I missed the worst of it this morning. Mostly by chance. I totally would've ridden in the cold rain. I would've embraced it. I would've loved it. I would have grinned from ear to ear. I would've ridden faster and stronger and with more even pedal strokes. I would've sung and joyously shrugged at the motorists as I gleefully passed by. I would've arrived to work 10 minutes faster than usual, buoyed by a super-speed I would've discovered in the near-freezing December rain. I would've grown two inches taller. I would've probably saved upwards of five stranded kittens, kittens stuck in trees and maybe in burning buildings, buildings that burned in spite of the cold rain. I would've had a great time. Guaranteed. Or maybe these are just the things you can assuredly say when circumstances allow you to not ride to work in an unforgiving rain.
I did ride in later, when it was still cold and the roads were wet, but without the sogginess. It felt like slow going. East Capitol, down the hill, and along Pennsylvania Avenue, which was quiet and easy. I rode past the White House. I don't think I looked at it. I normally try to look at it. I rode up Pennsylvania on the other side, which struck me as very wide. I mean, it's only 8 lanes. Barely any room for anyone, really. If people in DC fretted about the width of roads the same way they did about the height of buildings (and these things are related), then we'd really be onto something. But, nope. A street 100 feet horizontal is barely adequate whereas a building 100 feet vertical is an ungodly abomination. Maybe we should compromise on roads and buildings that are 50 feet and built on 45 degree angles. That seems reasonable.
Sometimes I try to imagine what kind of bike commuter I'd be if I didn't ride my exact bike commute. What if it were 2 miles shorter? What if it were 4 miles longer? What if some streets with bike lanes lacked them and what if others had protected cycletracks instead of white paint? What if all the roads were half as wide and all of the buildings were askance? The thing about hypotheticals is that they make a hypo out of you and theticals. Wait, that's not right.
It was still cold on the way home. Massachusetts to 23rd to L and this was the part of my bike trip when I started musing about what my attitude about bike commuting would be if I never worked 8 miles away on top of a hill and just worked closer to the city center. 15th and then I turned left on H because I thought that the White House plaza was closed, but I don't think it actually was. H was empty, as was 15th and then Pennsylvania, both of drivers and bicyclists. I remember riding along Pennsylvania and forgetting the last time I saw another cyclist. It was one of those nights.