My day started with coffee. Well, it always starts with coffee. But there was more coffee than usual, as Jesse, who I saw riding to work the other day, and I arranged to meet this morning at a coffee shop named Bourbon, where to the best of my knowledge, they neither serve Bourbon nor rule France in an absolutely monarchical kind of way. I had an americano. I had also bought a doughnut, but I didn't eat the doughnut until after I got to work. The doughnut had sprinkles. This is super hyper-specific doughnut blogging.
After coffee I rode up 22nd street to Massachusetts and as I turned on Massachusetts, I kicked free my chain somehow. I do not recommend this. It's one of more disrupting things you can do during a bike commute, even for as minor an inconvenience it is. The problem in re-chaining isn't so much summoning the technical expertise of putting the chain back on, but coping with the grossness of fingers begrimed (yes, begrimed) from touching the chain and yanking it back into place. I managed, somehow, to get the chain back into place without gunkifying (technical term) my entire hand and really, the bit of besmirchment on what I suppose are the fingers one would use for archery (I've only ever archered once. It was in middle school. I don't recall being especially successful. I can, however, recall many lines from Robin Hood: Men in Tights, though this provides little succor) wasn't nearly as bad as it could've bin. Is it possible that I'm inadvertently keeping a moderately clean chain? Could it be? I'll have to rectify this through serial neglect.
On the way home, I unlocked a lock that was locked to a fence by an ice cream shop and put it in my bag and took it home. This was not nearly as mysterious as I might have made it sound, since the lock, a combination Bordo lock, was left for me to pick up to test out by the very good people District Cycleworks. I had mentioned my curiosity about them on the twitters the other day and Matt saw it and offered me a chance to borrow one and so, now I'm borrowing one. It's pretty great so far. I sort of really love it. Anyway, I put the lock through its paces by locking and unlocking it in a number of different locking situations (30 feet under water, in a volcano, near bears- you know, the usual urban bike commuter situations) and render a verdict that I'm pretty much already ready to render having only used it to lock up by the grocery store, which is, that the lock is pretty neat and I want one.
Were you aware the Washington, DC has a ton of car traffic? I happened to stumble upon this a few years ago and decided to opt out of participating in it by riding my bicycle to work. I am lucky to have been able to have made this choice. Anyway, it's spring and there are tourists and this means TRAFFIC! It seems to really suck for drivers and people in buses and motorcoaches, but they're selfless enough to share some of the suck with those of us stuck on bicycles or just walking by blocking intersections and otherwise taking up a disproportionate amount of space [would you call 1 person taking up a few hundred square feet of space by choosing to travel alone in a motor car proportionate? I'm not sure I would] and generally doing their best to inhibit our movement that we may experience a certain degree of empathy with their plight. Anyway, it's still much faster to travel by bicycle, even in spite of the obstacles, and the irony is that if more people traveled by bicycle, then there'd be fewer people in cars and then drivers would be able to go faster and if drivers could go faster again, maybe then everyone would quit bicycling and get back in cars again where once more they would be stuck in traffic and blocking the movement of bicyclists. It's unfortunate.
Don't look over your shoulder when another bicyclist is right behind you. If you don't do it, maybe he's not really there. If you don't look, he's not there. But he's there and you can't tell if he's trying to keep up or if he's slowed down because he doesn't want to pass you. But don't look back. It's better to not know.