Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Slowing it down...

Riding a big, heavy cruiser bike really forces you to slow down. Much like a hapless tourists tends to bring the flow at the metal detector to a molasses-like pace emptying his pockets of change, gum wrappers, maps, pens, Chuck. E. Cheese tokens and other odds and ends,  Betty tends to go at her own slow roll. I can't zip in and out of traffic as easily as I did on a lighter bike, and the bike can be a bit tricky to maneuver in tight spaces. This means I've really been forced to take my time as I ride. I stop at every red light because I don't have the speed to avoid any oncoming traffic. I don't take chances trying to squeeze past cars and their side-view mirrors. Basically, I follow the same rules as drivers. And I haven't spontaneously combusted yet, which is apparently what some cyclists believe will happen if they have to follow the law like everyone else (myself, included).

I agree that traffic signals and signage is primarily designed for motor traffic, and often times it is not effective for cyclists. However, it rarely hurts cyclists either....unless you are in the middle of a heat wave and stuck behind a metrobus. Then I very well could spontaneously combust. Still, I've discovered that sitting for 2 minutes at a traffic light really isn't that big of a deal.

More important than traffic regulations, however, is simple common sense. This past week I had more close-calls with fellow cyclists than I did with motorists. Either cyclists traveling the wrong way (on both one way and two way roads), riding aggressively (passing me and cars when there is barely enough room), or riding stupidly (i.e. 2-3 people on a bike, feet on the handlebars, etc). No amount of legal regulation will ever rid the world of Stupid People. They just are.

Tomorrow I'm taking Betty downtown for an appointment in the morning. This will be her first rush-hour trip, and it should be an interesting one. Typically, morning rush hour is when motorists are at their most aggressive. Afternoon rush hour is slightly less hellish since most people are leaving work, rather than going to work. Even on my speedier bikes, it's an interesting experience. And by interesting, I mean harrowing.  If you don't hear from me for awhile, I've probably been run-over by a diplomat.

Speaking of diplomats, the last week was a little crazy, weather-wise. (No, diplomats don't really have anything to do with the weather, but I needed a convenient segue). First, the heat-wave continues unabated. Then we had an EARTHQUAKE!! (which I slept through) Then we've had summer thunder storms that have sounded like the world was coming to an end. This has put a slight damper on my riding, but not completely. I did manage to make it out a few times without getting struck by lightning, swallowed by an earthquake or drowning in an downpour. Hopefully, next week will be calmer.

I am proud of The Boy. Sort of. He decided to go out on a ride on his own (which he never does) to the monuments. In the middle of the afternoon. On a heat-wave day. The Boy and The Heat do not get along, at all. About an hour after he returned and cooled off with a shower, he started shivering, cramping & dry-heaving; all symptoms of heat exhaustion. We took his temperature and it was normal, so we knew that it wasn't heat stroke. It took the rest of the evening for him to feel normal again though. Silly Boy.

Some pictures from the last week (sorry there are so few):

Rain droplets on the window:

I have no idea where I photographed this.

Adams Morgan late night. I rarely venture over here on Friday and Saturday nights because it is Insanity. It's flooded with all sorts nonsense. But I was hungry for Croque and Dagger, so 18th Street it was. Any other night of the week, it's a pretty decent place late at night. But Friday and Saturday nights it is horrible...

Jeggings? WTF?

Another cruiser bike!

A view of U Street late night.

1966 Schwinn!

The original registration stickers.

Even the original bell!

Yes, a Yul Bryner Burrito. Yum.

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