Rides 2/5 and 2/6: Saturday moning

I guess there's not too much to say about these. Otherwise, I probably would've already got to them. On one of the rides, I found myself being pushed into a pothole, having been giving no real room to maneuver on account of an onrushing driver and a parked car. It was a deep pothole. More of a trench really. Maybe it was a mine. I think there were dwarves in it. It's always a curious thing to go into (and hopefully) out of a deep gape in the road because, depending on the speed at which you're traveling, you might not realize if you're going to make it out ok until after you either do or don't. Heinenberg's Pothole- when you're in the pothole, infinite potential scenarios could potentially play out and only when you first go 'oh shit' is one actually chosen and even then. Or something like that.

I did make it out ok because the Ogre eats potholes, but I could've equally imagined a scenario in which the hole ate me, especially if I were on a different bike with less gargantuan tires. That we keep our roads this way is sad. We're not even really at the end of winter, so there will be even more time for the combination of precipitation, cold, and the repeated drubbing of tens of thousands of pounds of motor vehicle traffic to further eat away at the roads and, thanks to the food chain, have those roads eat bicyclists.

Every bike blog, at those those set in urban contexts, is, to a large extent, about cars and driving. They're less characters in the story than the setting itself. So, living among them, like Jane Goodall or whoever, I tend to think about drivers at their foibles quite a lot and one of the things I've been thinking about lately is whether or not drivers recognize that their cars actually take up any space. I'm not entirely sure. I saw a guy stopped in a lane right by the entrance of the Georgetown Safeway with her blinkers on and watched the line of other drivers form behind him. First two, then soon six and then me. And no one did anything at first. And then the honking started. And continued. The guy wasn't in a parking space and parking doesn't technically become legal until 9:30 (though this is frequently ignored). He was just kind of there. And I'm not totally sure it occurred to him that his being there reduced the amount of space for everyone else on the road by half. Maybe he did and didn't care, but I think in a lot of situations, there's just an utter lack of cognizance that cars take up space and that it's more space than a driver, were he just standing there by himself, would take up. I think this is particularly striking to me, a mostly bicyclist, because I've become hyper-aware of how much space I need/take up on the road. It's not much, but back when I was less comfortable with the idea of bike commuting, I distinctly remember feeling paranoid that I was taking up too much of it and as a result 'blocking a lane' and 'slowing down traffic.' (To turn a phrase on its head, when you're on a bike, you're not blocking traffic, you are traffic.) That paranoia leads to bad choices and results in cyclists tying to take as little of the road as possible, sometimes because they can (simply not needing as much) and sometimes because they feel like they have to. Forget that.

It's rare, I think, that a bicyclist who has done it for a little while doesn't know exactly where he is on the road and how much of the roadway he's attempting to use. "Doesn't that darn biker know he's in the middle of the lane?" Yes. Very much so. That's the whole point.

It's supposed to be warm this weekend. Have fun if you go out on fun rides. Stop for milkshakes if that's you thing.

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