Sunday no destination ride
One of those rides today where I’m amazed I actually get to live here.
Waking up to a beautiful December morning, I knew I needed to get out for a ride. I had a few options in mind. One centered around a 70-mile romp out to Annapolis and back. But since too much daylight had already passed for an already short day, I would hold off on this exploration trip (also, I have a fear that if I get too close to this place something “bad” might happen).
Another consideration I had to think about was that my wife was away for business so I couldn’t leave the dog alone for too long. Ok, why don’t I just bring her with me. As I unfolded her dog trailer, she leapt up and waited at the door. Our first stop was to Adams Morgan’s Walter Pierce dog park. I had never been here before and didn’t even know it existed until I caught a glimpse of it at the start of the 50 States Ride. The dog area is a nice shady area tucked into the corner of the park. Butts were sniffed, slobbered-covered balls were thrown.
We hopped back on the bike and headed somewhere. I really had no idea of where I was going. And that was ok. I worked my way south then cut onto the bike lane on Q Street. Q Street is a one-way street. So why was another cyclists headed straight towards me? I held my ground. Onward. If my experience, if someone decided to salmon the wrong way, they usually have the courtesy to get out of your way. She did not. Then she motioned for me to get over. ME!?! With the wide trailer in tow, I shifted left slightly to guarantee I was now taking the whole lane. She motioned again, waving me over…and smiling. I glared. At the last second (in truth, it was more like that steamroller scene in Austin Powers), she moved herself over. I glanced back at her, hoping that she was waving to a friend and not signaling at me. Nope. I yelled at her. Onward.
I picked up the 15th Street cycle track and continued our journey south. Passed the White House where they were erecting some type of inauguration stand/stage thing. I decided to turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue to check the progress of the bike lane repainting. Plus, since Mayor Gray formally made it illegal for cars to cut across the cycle track I would be perfectly safe. Oh, nevermind. A van with Maryland tags decided he was above the law. He made his turn. He didn’t make eye contact even though I pointed at him (looking very much like a tattle-tailing 5-year-old).
There were painting crews parked in the bike lanes. This was ok since it was for the greater good, I reasoned. So, maybe I just never realized this before and maybe it’ll be different when the final markings are done but why are the traffic lights directly in the middle of the westerly bike lanes at the intersections? The only way to get around this was to shift right into the traffic lane or cut into the path of the eastern bound cyclists. Take a look next time. I don’t think I like it.
We made it down to reflecting pool by the Capital. I sat admiring the dome and Christmas tree. Raven sat fascinated by the seagulls.
Going back home I decided to take 7th Street since it has a dedicated bus/bike only lane that is strictly enforced (BAWHAHHAHAHA!!!). A few blocks in, a cab driver honked at me. I turned around (remember I had my fur-child onboard), pointed at his cab then pointed at the next lane. I followed up this silent outrage by next pointing at myself then our current lane (the bus/bike lane). It was sort of lame but hopefully got the point across that I would continue to ride in the middle of this lane. The light turned green. He drove up beside me, window down, and said, “I wasn’t honking at you, I was honking at that asshole next to me.” Stunned, I gave him a wave. Who would have thought that honking could be directed at something over than a cyclist?
I continued up 7th Street mostly because this has one of the least steep hills to return home. Another cyclists pulled up alongside me and asked a few questions about my trailer. He was curious if my dog minded sitting back there. I told him, “no, I really think she likes it. She just sits back there and doesn’t say a word.” And as if on cue, Raven stood up through the top opening and started barking at the man.
A few negative observations. But really, who cares? Overall, it was a good day to BikeDC.