Rides 2/4: you didn't tell me not to tell you

Once, long ago, I thought, and maybe even wrote in this blog, that maybe it'd be a good idea to make a horn for your bike that instead of blasting the standard horn noise let loose one of the more memorable distilled tirades of tennis great John McEnroe, namely a "You canNOT be serious!" at drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and others (looking at you pogoists) who did thinks that we so unthinking and/or goofy that one (me) would have to question whether or not their transgression was some sort of absurd act of performance art rather than some mundane act of transportation dumbness. I did not make this horn. I still might. Ok, I won't. But what I will coin and gift to the bike commuting world is the McEnroe Quotient, which is based on the number of times during your bike commute that you observe completely ridiculous things and questions their, um, seriousness. This morning was a morning with a high McEnroe Quotient. Lots of pulling out from parking spots without looking and weirdly stepping off curbs and u-turns and turning from the center lane and just general unpredictable and unorthodox maneuvers that evoked more than one injection from me that was reminiscent of Johnny Mac.

In spite of this, it was actually quite an ok morning. Penn to 11th to R, which has a bike lane on one side of parked cars, but what if we decided to put it on the other side of the parked cars. I'd totally go for that. Massachusetts Avenue, which I rode after I finished riding R Street, has no bike lane to put on any side of parked cars, nor any parked cars once you get past the Islamic Center. Massachusetts Avenue there, however, becomes a long slow climb that slackens your pace to where you can easily look into all of the cars of all of the drivers stuck in traffic and see so many of them looking down at their phones. Phones are vastly more entertaining than driving. Or not driving.

This afternoon was warm and warm enough for me to decide to take the long way home. This involved the canal towpath,but first it involved me stumbling down a rocky path from the Capital Crescent Trail towards Clara Barton Parkway NW. Carrying my bike down the rocky path was the lesser of my troubles and that's saying a lot as I'm fairly weak in upper body strength and not super great at balancing. It was crossing the street to get to the bridge to get the towpath that proved more difficult than I initially anticipated. And here's why: at that time of day, the plan, as executed by the traffic lights and road signs, is to get as many drivers out of the District of Columbia as possible and this involves one-way streets and all green lights and no break for any morons who foolishly traipsed down a rocky path with the intention of crossing a street. I waited for a few minutes and I waited for a break in the traffic, which wasn't forthcoming. I waited some more and I thought 'ok, seriously, how many cars could possibly be driven out of DC at this time of day?' and then a taxi driver decided to turn from the wrong lane (I think) to go over the bridge and there was a momentary break and so I ran. I ran across the street a quick 8 steps with my bike on my right side and then I hoisted my bike over the guardrail and jumped myself over it and then I was on the other side and that's the story of how I crossed a street. Had I remembered that this was something I was supposed to do to get down to the canal towpath at the Chain Bridge instead of at the Arizona Avenue bridge maybe a quarter mile away, I would've just walked down the stairs at Arizona and not bothered with either the rocky path or the street crossing of DOOM. But I'll remember it next time. Or won't, depending on how long next time is from now.

So much mud along the canal. I guess that's why I wanted to ride on it. I kept telling myself that the mud wasn't a big deal and for the most part it wasn't. I stayed upright and only skidded a little and I alternated between puddles I would ride through and puddles I would avoid. There was little strategy in this. Anyway, I quite like riding through mud every so offer, just to remind myself how good I have it on the area's mostly terrible paved runs. Maybe I should ride in quicksand to remind myself how good I have it riding in mud and then to remind myself how good I have it riding in quicksand, I could ride in lava and then that'd be it for me. Surlys are sturdy, but lava trumps.

Everyone heretofore who has contented themselves running of a treadmill was out today running on the Rock Creek Path. There were no more runners by Ohio Drive and then I don't think I saw any more runners down in East Potomac Park, but I didn't do a full lap, so I'm sure I missed some. I mean, I don't know if I'd say I missed them. (zing). I took the Case bridge over the channel and then down eventually to G Street SW, which is just the most delightful out-of-place and out-of-time street. It feels very un-Washington. I try never to be nostalgist about built places (that's the Hungarian medievalist in me. Everything in medieval Hungary was destroyed about 4 times over (Mongols, Turks, Austrians, WWII) and you know what? It sucks. But you know what else? It happens. I mean, I don't expect Mongols to level any DC neighborhoods any time soon, but we could have a Bill & Ted situation and who knows, right?), but even though there are parts of SW that are just really deficient and bad mistakes of outmoded design thinking, I hope we can at least keep some of it. I got lost in there, but eventually found my way out via I Steet and up New Jersey and back to the Hill, the hill that is home.

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