Rides 3/18 and Rides 3/19: sameness

It's been cold the past two mornings. Not cold for March, but still colder than I want it to be. It might even snow tomorrow, but let's keep tomorrow's problems in the future and dwell on the problems of the past few days, which, conveniently, are already over. Problems included:

- the aforementioned cold

- the lack of bike parking at Stachowskis, where I stopped to pick up sandwiches for dinner (and, as it turns out, today's lunch). I locked up to the bus stop sign and that's fine in that it gets the job done, but I always feel unwelcome at businesses that don't have actual bike parking. This didn't stop me from buying a giant meatball sandwich, but it also didn't stop me from mentioning to the person that sold me that sandwich that the shop should have bike parking. I will continue to mention it to them each time I purchase a sandwich there. In fact, if I have to buy a giant delicious meatball sandwich every single day for the next three months and thereby mention that they should get a bike rack each day for three months, I am willing to fully commit myself to this cause.

-I ended up on 14th Street after L Street on a stretch through downtown that doesn't have a bike lane. It is essentially pointless to try to ride a bicycle on 14th Street through downtown during rush hour. This is because we've given over the entirety of the road space to cars and then at rush hour, we fill the entirety of that space with cars, and then we have six lanes of cars and nowhere for a bicyclist to fit. So, I ended up waiting in line and/or riding illegally on the sidewalk where I thought I could do it without being too much of a jerk. Long story short: convert all of the roadway to six lanes for cars, fill with six lanes of cars, and then you not only have impeded the way for drivers, but also for bicyclists. I think there's an obvious solution: a seventh lane for cars!

- "I'm not here to make friends" is the cri de couer of the reality show contestant, but it's also my mantra in the morning, especially as it relates to when a bike commute pulls up right next to me and we're like 3 inches away and I refuse to look over because I fear that if I turn my head, even a fraction, our noses will touch, that's how close we are. I love bike commuters. But I will start eating garlic for breakfast if you don't back off a little, ok?

- Chainsaws. There's a thought experiment I do sometimes and it goes like this: what if instead of a driving a car, you were walking, but you were carrying a chainsaw. And that chainsaw was on. Would you round the corner without looking? Would you go so fast that you couldn't stop in time if something unexpected happened? Would a non-chainsaw holder be expected to wear a reflective vest to alert you to his presence? Or would the expectation be that since you're the one holding a chainsaw, you'd kinda be responsible for not just wildly flailing it around and losing control of it. Sure, a chainsaw is powerful. Sure, a chainsaw is a useful tool with a valid and important purpose. I wouldn't begrudge anyone chainsaw use. But if someone's chainsaw 'jumped the curb' and 'accidentally' cut off someone else's limb, would we all just like 'yup, chainsaws. what can you do?' Or might we think that the operator of the chainsaw bears some responsibility for ensuring that this doesn't happen? And if and when it does, might we say 'hey, this is a real problem!'

So, those were the problems. They weren't that bad, even for problems. Bike commuting remains the best.

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