2/2/15

Rides 2/2: gusts

From WTOP and the Associated Press, a story about a potential White House intruder. It's blissfully short, though that only atones for so much. To wit, a selection:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Secret Service has arrested a man who climbed a bicycle rack outside the White House grounds Sunday, and he’s been charged with unlawful entry.
Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said the incident happened at a temporary bike rack on Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday afternoon. The rack is set back from the White House fence, making it unlikely that anyone could use it to get over.

Bicycle racks outside of the White House? THIS ISN'T COPENHAGEN, BARRY. WE REAL AMERICANS CAN'T PARK OUR SUVS OUT FRONT THE WHITE HOUSE BECAUSE OF SOCIALISM OR WHATEVER, BUT YOU'RE GONNA DO OBUMMER CARE FOR THOSE HIPPY ECO-WARRIOR BIKE WEIRDOS WHO DON'T EVEN PAY ROAD TAX AND WHO THIS ONE TIME CAME OUT OF NOWHERE AND ALSO ROLLED THROUGH A STOP SIGN. I mean, that wasn't exactly my reaction, but my outrage was still somewhat present, though not at the President's installation of bike parking which wouldn't rankle me at all. I'd actually be quite ok with it. It's the utter wrongness that bothers me because there are no bike racks outside of the White House and to suggest as much is thoroughly dumb. Here is what's outside of the White House:

That's a fence
Now, maybe you could confuse this fence with a comb rack. They do seem to have some design similarities:

a comb rack, the worst kind of bike parking

Both are horizontal-y. And they've got vertical elements. And they're metal. So, that's something. But they're very much different things.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe the White House, the home of the president and the epicenter of the governance of the American state, meant to supplement their security measures through the installation of outmoded, though utilitarian, bicycle parking and maybe DC bike commuters were being total morons by not locking their bikes up in such a prime location during the work day. Total morons! But I didn't know for sure and rather saunter up to what was clearly a fence outside the perimeter of another fence outside a highly securitized compound and lock my bike to it, I decided that I would do the prudent (yes) thing and ask one of the heavily armed Secret Service agents out front. So I did.

Me: "Excuse me sir, are these bike racks? Does anyone ever lock their bike to them?"
Him: "No. These are fences."
Me: "So they're not for bikes, right?"
Him: "No."
Me: "Ok, thanks"

World blown. I definitely thought they were bike racks. But I guess they're not bike racks. But does Brian Leary, Secret Service spokesman, think that they're bike racks? Do I need to push this issue past the rank-and-file to the higher-ups, who actually know that these are not just fences, but they're actually bike racks? Have the insidious forces of the Bicycle Lobby infiltrated the Secret Service? And do they know that the one thing that will definitely deter people from coming any closer is a sea of parked bicycles? Repulsive!

lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate

Or maybe they're just fences. And maybe, while it's fully possible to lock a bike to a fence, it's still not a bike rack and maybe we shouldn't call a fence a bike rack because it's not. And if anyone at the Secret Service thinks that a fence makes for good bike parking, it doesn't.

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Very windy on the way home. What's your favorite thing to scream into the wind? Mine is "GAAAAAH! WIND!" like it doesn't know its own name and needs to be reminded. Whatever you yell into the wind, it ends up behind you and if the wind changes then it might chase you, so be careful.

I inadvertently rode over the plastic base that once upon a time held up a long-missing flexpost. It's a two-inch nub and I didn't see it at all, mostly because I was looking over my shoulder as I moved from the L Street cycletrack before 12th street. On a different bike, it likely would've been disaster. On the Ogre, it was manageable. It's nice to have a bike that compensates for your ineptitude.

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad they're being called bike racks. I mean, there's no such thing as bad publicity, right? So this gets people thinking there are bike racks at the White House, and right up close. So maybe more people will ride a bike to the White House, expecting bike parking. And maybe they'll ask the nearest Secret Service person where the bike racks are. If enough people do that, maybe the Secret Service will decide, "You know, it would be easier to just install some bike racks rather than have to disappoint so many visitors to one of the most famous places on the planet by telling them there aren't any".

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  2. I like your optimism! But here's another scenario I can imagine. Guy walks up and says 'oh cool, bike racks!' And then he locks his bike to one. And then the Secret Service FLIPS OUT. And then bikes are banned from in front of the White House.

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  3. I try not to let reality get in the way of my bike fantasies.

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