Rides 12/10: Nowhere to run

Took off for work later than usual this morning and had a meeting before coming in and found myself riding across town on the I Street SE/SW bike lane towards Maine Avenue and the construction project at the wharf that is the construction of The Wharf, which I believe is a wharf of some sort. And by wharf, I think I mean some buildings and maybe also an actual wharf. But I think its wharfiness will be a secondary concern and the buildings will be the primary concern. Anyway, the result of the construction is that the driveway/road/bike route to the fish market is totally blocked and in order to get over that way you need to ride on Maine Avenue, but there's no good place to cross and something of a grassy median in the middle and so I popped my bike up onto the grassy median and crossed the street again. I'm not sure there's a better way to do this and since, generally speaking, I'm not the biggest fan of getting off my bike and lifting it onto grassy medians to cross the street, I think I can pretty much cross off from my list riding anywhere near the The Wharf, the Fish Market, or the interim Anacostia Riverwalk Trail for the next few years. Neat.

The wind was a jerk. I'm pretty used to going pretty slowly, but along Ohio Drive I think I established a new slowness record through a combination of a nasty headwind, the lumbering Ogre, cycling street clothes and (I think) a dragging brake pad. I "fixed" my brakes this morning (the ones that wouldn't stop) and perhaps I over-corrected so instead of failing to grip, the pad rested against the rotor and that's not really an ideal situation. I think I 'fixed' it again at work and the ride home did seem smoother. There's a learning curve when you adopt any new kind of bike technology and my curve with disc brakes has been pretty steep. For the non-experts out there, disc brakes are when you throw your old CDs between the spokes of your tires and your slowed down by shattered reflective plastic and liner notes. The stopping power is pretty good (way better than MP3 brakes), but I'm not as used to adjusting them as with caliper brakes and my minor failures and inability to stop fidgeting with things results in the sometimes hilarity of trying to power through extra drag. Oh well. It was slow going.

The District of Columbia, like other places, has had a rash of protests lately and primarily, these protests manifest themselves with bands of people marching in the middle of the street, normally accompanied by a few police officers. They chant and they walk and sometimes the protesters block intersections. There's probably a lot you can say about this, especially in the 'what do these protests mean in the context of public space? what do these protests say about urbanism? what do these protests say about power and streets and car culture?' variety, but as far as bike commuting is concerned, I would say that in my experience, protests and rolling street closures and blocking lanes and all that, has really affected bike commuting at all. Bike commuters are kinda like cockroaches and they're kinda like a leak in your roof- water's gonna get through one way or another. Maybe it won't be the most direct path and maybe you won't notice it at first, but eventually there'll be a puddle on the floor. Better get a bucket.


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