Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter Weather Warrior, Springtime & Road Rage.

Hi guys! I know its been awhile. The winter doldrums had me. Remember last week when it was almost 80 degrees? I couldn't even enjoy the beautiful weather because I knew it wouldn't last and it would be right back to layers & heavy coats & scarves & gloves before I knew it and....well, I just couldn't take it anymore. I was definitely in a funk. It felt like Mother Nature was simply taunting me with the nice weather, only to snatch it away again.

I feel better now. The nice days are starting to outnumber the crappy ones. It's getting warmer. The days are getting longer. Spring is just around the corner.

This means that the Winter Weather Warrior contest is finally at an end. Today is the last day! I still need to get my ride in. I'm kinda relieved its over. I was getting a little sick of it, to be perfectly honest. This contest has been great in so many ways; it nudged me out the door when I probably would have rather just stayed on the couch. However, there were days where I really would rather just stay on the couch, and having to trudge out into the cold winter weather just so I could get a ride in to keep up my perfect attendance made me want to kick one of those silly little red bikes (I didn't).

I woke up in a panic last week. It was my day off and I was busy doing some major spring cleaning in the apartment so I stayed inside all day. I was exhausted when I finally went to bed and started to fall asleep when I literally sprang out of bed because I realized that I didn't get my capital bikeshare ride done that day! Oh no! I had completely forgotten about it. I was so mad at myself because I put myself through a lot the preceding two months to make sure that I got a ride in every single day, and what a waste all of the effort would have been just to lose out at the end because I had a memory lapse.

But then I remembered rule 4 of the contest: "Any day that includes a Capital Bikeshare closure is not counted in the "perfect attendance" category."  The system had been shut down that day! They had closed the system due to a storm that was coming the previous night, and didn't reopen until 0630 am that morning! Woo! Saved by a technicality. I hope, anyway. 

Tomorrow, it will be strange to hop on Betty and ride her to work instead of walking to the bikeshare station. I kept meaning to bring her to the shop to take advantage of my groupon and get her a tune-up so she would be ready for spring, but I kept putting it off. Oh well. I was going to drop her off today, but its rainy and crappy out. Maybe next week. At least I know I can always use Capital Bikeshare while she's in the shop!


Did any of you hear about the driver that plowed through the critical mass ride in Brazil? How awful. I don't understand how one human being could purposely do that to other human beings. You can watch the videos here. Be warned though, it is graphic and horrifying to watch.

I've always considered myself lucky. I've only had to deal with road rage twice while out on my bicycle. Before this last Saturday, I would have said only once. I have been in two accidents on my bike, but even then the drivers that struck me were kind, apologetic & helpful. I've encountered plenty of motorists that were impatient, rude, distracted, & unkind, but I've rarely had to deal with the motorist that wanted to *intentionally* hurt me.

Until last Saturday. For those of you that follow me on twitter, you may know what I am talking about. I'm not going to go into great detail because it is a pending case now, but I'll give you a general outline of what happened.

For the record, yes, I am a police officer. I do not like to talk about it much on this blog because I don't want this blog to turn into a "all cop, all the time" sort of place. I don't want to get into debates over enforcement of traffic laws or a discussion of whether that ticket you got last week is "legal".  I like having something outside of work to enjoy & partake in. If you are curious, I am a bicycle patrol officer. Yes, I get paid to ride a bike all day. It is awesome. 

Anyway. I was leaving the station to go home and relax after a very long week. I bike to and from work every day. This particular night, I was riding a Capital Bikeshare bike home. I am wearing regular clothes and there is nothing to indicate that I'm a police officer. As far as anyone was concerned, I was just a girl on a bicycle. Which is why I think this happened.

In a nutshell, I was stopped at a red light and a vehicle purposely struck me from behind. It wasn't hard, more like a nudge with their bumper. But it was enough to propel me forward into the intersection, and for the driver next to me to even comment about what an asshole that person was. I could hear the occupants in the car that hit me laughing. Now, I ignore a lot of crap when I'm off duty. Like I said I encounter rude, impatient & distracted drivers all the time.  99% of the time its not worth getting into an argument over, not to mention it can be dangerous. You never know who you might be dealing with or what could set them off. Yes, I'm a police officer but that doesn't make me Wonder Woman. So I debated whether to say something to this dick of a driver. The light turned green, and I decided to let it go and instead ride reeeallllyyyy slllloooowwwwwlllly in front of him to piss him off. 

And then he did it again. Harder this time. I stopped, pulled out my badge and told him to stay right where he was.

And that's when he said "oh shit" and fled. Or tried to. He got stuck in traffic on a one-way street a block away. Which is where I caught up to him. And that's when he tried to run me down while trying to get out of there.

Long story short, he was caught (by about half the police district) a few minutes later when I gave the description of the car & occupants on my radio. 

I know what the driver was doing. He saw a young woman on a bicycle and thought it was be HILARIOUS to be a dick with his car. He did this because he thought there would be no consequences. He was very wrong.

I was unhurt, thank god. I'm glad he was caught and arrested. But I can't help think of what would have happened if it was some other young woman on bicycle? Someone that's not a cop, someone that is essentially defenseless. Would he have been caught then?

I don't know.

P.S. To the people that stopped to make sure I was okay and that tried to stop him as well, thank you. I didn't get a chance to say anything at the time, but it really did make me feel better that there are still people out there willing to help someone else out.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CaBi Weekend!

Hi fellow riders (and readers)!

I had a wonderful weekend, all courtesy of Capital Bikeshare.

First, it was the DC Roller Girls Roller Derby Bout at the DC Armory on Saturday. Whooo!!! A friend of mine was joining me for the game, and I managed to convince her to bike there with me, despite the forecast of rain. When the time came to head out, the rain was nothing more than a mere misting of water. I got wet, but not soaking wet. Hair & makeup stayed in place :)

I was really lucky when I arrived at the Armory, because I managed to snag the very last dock. We were running late, and I would have been a very unhappy girl on a bike if I had to spend time looking for another station nearby. Still, we got there with no trouble at all.

(For those that are curious, I took a CaBi from 16th & Harvard, to the 5th & K St. Station, docked it, unlocked it again, and then rode from there to the Armory. In all it took 42 minutes, or two trips of 21 minutes).

Unfortunately, the DC All-Stars got their booties whooped by the Dutchland Rollers. Still, it was an intense match! (I even think one poor girl may have broken her nose). This was followed by yet another match between the Cherry Blossom Bombshells against the DC Demon Cats. The Demon Cats won (yay!), but the Bombshells played hard and made the Demon Cats earn their win. A total blast of an evening.

Afterwards, we rode back the way we came and stopped by my place to change up for dinner. Despite my reassurance that my friend would not look a hot, wet mess if we rode to the restaurant, she insisted on cabbing it. Blah! ;-) Ya'll know how I feel about cabs.

We decided on Meridian Pint. I will say I really, really, really enjoyed the food & the beer. I did have one minor complaint, but its minor and this isn't the blog for that.

A very enjoyable day overall.

But the fun didn't end there. Oh no....

Because the next day was...SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!

Whoo!!! Ok, I'm not really a football fan. I don't mind watching it at all, but I can't tell the difference between a quarterback and line backer. Still, I like the excitement, the bets, the commercials & the beer. My friends and I had a table reserved at the 4 P's on Conn. Ave.  Plus, Matthew Lesko was there! You know, this guy:

And yes, he was wearing the Question Mark suit.

Rather than cab it with them (yuck!) I decided to bike it. I had noticed a CaBi station right next to the restaurant previously and figured it would make an easy ride. And it did! I enjoyed good food, good beer & didn't have to wait for a cab like the rest of the suckers out there afterwards. I simply checked a bike out & rode home.

Today, I needed to get downtown for an appointment. I knew there was a CaBi station only a few blocks from my destination, so I decided to use that. My only mistake was taking 7th St. NW downtown. I normally take 6th St., but the bike lanes on 7th were calling to me. Ugh. It took forever, and traffic was horrendous. I was stuck behind a bus for 4 blocks. Never again! I'll stick to 6th, thank you. One bright part of my commute was the compliment a bike messenger paid me downtown. He passed me and was gracefully riding his bike like a fish in a current, swerving in & out of the rush hour traffic (not recklessly, mind you).  I caught up with him 2 blocks later, and he expressed surprise at my speed. He said he didn't expect me to catch up with him (mind you, I was following traffic laws and stopped at every red light. Yes, WABA, I remember the pledge!). I was pretty chuffed at his praise ;-)

After my appointment was over, I was starving and couldn't decide on what to eat. I decided to ride back home, and if something caught my eye, I would stop. I took the Penn Ave Bike lanes & 15th St. cycletrack (which was completely clear the entire way!) Sorry, no obligatory White House photo op this trip. I was too hungry! When I got to P St., I noticed the CaBi station right next to the Whole Foods. Problem solved. I stopped and docked. Then I noticed the Sweet Green & the Lululemon store. When did those happen? Can you tell I don't make it to that part of town very often? HA! I'm always amazed at that block, because I remember when there was *nothing* there except the hardware store. I made a bee-line for the hot/salad bar before the remainder of my paycheck could disappear. I got my lunch, packed it up in the CaBi basket, and headed for home.

On my trip home I managed to watch 3 different protests. I love this town.

Some pictures:

Maybe the CaBi bike was cold?

Rollerrrr Derrrrby!

So sad :(

Yeah. This guy outdid me in the "drunk, carrying around strange objects in a bar" category...

Ummm... officially, I have no idea where this came from.

Waiting in line for the Derby. Did you know I'm the mayor of DC Roller Derby?

Superb Owl time!

I like the thing on top of the building.

Next week is Valentine's Day. Any special plans?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Wrap Up

Hey! How are you guys doing?

It's the end of January, and probably about time I take a look at the past month, right?


-I've managed to ride Capital Bikeshare at least once every single day in January. I'm very proud of myself, especially since there were a few days during the month in which I was absolutely miserable and didn't want to even think of hopping on a bike (including having the flu, and the epic Snowtrafficopylapse of last week).

-I'm doing pretty good on my resolutions for this year. I'm down 6 lbs, I've saved money and my nails are growing. Yay!!

-Winter is sorta almost over. Right? RIGHT?!

-I've registered for the Lincoln Ride and the Vasa Ride.


I am SO OVER WINTER. Really. Over it.

Yep, been a pretty good start to the year overall. I'm happy.

As I mentioned, I did manage to get a Capital Bikeshare ride in during the horrible storm we had last week. I had an appointment downtown, and had to get back uptown to go to work. I knew I needed to get a ride in, so I figured I might as well ride bikeshare (especially since there was a very real possibility of them shutting down the system later in the day). When I looked outside it was raining, but that's ok. I'm not afraid of the rain. I grabbed a bike and started off. And then all of a sudden I heard PING PING PING...the sound of hail. I could hear it bouncing off the cars next to me, and see it bouncing off the handlebars. And then I felt it.

Ow. Ow. Seriously, ow, effing ow.

At first I was going to take bikeshare all the way home, but it soon became evident that riding in this mess was insane. I was almost in tears because I was wet, cold and and my face felt like it was being flayed open by hail. I decided to cut it short and stopped off at a friend's establishment so I could make a phone call and get a ride home.

While waiting for my ride, the hail turned into big fluffy snowflakes. Weeee! I got home, changed up and needed to get to work. I figured I might as well take Capital Bikeshare. I went to the nearest station and checked out a bike...and rode it about 25 feet before giving up. Yeah, not a good idea. the sleet that fell before the snow had created a layer of slippery, slushy mess underneath the fluffy white snow. The bike kept sliding out everywhere. Combine that with the extremely heavy motor vehicle traffic and I knew it would be a mistake to attempt to go any further. So I turned around and docked the bike. Wouldn't you know that 15 minutes later Capital Bikeshare shut down the system? Smart thinking guys ;-)

That's my epic snow storm story.

Tomorrow it will be February. That means Valentine's Day & a super short month.

(It's almost Spring, It's almost Spring, It's almost Spring......I keep telling myself that)

This weekend is another Roller Derby match at the Armory. Assuming I can get leave (ouch. I've already burned so many vacation days to see the Roller Girls!), I'm planning on using Capital Bikeshare to get there.

Stay warm & dry out there folks!