1.27.2010

some words about the post that has yet to gestate in my head...

it happens... it does not happen often but it happens...
it happened today

today was the usual routine...

I woke up in a haze that the coffee just could not cut through
I went about my morning tasks in a robotic fashion
aided in getting the boys out of bed... assisted in feeding the boys... helped to push the boys out the door
then I walked the dog

in the winter I sometimes choose to speed up the morning process by suiting up once rather than twice
so... rather than dressing for the cold walk with the dog in street clothes
I go straight to the basement and suit up in cycling gear
this streamlines the process
this has its risks


it happens... not often... but it happens
I got out of the house and I was on my bike and I could tell something was off
not sure what it was... but I knew that something was off

today when I got on the bike... I knew something was off

knowing I had to get into work and did not have much time to troubleshoot the situation I started to pedal forward as I thought about what was missing

BLACKBERRY? check.
BUILDING PASS? check.

WALLET? check.
CHANGE OF CLOTHES? check.
HELMET? check.

a few strokes down the alley and it was all revealed to me... I was still wearing "street shoes" not my cy
cling shoes with the cleat that connect me to the pedals
knowing that I had to be at work and get my day started I stayed the course and did not alter my trajectory
this day was not going to have any riding to speak of other than the short straight ride to work and then home again

luckily last night offered a post work spin...
I could manage the short straight ride to work and then back home with street shoes balancing on the clipless pedals

yesterday I got out of work a few minutes early...
having the afternoon sun and some time before heading home to be with the family I decided I would take a spin around town with the camera dangling around my neck

on my Jamis Exile 29er Single Speed I over spun the small gear that is geared for mountain in an effort to keep pace with traffic
I rolled with traffic gliding forward with the lights
not having any real destination in mind I went where the flow of traffic allowed me
knowing all along that any deviation from my undecided course could be modified and set back on this undefined course to the undetermined location

it felt good to spin the cranks
it has been too long since I have done anything that would really constitute as a ride
heck... it has been a long while since I have done anything that would constitute a work out
the cold weather with the wet earth has robbed me of any ambition to go mountain biking

the responsibilities of life and the pleasures of parenthood have pushed the bicycle back a few slots in the queue

weekends have been all about kid's basketball... ice skating... and hanging out
there have been very few efforts to get on the bike
there just has not been that much desire to get on the bike
so yesterday... as short as it was... it was good to be out on the bike


out on the bike with the camera around my neck I snapped some shots of cyclists I tried to carry on a conversation all the while focusing on being smart and safe on the bike

now if and only if we could get the car drivers to have some of the same concern for themselves and others

around me I see the same set of actions repeated car after car
cell phones... blackberrys... and iPhones...

drivers splitting their attention between the real world and the electronic world
more of their focus on the electronic than the real

putting others in more danger then themselves

DANGER... DANGER... DANGER!

I try to scoot past and put myself somewhere where I am free and clear

at a good pace I split lanes of traffic always anticipating that there will be a lane switch in front of me

multiple times I am put at risk by drivers failing to behave as they should

in the dual turn lane I take a turn while the car in the center lane which is left turn only decides to go
straight
I accelerate and make the pass in front of his or her grill... there was really no time for eye contact... no time to identify the driver
did they every see me? do they see me now? do they see me flipping them off?

I know... I know... I know...
giving somebody the finger is no way to improve the bicycle car relationship
but there is something about an idiot or an asshole putting my life at risk gets my blood boiling
sometimes I react inappropriately

further on I get an inverse to that situation

this time I am in the center lane which is left turn only
the car to the right of me makes the turn then tries to take my lane as his lane is being blocked by constru
ction
good foresight my friend... but please take all variables into account... my life being one of those variables

no flipping of the bird... there was no real danger... I was seen and he slowed to let me pass at the las
t minute... granting me not only my right of way but also my right to my own personal safety

sprinting ahead I make the light before yellow turns to red
maintaining a good pace I am in the left hand lane
there is a car in the right hand lane
fast... wild... with no turn signal... and right in front of me this ASSHOLE takes a U-turn mid block right
had the timing been different it would have been right on top of me

I panic stop
... brakes are pulled hard
I am out of the saddle and ridding the dual wheel skid
knobbies are being worn down as my pace is slowed


my heart rate goes up as my speed comes down

T-Bone averted
as the car finishes its ignorant and erratic mid block U-turn I admire the whiskey dents all over a car that does not look that old
it seems that foolish behavior is that drivers signature
they get the finger
they did not see me before... I would not expect them to see me now

ahead I spot a subject for the camera
I thrust forward to get the shot before we reach the bumper to bumper traffic
a hello and then a mention of the blog

he is a messenger and aware of the Gwadzilla Page

he has been on the page... he is pleased with the prospect of having his picture taken
this cyclist slows as if to stop for the photo opportunity

I tell him to keep rolling and we can shoot on the move


I split my focus between the line of cars piled up in front of me and he cyclist along side of me

I snap a few shots before it is time to focus on the traffic around me

we exchange a few words as we roll down Massachusetts Avenue towards Union Station
I gain some ground on him after a good by but am then caught at a red light that can not be run
I snap another shot then we all pedal forward

approaching Union Station I pass a commuter in business casual
only after making the pass and rolling on ahead I realize it is my old friend Craig
I slow and stop allowing Craig to catch up
he catches up... we catch up... I snap a few shots
we exchange pleasantries and discuss what is happening with the families
there is no mention that this is the eve of his 11th Anniversary
lots of information is passing back and forth but no mention of this

happy anniversary craig and agi


my trajectory is altered as I let my path follow craig's path... we catch up some more as we ride...
as we approach Eastern Market I see Jay Moglia... WOW!... three times in a day... had not seen or photoed Jay in months... then I catch Jay three times in a day... go figure

Craig and I peel off in different directions after a few more social blocks
the light is starting to drop and I start pointing things towards home

the light is such that I am no longer so focused on the camera

with both hands on the grips I hammer through traffic that has become more thick and a tad more aggressive... this is rush hour in the city

pointed back for home I circle a number of the urban parks on Capital Hill
the dog walkers and the families in the toddler parks are making good use of this urban space
not so worked up by the winter temperatures
in the last and final park before Union Station I spot a small child on a "like-a-bike" push bike apparatus

I slow myself down and move in that direction
normally I do not ask to take photos of people on the move

but children are a little different

I approach the young boy's father and make quick mention of the blog and wanting to take picture of his son
he is open to the idea... we connect... it is an open and friendly conversation between two men who love bikes and love their children

he is obviously proud of his son who is quite the master of his little push bike
I snap a few shots then share a genuine goodbye


I am reminded that I enjoy my photo hobby for its social benefits as much as anything else
it is interesting to meet strangers and get invited into their heads

I like that

back on the bike and am fighting traffic again
there have been a number of near misses and close calls
I shed them as they happen

no need to carry that stuff with me
just important to anticipate and avoid the danger

as I pass the NPR building I snap a shot of a woman riding her bike on the sidewalk

in a happy go lucky sort of way she asks while smiling why I have just taken her photograph
I take to the sidewalk... a little winded with a mouth full of spit I try to explain things... I try to snap a few more
shots... none of the shots come out... not enough light
she more than likely forgot my last name that would aid in GOOGLE-ING and finding the Gwadzilla Page

she goes straight while I turn left by the Washington Convention Center
on the move I take a shot of a man on the bike... he shouts out... I recognize the voice as I recognize the form
it is Moose... Moose was a messenger decades ago... I know him from way back when

I stop and we catch up
more men talking about life... life and kids


this ride has been more social and more photography than a work out
yet there is some exercise tucked in there somewhere
something is better than nothing
I finish my ride zigging and zagging my way up to 14th Street and then on towards Columbia Heights

when passing Marvin I spot a woman on the bike... she had a rough urban look... but there was not
enough light to concern myself with trying to capture the shot
instead I hammer up the hill... feeling pretty okay... but feeling the reality that I am not in very good shape
I take the full lane forcing cars to pass on the left
there is the usual tailgating bus behind me

but i have learned that if I ride submissively it just rewards the aggressive driver
that metro bus can pass me if it wishes... but I am not looking
to get doored or pinnd against the curb

we all have to share the space... I am making the drivers around me make the safe smart decision
a few drivers pass me without exiting the lane
either sloppy driving or obnoxious

so seldom do drivers pass the suggested three feet away


through Columbia Heights and then on towards Mount Pleasant
PARK ROAD between 14th Street and 16th Street is the usual cluster fuck... the Wizards at DDOT did a great job of designing a slow rolling parking lot here
I make my way through with some frustration but little issue

at home I am greeted by my boys, my wife, and my dog
it is a lazy post school day evening

there is mention of the Wilson pool... but we went their the night prior... no need to burn out on that winter w
eekday option
we stay local... Grant runs over to a neighbors... Lisa walks the dog... Dean and I try to figure out th
e WiFi potential of his Nintendo DSi

the night winds down with more of the same

Grant returned from his friends house... I settled in with the boys and put on some college basketball in an effort to give them a better understanding of the sport of basketball as whole
then we followed it up with some Discovery Channel thing on Thai Kick Boxing

then bedtime for the boys
like a fool I blog after the kids go to bed rather than go to bed myself
too many images on the camera... tough to resist checking them all out


my hobby is a passion and a compulsion
I like it
but i need to sleep

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