(actually, before I write this, I sorta wonder if I haven't already written about it. If I have and you remember, I apologize both for that and for this big run-up, which would be insanely anti-climatic.)
Every day I ride past the speed camera and I'm in one lane and there's a driver heading down the hill in the other lane and I'm between him and the speed camera and we're both heading downhill though maybe him faster than me and I think "what if I'm blocking the speed camera from being this speeding speeder a ticket? WHAT IF THAT?"
And this is the thing I think everyday and always seem to manage to forget to write except for today (finally) and perhaps another time, though if I did, I forgot that I had.
Today's morning scuttlebutt was that DDOT began the processing of retiming many of the downtown traffic lights. If you've ever attended a public meeting of any sort, you'll have had from lay members of the community who certainly know what they're talking about that the traffic light timing is ALWAYS WRONG and if 'they' just reoptimized all the traffic light timing, all the traffic would go away. Signal timing, after all, is an uncomplicated thing that lacks many variables and if those dopes would JUST LISTEN all the traffic would be gone in a flash. So, I'm sure that those members of the community will be grateful that these steps have been undertaken and not, at the first experience of a red light when they had to this point not formerly found themselves waiting at one, angrily fulminate to those morons at DDOT that their changes SCREWED IT UP because it was perfect before. tl;dr: you can't win.
I took M to 31st and up the hill and up Wisco to work. On the way home, I took Mass and then backtracked a scoach on the Buffalo Bridge back into Georgetown and then down 27th to P to and through Rose Park. Now, I am generally of the opinion that bicyclists should ride wherever they aren't prohibited (and even if they are prohibited, perhaps there too?), but I found the path through Rose Park to be suboptimal to the point that maybe bicyclists should just skip it. There are lots of people walking and people with dogs and kids at playgrounds and just a bunch of other ensloweners (not a word) that might make the parallel street a vastly better experience. But ride where you want.
After the grocery store, I took L to 15th and then headed south and east on the normal route home. Clumps of bicyclists clumped at newly optimized red lights. I suppose these clumps would have clumped at unoptimized red lights too- clumps do tend to clump- but the point that I'm failing to make is not so much about the red lights as the clumps of bicyclists- there were many of them. What do you call a mode of transport that's bigger than niche?
Up Jenkins Hill, I felt a bogey on my tail. That is a stupid way to say that I could tell someone was riding closely behind me and I decided that in spite on my stupid heavy bike and the stupid heavy contents of my pannier that I would hustle myself up the hill at a pace that would aim to assure that I would stay in front of that person behind me. I could and I would! I was determined! And I did! (Though it was likely less to do with my uphill burst of speed than the 8 feet across very wide handlebars at the front of my bike. Or perhaps it was just pity). And at the top of the hill, alongside me rode up the rider that I thought was behind me (but I can't say for sure because, as taught to us by the philosopher bard in her work on adolescent oneirology 'don't look back/don't ever look back') and it was no other than Unflappable Salsa Gentleman! That he deigned to speak with me (and compliment the Ogre no less!) was immediate karmic reward for my commitment to trying to get up the hill unreasonably quickly. That this flapped him, I have no words. It's really one of the best things that has happened to me in the course of a million bike commutes. And yes, that's a weird thing to say. But it's also a weird thing to think. But it's also true.