10.05.2007

six o'clock news

it was appraoching six o'clock
I am not sure of the exact time
but I think I can guesstimate it I roll back the clock

was able to get out of work early and get out on the bike
thought about taking some pictures while I thought about what I wanted to do for a ride on this splendid day
on this record high day
on this might be global warming doing this sort of day
with my camera around my neck I decide to head to the mall to work on some cross skills
thought I could go hard on the grass for a while

see if I could work my legs
then rodney smith rolled past in the opposite direction pulling his empty other than what looks to be a had truck bob trailer
rodney is moving at a pretty good clip
it is not so easy to reel him in
grid lock traffic slows him and I catch him

we split lanes and move ahead of traffic on the outer lane of dupont circle
an exchange of hellos

some photos on the move
rodney is headed three quarters around the circle onto mass avenue headed north
I change my destination from the mall flanked by the museums to fort reno park by wilson high school
I ride with rodney up mass then into the very posh neighborhood of kalarama
million dollar houses?
try million dollar garages

a few more snaps of the electronic shutter and I am back on my bike
my trajectory has been altered slightly in my head

but my destination of Fort Reno Park remains
I avoid going back down the hill to Mass Ave. but rather I stay on the crest of Kalorama and cut over to Conn Ave

early in my ride I realize that I have no legs
like that feeling of looking down and seeing you have a flat
I looked down and saw the small ring and my tired legs
I spun the small ring as is muscled my way around onto the duke ellington bridge
my speed is not that great

but I maintain with the logical traffic
some cars pass me at hectic paces
I pass them as they run blindly into a line of cars waiting to turn left at the light
as the grade goes from flat to up I accelerate to make the light
I make the light then I pull back

I have no legs
I decide that my bike needs to be ridden more than I need to work on cyclocross skills

that game of cat and mouse continues up con ave
buses block my lane forcing me to take the lane to my side
my pace is good
I feel I am within my right
no need to try and hid
if someone is going to pass me
I want them to see me
I want them to anticipate where I am and where I am goi
ng

there is the standard sketchiness
intentions are not always known
a fast and close driver looks like some grandma on a phone book
just the type of driver you do not want guessing if she is passing too close or not

my seemingly offensive riding style is my defensive style
I am putting myself where I am most safe
I am helping the cars around me make the right decision on where to pass

when things get slow on a climb I dip behind the parked cars
then dip back into the fluid lane with good distance before the parked car
no need to get stuck in the Malachi Crunch
the parked cars should not be parked there during this time of the day
it is rush hour
but I do not mind these cars
they slow the right hand lane
they work as picks for me
blocking the cars behind me
keeping the right lane more for right turning traffic, buses, and bikes
the way things were back in the day when diamonds were painted on the right hand lane

the legs were feeling tired
I was working very hard to go very slow
but the building traffic made me feel faster
I entered chevy chase circle where washington dc becomes maryland without having to break pace
I can tell that the jeep wagoneer in the center lane closest to the circle wants to take a right hand turn before western avenue
I get out of the saddle and accelerate
he sees me and is factoring me into his various variables
I am free to focus on the fast entering traffic from western avenue
traffic in the circle has the right of way
cars do not realize that with other cars
they are not thinking about the guy on the bike

as chevy chase dc blends into chevy chase maryland I am quickly closing distance on a parking lot of cars
I hit the brick sidewalk on a very long three block long stretch of unbroken sidewalk
then off the sidewalk I am blocked by a car trying to take a right turn
it is clear to take the right turn
yet the driver pulls up in front of me
blocking me from getting back onto the sidewalk
blocking a jogger from crossing the street
I slow to a crawl and go around the car and the jogger
instead of getting back on the sidewalk I get back on the road using the right turning car as a moving pick
he is on the phone
he did not see me before
he does not see me now
he did not go when it was clear
he pulled out when it was sketchy
I cut across traffic then split lanes

the light ahead has a green turn arrow
I can not split lanes and sprint to make the turn
I am certain that there will be a car that decides it needs to get out the left lane and into the center lane
I can not risk being to the right of that car
not knowing which car to avoid I avoid all cars and cross the street in a gap between flowing traffic

I get onto bradley blvd
I take the full lane
the speed limit is a25mph
I am not going 25mph
but... no matter how fast a car or bike goes there is certainly car traffic backed up ahead
I decide between Norwood or the Capital Crescent Trail
I duck down the sidestreets towards Chevy Chase Elementary
memories of summer school art class and games of four square played in my teens at this school come to surface

I try to sprint around the small banked circle at speed
my rear wheel is squirreling about
my air pressure was set for practicing cross on grass in a field
so I pull over and put some air in the tires
then I try to sprint the circle at speed
I have no legs
my sprint becomes a ride pretty quickly
I lose inspiration fast the effort reminds me how slow I am on the bike

I leave the circle behind and turn down the road in front of a postal vehicle stopped at the stop sign waiting for me to pass

I have the choice to either pull over to the right and let the truck pass or push it forward at a respectable pace
I get out of the saddle and work the suburban blocks at a fluid pace
not fast... but fluid
not sprinting
never anything near the red zone
I know a second in the red and my legs would surely be dead

I weaved my way and rode a pleasantly uneventful spin down the capital crescent trail into georgetown
then I did end up on the mall
but no cross practice
just cutting through and taking it all in
lincoln memorial, washington monument, past treasury, then paused infront of the white house

passing in front of the white house I saw what appeared to be a couple on a park bench with the bikes
bicycle culture that are not messengers

I took there photos
we chatted
we passed the time
while I explained what I was doing with the camera and the blog
we were approached by an officer
there was a bicycle locked up to a fence across the street from the white house

the bike drew more official attention
we watched it unfold
there was some joking about the band my bike is a pipe bomb
then there was a bit of an evacuation
pink haired kim passed
I left with an effort to catch kim
but my evacuation was halted as I needed to snap a picture of that bicycle themed ink

the police had the park on lock down
I was not able to reel in kim with her pink hair, her pink rims, and star spangled track frame
what is spangled?

in our passing of the time there the name game
we of course linked to each other through the six degrees of brian liu

and these guys were involved in stage one of the women's garden bicycle tour
the guy with the tat on his leg rode with them to baltimore and filmed the first leg
they knew about the school yard garden bicycle hop

I wonder if that bicycle and all the excitement made the six o'clock news
I wonder if it was anything
I wonder if it was another incident with one of those stickers




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