Rides 8/28: Summery

Been too long (two days) since this ride for me to recollect anything in detail. So, that's put the bottom line up top and say 'it was fine.' Now might also be a good time to mention that the blog is going on a bit of a hiatus as I find myself going back to school. As with the previous hiatus, I'm going to try to maybe remember to pop in when I have more free time and write things and I really hope that I do this with some degree of regularity, though I don't intend to make any promises.

We're coming up to the most palatable month of the year for bike commuter. September, even more than April, is a bicyclist's delight. The heat wanes, the crispiness begins and the leaves crimson, but still cling. If it doesn't rain much, then it's even more of a treat. I'm going to try to ride as much as I can whenever I can and maybe even squeeze in an ill-thought "adventure" later in the month. If that comes to pass, I might even try to write about it.

3rd Annual Boundary Stone Bike Ride- September 19

Not sure I'll be participating in this, but it sounds fun and maybe you'd like to go? History is pretty neat as is biking and there's an after-party with beer, so there's really a lot of like. Also, the #BSride is a pretty great hashtag and one I strong identify with given how mostly BS my rides are. Anyway, it's the week after the 50 States Ride and if that doesn't quench your thirst for riding the highways and byways around the District, surely this will.

3rd Annual Boundary Stone Bike Ride - September 19th

Do you like history, biking, and/or adventure? Are you trying to check off all the items on the Washingtonian's bucket list of things to do in DC? Do you just need something fun and different to do on a Saturday in September?

Whatever the case, join us for a bike ride around the oldest federal monuments, the DC boundary stones: http://www.boundarystones.org/ The whole ride (including bike back to Boundary Stone) is a metric century; each side is approximately 15 miles - join us for 1, 2, 3, or all 4!

Meet at Jones Point Park at 9am, wheels up 9:30am.

As always, the ride will be sponsored by Boundary Stone DC = ride shirts and an awesome after-party at the bar with specials on DC Brau Brewing Company beers! This year, our new partner Phoenix Bikes will be on-hand at the ride start and rest stop(s) for bike safety and maintenance checks.

Mark your calendars, register to make sure you get a tshirt and swag bag, spread the word (#BSride2015) and check the Facebook event for more details!


Rides 8/27: balance bean

After my adventure of my extremely loud brakes on the Cross Check the other day, I made some adjustments when I got home and then set the bike aside just in case the adjustments I made didn't actually fix anything. This is the equivalent of the fingers-in-ears-"lalala-I-can't-hear-you" method of winning an argument, but that was my approach and I stuck to it for a few days. Today, I felt myself capable to running the risk of once again encounter extraordinarily loud and embarrassing squeaky bike brakes, but, perhaps due to my intervention or perhaps due to the intervention of magical elves who took pity on my for some reason, the brakes were utterly silent and I was happy to once again by bike on the nice light fenderless summer bike and riding blissfully easily through the astonishingly wonderful summer morning.

Tires might've been a bit low. Can't have things too perfect. Might get spoiled.

There used to be a time around these parts when five or six cyclists stopped at a red light was remarkable, but that time has long passed. It's more remarkable when there's nobody. In fact, I remark 'hey, where is everyone?' and then there's no response because no one's there, but that's also ok because then no one sees me talking to myself.

Some really dashing figures cut their way through town on bicycles. Like, genuinely good looking people, dressed neat, kempt as kempt can be, all astride bicycles. Good for them. I don't think this really says anything about bicycling or bicycling in DC or fashion or whatever, but as far as mobile scenery, it's not bad.

Oh, the other day I saw the license plate POLISCI. That's pretty darn Washington.  But, what would Disco Stu say?

Up Wisconsin and Volta and 35th and New Mexico and into the parking garage where my bike rest all day before taking me home down Massachusetts Avenue where I was passed rather closely by a very young driver in a very large expensive car. I think it's funny sometimes that bicyclists are supposed to be cool with the idea of multiton high speed machine being piloted by barely-paying-attention teenagers like this is the normal state of affairs throughout the course of human history. "Let's give our teens the mechanism of death and destruction!" And then, as I do, I thought a lot of medieval Europe and kings and barons and nobles and such as and then was like 'oh yeah.'

I rode on the L Street cycletrack on the way home, as I normally do, and I also wrote about the L Street cycletrack in this week's Gear Prudence. I think my advice is sound, at least sound enough for me to following it myself, but you all (the 9 of you who read this + my mom) are all smart, savvy bikey people, so I'll rely on you to (as bombastically as possible) tell me how wrong I am, either in the comments here, in a drunk text, and written on a note wrapped around a brick thrown through my front window. You do you.

I saw and talked to Kyle (and a fellow Workcycle owner whose name I didn't catch) at 15th and Pennsylvania and then after a few more miles of bicycling I was home.


Rides 8/26: putting the extra i in electricity

We're well on the other side of tolerable right now, the side that's excessively pleasant and the numbers of bicyclists and runners gracing the streets shows it. The more the merrier, I say. To deny someone the opportunity to be out and about in weather like this seems utterly unconscionable. Thanks a lot, car dealerships. Why do you hate freedom?

Height: majestic grandeur

Height: light and air blocking Manhattanization

I decided that I wanted to take the long way into work today and that normally means the Capital Crescent and I'm glad that I made the choice, mostly due to the some unintended consequences and happy accidents. Firstly, I chanced upon this weird workout dance party thing:


It's called Daybreaker and it's either your idea of a dystopian nightmare or it's another thing that isn't your idea of a dystopian nightmare, but, come on, seriously. However, in addition to the dance party shenanigans, there was a gent from the DC-based eBike company Riide out front offering test rides and since I'm all 'yes, and' these days (and also because I've always wanted to try a ebike) I took the opportunity to avail myself a test ride. A few quick thoughts:

1. Ebikes are definitely a thing. I'm not entirely sure what that thing is. I don't know who exactly the target audience is, but I'm also quite confident that there's a target audience.

2. The Riide bike was very simple and intuitive. I liked that.

3. As a bike, it was mostly just fine. But it's not just a bike and the e part was really quite captivating, especially for helping get back up to speed after having the slow down some. Instant acceleration.

4. I used the e part to get up a rather steep hill to get the C&O. Effort-wise, it was all engine, so I did nothing. Speedwise, it wasn't much faster that I could've gone if I pedaled. But then again, I'm a world class grimpeur. Or is that griper?

Anyway, one of the more interesting things the company is doing is setting up a subscription service (aka a lease) where you pay a monthly fee, get the bike and a lock for 2 years and they'll take care of all the maintenance and whatnot. After two years, you turn it in and can get the new model. I think it's an interesting idea (sort of reminds me of old cell phone contracts) and I'll be curious to see if this model gains any traction. Best of luck to them in any case!

Capital Crescent the long way and then up the dirt path to Loughboro, which has too many unnecessary traffic lights. Stop signs are amazing. We should use more of them. Traffic lights are the worst and quite dumb. No one's coming, but the light stays green for another 30 seconds? Dumb.

Stopped at Bicycle Space AdMo on the way home. Bought some bar tape. Pondered buying other stuff. Saw Rachel. And Marko. Then rode down 18th Street to Q and then 11th and then Pennsylvania and eventually home. Didn't stop at the grocery store and have minor regrets about that, but I'm gonna get over it.


Rides 8/25: magnetism

This evening on the ride home not quite ten blocks away from my house the woman on the bike in front of me looked back over her shoulder and said to me 'you can go around' and I said 'that's ok, I'm in no rush.' And she said 'I'm just out for a ride. I'm out here trying to get rid some of today's bad technology rays.' And I'm like, but not aloud, 'yes. that's what we're all out here doing. that's why we're all out here on this ride. Just trying to get rid of some of today's bad technology rays. Bicycling is the ultimate degaussing. This lady is a genius.'

And that's pretty much all for today folks. Get rid of today's bad technology rays. Live life.


Rides 8/24: Phlogiston

Another summer day, but it's late August now and while there are more that await us, it's close enough to the brief time of year when it's no longer terrible and you can feel the brimming excitement. I'm excited too. Those 4 days in September are going to be great.

It was the first day of school, but I didn't see a lot more kids out on bikes than usual. Slackers.

Mall route over to Rock Creek and I rode on the road rather than the path. The road is wide and pleasant and empty and also technically closed so maybe let's not tell the Park Police lest they shut me down. I mean, really, is there a more victimless crime than cycling on an otherwise empty road? Like, it's negatively victimless in that I quite benefit from it. We should aspire that all illegal activities have at least negative one victims.

Banana Republic (the clothing store, not the Central American kleptocracies) loves bicycles and they're sharing that love with us by telling us as much in their window displays. My value add is the glare.

Something about loving bikes and loving Amsterdam

the world's easiest Magic Eye 

Only 1% of trips in USA are taken by bike, but in Amsterdam it's 40%. This compares apples to oranges, but hey, let's do more biking, ok? 

34th Street to Volta to 35th and eventually up through Glover Park and New Mexico Avenue. The way home took my down Massachusetts Avenue to 21st Street to L. Here's a picture without any context, but maybe we'll come back to it later in the week.

15th to Pennsylvania (u-turn at 14th) and then I passed something I thought was funny and almost went back to take a picture (maybe tomorrow) and then it was a few blocks where there were red lights and those who can't seem to queue. Shoal me once, shame on me. Shoal me twice, I'm gonna pass you going uphill. On the Ogre. While whistling.


Rides 8/21: dance moms are yelling in the background

Friday saw the triumphant return of Lauren to Friday Coffee Club. "Who is she?" they asked, the they who have only been coming to FCC for a few years, and weren't around when OG Lauren was part of the crew before she moved away for school. Who knew that "bicyclists gathering and drinking coffee" would prove so popular that it'd last so long as to have OGs? In any event, it was great to see her, even just briefly.

Afterwards, it was a ride across FoBo and then up through Georgetown and I saw again a bike commuter that I've been seeing in different parts of town for years now. There are a few people that I see a lot and they still bike commute and I still bike commute and we still pass each other unacknowledged, because we don't really know each other except by sight in this particular context, and then we do it again either the next day or a few days or weeks after and the time passes, but it still keeps happening. I felt a bit melancholic on Friday, so I was torn between the idea of whether passing these same people year after year is comforting or whether it's sad. Are we stable? Or are we stuck?

I decided that I'd mess around with my brakes before leaving work in order to try to get rid of some of the little squeaky brake noises coming from the rubbing of the pads and so I went to the Fix-It stand (a really great job perk) and I fiddled around with the pitch and yaw of the brake pads and so I got rid of the little squeaky noises, replacing them with horrifically loud squeaky noises instead. This proves that if you set your mind to something, you can definitely achieve it.

all the fixings

Massachusetts Avenue on the way home is an opportunity to go fast. That it runs downhill abets this and I regularly achieve speeds far in excess of those that I could achieve from pedal power on flat ground. For the most part it's nice and I can keep up with car traffic just fine, so I take the lane. There are really one kind of situation in which this really causes problems and it's when me on my bike equals the speed of someone driving in the left lane. Because then the driver behind that guy comes over behind me and then he's mad at me for slowing him down (when really it's the guy in the left lane who isn't speeding that's "slowing" him down). Anyway, this doesn't happen a lot, but whenever it does, I really don't like it. In conclusion, I wish drivers would speed more...? Wait, that doesn't sound right.

August Fridays in DC are special.

The barriers installed on Pennsylvania Avenue to prevent u-turns do a pretty good job, I think. Except a lot of them now, more than I care to count, show signs of damage from being run over, which maybe indicates to me that drivers are still deciding that u-turning is better than not u-turning and that's unfortunate. And even more unfortunate than that is that drivers can't do this illegal thing without destroying something. It's banal destruction. It goes most unnoticed, but if you look around the city, you'll see scads of things on the road- things paid for and maintained by public moneys- that have been destroyed by drivers who have proven incapable of controlling their cars to the extent that they do not crash into something. I'm old enough to remember when the first rule of driving was 'don't crash into anything.' I think it's a pretty reasonable rule, but apparently, it's quite difficult to practice. I mean, it's kind of weird to have a transportation system in which users are constantly destroying things in the process of using it. Maybe it's time to redefine what's considered 'normal' wear and tear.

everyday destruction
traffic laws


Rides 8/20: duna

Were we not promised thunderstorms? Some kind of epic commute-time rain? It didn't happen. I'm not entirely disappointed, but had I known that I would've made it through these commutes free from rain, I probably would've taken a lighter bike. The Ogre, though fixed, is still just a little too heavy for these hot, muggy days. I mean, I get through them fine enough. Fine enough.

Oh, hey, the clicking noise that I thought would go away when I got my bike fixed didn't go away. Time to think about other things that might click. Examples include: literally every other part of my bike.

Mall route past the monuments, set to the backdrop of a gray (but impotent) sky. It must be marathon training season again because the paths are awash in runners. A slight digression: for reasons (?), I've recently taken to using my lunch break to run on a treadmill. I've never really been a runner- most of the running I've done in my life was in the context of sport (soccer) or to flee from wild animals (poodles)- and so it's surprised me somewhat to discover that I don't totally mind the mindless miles. To look for escapism on a treadmill is a funny idea, I guess. I wonder if that's what the hamster is looking for in his wheel. To circle back to the earlier point, I have no plans to run outside or train for a marathon or any race of any kind, but I think I'm keep on with the pointless going nowhere that in running in place and see if I can make progress at that, if that's even possible. This is the last I'll mention it.

There's a paucity of bike parking in Georgetown, but some entrepreneurial spirit is using it to try to sell this vintage bicycle:

I don't know if he's going to get his Benjamin, but I hope that one way or another the bike is gone soon. Yeah, I get that this is a *clever idea* but people really need a place to park their bikes way more than you need a place to advertise selling it.

If you have a dinner reservation, do you get to break the less grave traffic laws during your bike commute? Some say 'no, that's a ridiculous assertion and not in any way ok, morally or otherwise' Others say nothing and trail off without really answering the question, nor copping to any misbehaviors they might have indulged in.


Rides 8/19: uncle vanya century

This evening, my bike got fixed. Yay fixing!

I dropped it off at the end of the evening commute and took Bikeshare home. Rather than put my CaBi key in the right place, I decided to just shove it in my pocket and my reward for this was losing it. I guess maybe it's conceivable that I didn't lose it and that I took it out of my pocket with the other contents and its somewhere around the house, but I think it might be gone. Oh well. Guess I'll just order another. Unless they launch Bikeshare FobShare, but I don't think there's a profitable business model in that. "Oh, I dropped my Bikeshare subscription because I'm a FobShare subscriber now. Saving big bucks, but always getting fobblocked."

I got to the bike shop the usual way and then across Mount Vernon Square over to K Street and K across town to 2nd to I. I got got to work an entirely different way because the bike shop (Daily Rider) and my workplace are not collocated. Thanks, Obama. I did take Pennsylvania Avenue both to, past, and from the White House to M Street and then up Wisco and down Mass.

On East Capitol in the morning, this happened:

If you've ever subjected yourself to any comments section on any online article about bicycling, you've likely had the misfortune of reading that phrase. It's easy to demonize bike commuters when you don't know that they're 7 year old girls. The moral of this story is mostly to never read the comments, but the backup moral is that maybe Madison and Jayden (these are the names of literally all children these days, right?) might deserve a little more than a white stripe of paint and some platitudes and we (society?) need to get over ourselves and take this to heart.


Rides 8/18: shale

Back on the Ogre after some time off. It's been mostly sidelined because the bike weighs a billion pounds and in the summer heat, torpor rains (and I have swifter steeds), but in summer rains (as today was slated to have) I felt that the fenders and brakes and the whole set up would be up to the whole affair, though the bike itself suffers still from some mechanical issues. I recently replaced the cassette and the chain, but there's something wrong with the large ring up front (teeth are bent because reasons) and it won't be until at least tomorrow that I'll be able to get that taken care of and then perhaps thereafter the bike will prove more attractive. My hope is that the crooked teeth are the cause of the clicking noise that haunts me with each pedal stroke. That or I'm being chased by my mortal enemy, an alligator that ate of one those baseball umpire's balls and strikes indicators. Walk. No, ride.

Decided to ride the M Street cycletrack for the first time in a long time and it was surprisingly fine. If you'd like a brief snapshot that indicates the reality bicycles are not especially dangerous vehicles in the cityscape, look to those folks standing in bike lanes totally not giving a shit. It's an accurate assessment of their level of danger, though I suppose a more courteous approach in which bike lanes are not stood in would be more welcome.

Click click click up Wisconsin and then a few more clicks over Calvert and a couple more clicks up New Mexico. Really looking forward to seeing New Mexico Avenue on the 50 States Ride, which is upcoming and a ride that somehow I've remarkably never done. I wonder, though, if I really thought about it how many state avenues I've ridden on already. I think it's a lot- I do ride my bicycle all over DC, mostly in search of tacos and/or to stave off existential ennui- but I'm looking forward to being surprised by lesser encountered avenues.

Easy ride home, but before that I provided some mechanical assistance to a fellow bike commuter in the work parking garage. I definitely fixed the problem with her bike's front brake, though I think the solution that I eventually reached could've have been reached faster and with overall less fiddling. WHY OH WHY MUST I PLAY MY VIOLIN IN A DOWN HOMEY FASHION ALL THE TIME? Anyway, I saw her a little bit down the road so whatever I did to fix her problem resulted in her at least being able to make it somewhat away from work.

Massachusetts, 21st, and L street, which has a cycletrack, that is quite popular. One of the more popular things for bicyclists to do is ride in it but an equally popular thing for bicyclists to do is stop in it at intersections because they don't know how to turn from it. Quick, someone email gearprudence@washingtoncitypaper.com with a question about making turns from it. (Actually, I think someone already did this and I'm derelict in responding. Whoops. Soon though.)

11th to Pennsylvania and up the hill. Slow going most of the way. Lots of other cyclists out. I think this cycling trend might really catch on.


Rides 8/17: barely a blog post

I was off work Friday and today didn't see much bike commuting either. I had an appointment in the afternoon to which I didn't want to arrive drenched in sweat, so I decided that I'd take Bikeshare in the morning to the Metro and stick to the Metro in the afternoon and so that's what I did.

The morning ride was an uneventful jaunt down East Capitol around Lincoln Park and up Massachusetts to 6th to F and then up the back way to Union Station. At 2nd and F and the entrance to Union Station, there's a DO NOT ENTER [EXCEPT BICYCLES] sign and I think that this is a pretty great sign and maybe we should use it more often, in both contraflow applications and contra-contraflow situations (or just flow situations, though I can't really think of any of these kinds of situations off the top of my head). Anyway, EXCEPT BICYCLES is just a really useful concept and I wish we could just accept that bicycles are a different kind of thing that in most cases totally fit in where cars do and in some special cases, fit in where cars don't. Except maybe instead of EXCEPT BICYCLES, we could just do a picture of a bike and a thumbs up. It's not clear to me the extent to which Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down has been approved by MUTCD, but I think it's way more fun than and more of a positive "go bikes go!" message than DON'T ____ EXCEPT ______.

Train was crowded in the morning. Not as crowded in the afternoon.


Rides 8/13: Raspberry Sorbet

Allen is the name of my personal trainer. Allen seems like a nice enough guy, but I've only ever met him twice and today was the first time I met with him in which he personally trained me. I feel trained, personally. Why do I have a personal trainer? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. In one of my stranger moments this summer (and there's been more than a few), I decided that it would be a good idea to take advantage of a SUMMER SPECIAL DISCOUNT on personal training through the gym at work. I guess I felt a little lethargic and a little doughy and thought 'you know what? if someone trains me, personally, perhaps I will feel more verve and perhaps this also will give me a reason to leave my desk at lunchtime and also health and wellness benefits and blah blah blah but mostly the not eating sad desk lunch' and so I signed up and then I some time went by and so my magical fitness journey began. All of which is a run up to say that I am thoroughly exhausted and much of me hurts, even though the extent of the training was one half hour of training of a personal nature. That's right, 30 minutes. It was all rather intensive and targeted and one thing right after another and alternating and trainery and I'm quite confident that he knows what he's doing and I have four more of these things, but none of them are scheduled.

Does this have anything to do with bike commuting? I don't know. I mean, I guess you could make some sort of analogy like 'in the beginning when you first started riding to work it was hard and then it got easier over time, so don't give up!' So, let's go with that. That's sounds inspirational and whatnot. I don't remember bike commuting hurting this much, but it's been awhile since the beginning.

As for the whole bike commuting thing, I saw this guy this morning:

Against my nature, I thought to myself 'well, this seems like someone I should go talk to' and so I stopped by bike and looped around and asked the very germane question 'so, what inspires you to be out here this morning?'



We made very brief small talk thereafter and I asked if I could take a picture and then I set off. He wasn't exclusively blessing bike commuters, and while I might question the efficacy of his intercessionary powers, I'm not willing to rule anything out to #stoputurnsonpenn. If it works, it works.


Rides 8/11 and 8/12: frango

I am utterly besotted with my Ortlieb Brompton bag, which is tangerine in color and a complete and total extravagance. It's the kind of bag that makes me want to pack things and then set off on a long, small-wheeled journey to some exotic clime outside, but not too far outside the Beltway. The bag makes me sing and sing I did: "Hey Mr. Tangerine Bag, hold some stuff for me. I'm not sleepy and there's no place that I'm going to" (except work).

That was yesterday. I did ride to work and then home again. The rides themselves were unremarkable, bordering on forgettable. I struggled some climbing up 31st and I plan to address this by soon (soon!) putting an internal gear hub into the Brompton and then perhaps gaining some reliable shiftiness. It's taken me only three years to realize that I should've done this in the first place. Oh well.

The weather this morning was confusingly pleasant and I hope that you got the chance to bike through it. August in DC, per urban legend, is unremittingly awful, but I guess whichever Olympian deity controls the weather (yes, I believe in Olympian deities. I guess you could say that I'm Greek Orthodox) temporarily forget and so is luring us into some soon-sprung trap via the means of a few decent days. I'm sure the gig'll be up soon enough.

I watched a fellow bike commuter on Pennsylvania Avenue ring her bell 10 times at someone standing in the bike lane and then as she was about 3 feet away go 'YOU'RE STANDING IN THE BIKE LANE' and while this is a factually accurate assessment of where the person was standing, I'm not sure what outcome was hoped for by my fellow bike commuter. By the time she yelled, there wasn't much time to get out of the way and frankly, I'm fairly certain that the person standing in the bike lane heard the 10 dings and knew very well where she was standing and elected to do nothing about it. I question the efficacy of interactions like this and while I guess I can't really begrudge a bicyclist for being miffed that someone is, indeed, standing in the middle of the bike lane, I'm not entirely sure what's to be gained from acting of out pique- the same kind of pique that inspires the vindictive honking that haunts my ears' nightmares. I'm likely just a pushover (FUN FACT: I'm completely a pushover, in lots of things!) but maybe it'd be easier to just go around than make a big deal out of it? To yell at a person who's just standing somewhere, who's not really causing you any harm and who you see and can be quite easily avoided, seems so... inhumane? I don't really know if that's the word (or sentiment) that I'm going for, but it's something along those lines. And I guess I can't really be too mad about a bicyclist expressing frustration (because these things are frustrating!), but it just seems like maybe yelling at people standing in a badly compromised bike lane isn't the hill to die on, so to speak. I don't know. Why must feelings be so complicated?

New Gear Prudence is about weirdos.


Rides 8/10: Slide Guitar

It's Monday again. Seems like it comes around every week and always at the beginning of it. I did do some bicycling this weekend (I went to the Udvar-Hazy wing of the Air and Space Museum out by Dulles), but I hadn't bike commuted since Thursday, so who even knows how much the terrain of the city changed since then. Turns out, not by very much.

Though, that isn't to say, that there were no changes. Since I last rode, green paint appeared in multiple places along my route, most notably around Stanton Park and on the new First Street cycletrack. I like the green paint, though I do find it somewhat derivative. Can't wait until DDOT pulls a Marina Abramovic and just sits there doing nothing for days on end. Oh wait.

MBT to R and R all the way across town, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. I tried to go the same speed, but it's all relative.

Sometimes I think about Vision Zero, which I believe is a kind of Lasik malpractice class action lawsuit, but also a safety plan and I think about safer walking and cycling, which are part (though not all) of that plan. And then I think about pleasant walking experiences I've had and where I've had them and what have made them pleasant. A few come to mind. (I really do love walking. Sometimes I think about walking while wistfully singing "I will always love you" [Parton]) Anyway, the stated goal is Vision Zero is to make waking SAFER, but I don't that means the same as making walking NICER. Sometimes I wonder if we could achieve the former if we only focused on the latter- if the safety benefit was just an ancillary benefit of trying to make the pedestrian experience a genuinely pleasurable experience. If we did the kinds of things that made walking and biking less stressful and more enjoyable, would the safety benefits just follow? Aren't they ancillary? Anyway, I guess Vision Nicer is a bit more qualitative and harder to pin down and beggars and choosers and all that.

Usual route home. Not much worse sometimes than being a cyclist in the right lane when a driver in the left lane insists on driving slowly because then the problem isn't the guy in the car next to you who's following the law, but the jerk biker who's going too slow. Can't win for losing sometimes.

I stopped at the store on the way home to buy ginger ale. I'm on a ginger ale kick lately. I like the ginger part, I like the ale part, I like them together. Good coda, Brian. Good coda.


Rides 8/6: Turgid Prose

The highlight of these rides was its lowlight, which is the clicking noise coming from my bike and this clicking noise has something to do with my chain, which is quite stretched and in need to replacement, and that means a new cassette too and they told me this at AdMo BicycleSpace yesterday afternoon, but they didn't have the cassette in stock, so I thought that maybe I could check the other BicycleSpace since they said that they might have it but then, after I was almost there, I remembered, after having briefly forgotten after having realized earlier in the afternoon, that I had left my skewer key home and that even if they did have the cassette in stock (I found out this morning  when I called that they didn't), it wouldn't have much better since my wheels were goodly affixed, and so I rode past without stopping in and then down K Street still, but on the sidewalk between North Capitol and Second NE.

But back to the chain. It was the inaugural chain of the Ogre and now it's thoroughly dead. The mechanic asked me how many miles I rode on it and I was like 'a lot' and he was like '???' and I was like 'yeah, a lot' but what I really wanted to say was 'does it really matter? you've already used your chain stretchy tool and determined it's dead, so what's the point of finding out if I'm a Strava addict who knows quantifiable things like the amount of miles I've ridden on the Ogre in the past year' It doesn't much matter, does it? And furthermore, I continued "are all miles equal? Do all miles provide the same wear and tear? If you prick all miles, do they not bleed?" At this point, I was standing on a table. But I went on "Four score and 70 miles ago, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your chains, we didn't bike on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock biked on us, shall we crucify this chain on a cog of gold?, etc., etc." I said the et ceteras, both of them, aloud. For effect. Or is it affect? Anyway, this peroration was solely imagined and I didn't assemble a tired pastiche of bikified speech ripoffs, but instead thanked the mechanic for taking the time to diagnose the problem, a problem that I'll fix, someday.

To work, in the morning, I rode up the way I had been going of late, on First Street and then the MBT and R and across town and up Massachusetts Avenue, chain clicking all the way. From work, after the bike shop, it was down 18th to Q to 11th to New York Avenue to K to 2nd to I NE and then around 13th or 14th I found myself in an alley somewhere behind that stretch of H Street where there's a bunch of restaurants and then over H to the Argonaut, where I sat for a bit and enjoyed a sip or two of the sudsy stuff. Then it was 14th up the hill and then home, more or less.

This week's GP is about two things: a buddy buying a bike and a parent getting peeved. Be sure to read it. There will be a quiz.


Rides 8/4: Unsurprising Cakes

Yesterday didn't feel like a Monday and that's because it wasn't, so in that regard, all's right with the world. The morning was another one where I swung by the First Street Cycletrack, which was still not yet fully installed, in that it was missing curbs and that fact meant that it remained the site of truck parking. As I type, curbs are being installed and so things are moving along and tomorrow (Thursday) when I ride to work again (for I am not going in today), then there will hopefully be more pictures of a more fully completed cycletrack, one free of parked trucks.

Sometimes you look up and you see that all 10 cyclists around you are women. This isn't totally remarkable- DC is not a male penal colony and does, in fact, serve as both and workplace to all genders, but the quite gloss on 'biking diversity' is that that statistics tell us that there isn't much and that it's a commute mode dominated by men. And those statistics might be right, but they're not right everywhere and I think depending on where you count, you see something much closer to a gender balance. This seems to be especially truer within the city itself and the imbalance seems to tick up the farther out you go. On the CCT, for example. I see far more men than women. This is all very interesting because other conventional wisdom tells us that women prize safety (though this reeks a little of patriarchal notions of female delicateness) and a trail separated from cars would seem like a pretty safe place to cycle (though, biking through the woods on an unlighted trail might pose other safety perception risk). Anyway, the point that I'm failing to make is that 1) I'm not totally sure how true the statistics are and 2) I'm not sure there's any monocausal reason why people of whatever gender do or don't cycle. So, great paragraph. Definitely didn't waste anyone's time. Good job.

It's been very hot, but I've been riding with a messenger bag and it hasn't been so bad. If you're going to sweat a lot anyway, the bag doesn't seem to make anything worse. I've got a Chrome one. It's rather quite nice and capacious. Fits a gallon on milk easy. Probably would fit a gallon of other liquids too.

I took L to 11th home and followed 11th to Pennsylvania and then rode up the hill, but on the House side, which is the less popular side for bike commuters. I watched a guy on East Capitol weave between some other bike commuters, which seemed mostly impolite and needless, but it was more annoying than dangerous. But annoying is still annoying. But it's only annoying.


Rides 8/3: Gloop

Once thing I do, often and for no particular reason, is change tires on the CrossCheck. This morning before work- because one should take on tasks early on a Monday morning so as to achieve something to start the week- I decided that I would remove the fenders and the gatorskins- tires that I really like- and put on some cream Delta Cruisers [I believe the Delta Cruisers were a minor fraternity in Animal House, but it's been a while since I've seen the film] and I enjoyed the change, mostly because I like the way the tires look and also because they're a little cushy and I'm only second to Forster in loving the Kush. [Forster jokes = mega SEO]

I went to work via First Street, where I espied the progress on the First Street, NE cycletrack. The roadway has been paved and painted, but the concrete curbs haven't found their way there yet and accordingly, paint alone stopped not various truck drivers from parking a top the new cycletrack. Should we all freak out about this? Um, yes and no, I guess, but more no than yes. It'll get sorted out soon and my hope is that once the curbs find their way in, it won't be (as much of) a problem. The funny thing about First Street is that (to the best of my recollection) it's a cycletrack that wasn't part of the 2005 Master Bike Plan. It sprouted thanks to the efforts of the community and the NOMA BID (and probably DDOT too) and it's really quite a nice spine for that neighborhood and I can only hope that the cycletrack is extended somehow down Louisiana Avenue towards the Mall, though I don't really know who would ride it there or why. I have a very limited conception of where people actually work, but there are probably plenty of people who live in [parts of north-central/east DC] who work [somewhere nearish the Mall and/or Capitol] who take it everyday and I'm sure it makes sense for them.

R Street all the way across town. What did we ever do before they painted green lines across Rhode Island Avenue?

I decided to take the long way home and that meant riding down Nebraska and Loughboro to the END OF DC- where the roads [literally] ran out. It was by the reservoir and there was a rocky dirt path down to the trail, but no sign or anything, so I was a bit trepidatious of the whole affair until I found myself eventually on the trail and zipping along under the shade of trees and happy for it. For some stretch of the trail, I rode behind a Swiss woman (she had a Swiss flag backpack, she spoke French, she seemed fairly neutral) and some kids in her charge and I couldn't quite pass them because the kids were sort of all over the trail and there were cyclists consistently coming the other way and it was all very FRAUGHT, except not at all because going slowly behind someone isn't really that much of a problem at all.

I've wondered where DC cyclists could replicate the SF "Wiggle" stunt and I think my answer is on K Street under the Whitehurst. I think that would get a point across. What that point is, I'm not totally sure.

Virginia Avenue is the worst avenue. E Street is one of the worst streets, especially in FoBo. E Street on the other side of the White House, where I also rode, is less terrible, but still not great. There were no curbs installed on First Street in the evening either and after checking that out, I rode down F over to 8th and then up the hill and over the Massachusetts, around Lincoln Park and home. The whole trip, the long way with stops, was under an hour. That's about 4% of my day. It wasn't a bad way to spend 4% of a day.