do! And far be it from me to rob you of that insight!]
Guy pulled up next to me at Pennsylvania and 15th and the first thing he said was "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed." I was super grateful he had a child on the back of his bike and he wasn't actually talking to me. That is not a conversation I was prepared to have.
I judge myself on how well and expeditiously I cope with/detour around impromptu street closures, of which there are many in DC, because of POTUS and FLOTUS and motorcades and the state security apparatus and whatnot. Pennsylvania was blocked from 6th to 3rd and the cyclists in front of me turned left at 6th and so did I and maybe we all biked for half a block on the wrong side of the road (sorry!) and up Indiana/D and then we split apart and I continued through the scary, near pitch black underpass beneath DOL. I didn't plan to ride over that way today and I can't say that I was really excited about having the opportunity foisted upon me, but an unplanned street closure is the ultimate test of the urban cyclist's mettle and guile. If you do it well, you feel great. If you screw it up, you'll never feel worse. On a bike in the city, you are almost always helpless to the circumstances around you, but on a bike in the city you're almost never helpless in the circumstances around you.