Rides 1/13: it's still winter

Another cold one. No, not a colloquialism for 'one more beer, barkeep.' Just one more day in a string of days called winter. No rain or snow, but we might get that tomorrow. Just another cold one.

Usual route to work, except I left the Ogre at home. I took the sometimes stealthy and fenderless Cross Check, equipped with fun cream tires, a pair that helps give the bike an aura of earnest goofiness that I really enjoy. Earnest goofiness might as well be written in Latin on my personal crest. Or in pig latin.

Came up to a law enforcement officer sternly telling a taxi driver to not park in the 15th street cycletrack and this stern warning meant that the cab driver couldn't leave the cycletrack that he shouldn't have been parked in and so at least 3 bicyclists in the other direction and me had to ride in the road, around both the taxi and the law enforcement vehicle and while I appreciated the effort to sternly scold the taxi driver for driving and parking where he ought not, doing so exacerbated the situation by prolonging his infraction. I'm happy that the cab driver was being scolded. I'm unhappy that the scolding meant that he kept blocking the lane. But maybe it's best to think of it as an investment. 2 minutes extra of a lane blocked in the context of learning the lesson to never block the bike lane again doesn't seem so bad. Let's just hope it pays dividends.

M Street across town and over the creek into Georgetown and rather than taking M to Wisco, I turned up 28th street, a quiet residential street with stop signs at each corner that's barely wide enough for the passing of two cars (since there's parking on both sides. Minus the parking, it'd be amply wide for the passing of three cars, but I don't even know how that would work). It's not bad for a cyclist, though it's uphill, but this is the part of town that has hills and there's no real getting around that. I rode up the hill stop sign to stop sign and for a couple of blocks I was behind another guy on a bike until he turned. The block before he turned the driver who was in front of me but behind him turned left in a manner that seemed both hasty and exasperated. I was passed more than once and more than once too closely by drivers who couldn't be bothered to wait until there was room to pass me with more room or who simply didn't care to. And I guess this is the paradox of cycling on quiet residential streets like 28th. They aren't main roads meant to be plied with lots of car traffic, so in that way you'd think they'd be perfect for the pokey bike commuter. But because they're not main roads, they draw to them like moths to flame the kinds of drivers who think 'SHORT CUT!' or "BACK WAY!' or 'CUT THROUGH!' and that they've 'discovered' some kind of clever way of "beating traffic" by going off the beaten path. And these drivers, convinced of their own cleverness and committed to the notion that they are outsmarting the suckers who stuck to the main routes, are quite an impatient lot. "Don't you know, Mr. Bicyclist, that this is my cut-through, my secret passage, my way to get ahead of all of those drones, those suckers, those chumps who aren't as clever as I am? And you're in my way! And you're ruining my plan!" Quiet residential streets are great for cycling so long as they're empty. But that's true of big commercial streets too.

I bought some Turtle Fur to cover my neck. I didn't even know turtle's had fur. I guess they don't anymore. Quite nice. All the warmth of a scarf with none of the wasteful length.

Can you anticipate if the ride that awaits you is going to be fraught? I think you might be able to, but it also be something of a self-fulling prophecy. But even more than that, it's mostly just like Empire Strikes Back. Bike commuting is pretty much like going into that dark side cave on Dagobah. You go in with your lightsaber, you're just going to to end up beheading an evil version of yourself. More wit and wisdom in my forthcoming self-help book " Bike Commuting and Star Wars and You" by J.J. Abrams. (That guy does everything.)

Pulled up next to a driver blasting Alanis Morisette's "Ironic" Was that ironic though? Not really. But "traffic jam when you're already late" seems like a pretty common thing for drivers, so that's something

L, 15th, Pennsylvania and up the hill on the Senate side for half the hill until a driver was coming down the other way (FUN FACT: you can only salmon up the Capitol driveways. Everyone does it anyway), so I bailed to Constitution, taking that to First and then East Capitol. I might have beaten the guy who was to this point in front of me up the hill, but it's also possilble that he beat me. I easily lose track of these sorts of things because they aren't actually very important.

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