10.16.2012

ah... the mornings...

mornings...
mornings are not my favorite part of the day
yet I tend to start my day with mornings
nearly every day I start my day with the morning

I wake early to the sound of my iPhone alarm ringing...
spend an extra minute or two in bed petting my dog Didg
then put my feet on the floor... stand up... and start moving
my movements in the morning are slow
ankles are usually tight 
brain is usually inactive

there is not that much time to do the things I need to do
the 7am "in time" at work comes fast


so...
robotic-ally I move about the tasks of the day
leaving the dog upstairs in bed I hobble down the stairs
if my wife has not started the coffee maker... I start the coffee maker
load my backpack with clothing for the day
suit up to walk the dog
pour a cup of coffee

the coffee goes by the front door and I grab Didg's leash
walk up the stairs and gently request Didg to get up and go outside
Didg yawns... Didg stretches... it is not uncommon for Didg to stand up and throw his body back on the pillow... trying to steal one more second of slumber
the gentle request becomes a snap of the fingers and some motivating words

this morning ran that same routine
nothing special about the morning
no squaring off with a 5 point Buck in the woods
a pair of eyes were spotted that could have been a fox... but more likely a raccoon, an opossum, or a cat
but that is not so unusual

with a Petzel headlamp illuminating the trail in front of me I march the same morning loop I march each morning
some mornings I forget the headlamp and my Zombie Shuffle becomes a Zombie Stumble
the headlamp is requisite

without anything to talk about Didg and I do a loop in the woods
Didg gets to stretch his legs and "take care of business"

back in the house I do not have much more time
need to stay on task
can not deviate from the priorities of the moment
gotta suit up and head into work

the dog is off the leash
the leash is hung on the hook
the empty coffee cup is placed in the sink when it should just go in the dishwasher
in the basement I slip out of civilian clothing and step into my standard uniform on the bike
lycra kit... one of my many DCMTB cycling kits

my ride into work is short...
but even with my short 15-20 minute hustle through the streets of downtown DC I can break a sweat
so much a sweat that I could not wear my business casual
so... I wear cycling gear... which is good... as it motivates me to ride after work

yes...
it can be frustration... especially in the colder months
the colder it gets... the longer it takes to suit up
it seems foolish to spend 5 minutes getting dressed for a 15-20 ride

out the back door and I make my way to the alley
in the alley I am on the bike
it is still dark out and I realize that I do not have any lights on my bike
no lights to see... no lights to be seen

sure the sun is rising and there are street lights
but the blinking Knog style lights really help to make the cyclist visible

up my alley and onto the streets and my morning starts
a taxi cab comes up the hill and does not see me
I could have zipped in front of him... but let him proceed as I can see he does not see me
he slows and stops in front of me
impeding my way

I nearly fall from my track stand
but he moves forward just in time for me to start my momentum forward
he is still oblivious to me
the driver of this "eco friendly" cab driver seems lost and confused
that is not strange for a cab driver
I can see that he is more focused on his GPS than the world around him as he nearly hits a couple walking their dog and starting to cross the street

up the block and down the road I give a hearty good morning to my neighbor who is out walking his dog
we pass each morning around the same time
in fact... the morning unfolds with the same routine each day for others just like it does for me
each day I tend to see the same assortment of people doing the same things at the same time each day

I see the same people walking their dogs at roughly the same spots each morning
I see the same people jogging on the sidewalks at nearly the same spots each morning

we are all creatures of habit
all trying to keep our schedules by maintaining our routines

I take a right rolling through a Stop Sign without stopping...  there are no cars coming... and I am on a bike
it is the rational thing to do
in so many ways the bicycle is closer to the pedestrian  than the car

my spidey senses start tingling
in the distance behind me I can hear and feel a car
there is some distance between us
but the car is closing ground fast

my hands come off the hoods
I go to an upright position
there is a red light ahead of us
my arms open wide and I coast towards the intersection where one car is already stuck in queue waiting for the green

the car is going to have to slow down
I find their approach to be threatening
it seems unnecessary for them to be moving so fast on these residential streets
I also feel as if they have made not modification of their speed or intensity due to my presence

at the intersection I drift to the right hand turn lane
things are clear
the light is red... but I proceed through the intersection
it is more safe for me to keep momentum and keep rolling

it is hard for me to refrain from flipping off this car that is now second in line waiting for the light
but I manage
there is no issuing of the bird
no sign language is exchanged

through the intersection on through the streets of my neighborhood of Mount Pleasant
more morning activity
the same people jogging in roughly the same places
the same people walking their dogs in roughly the same places
and the same people marching to the metro and what not in roughly the same places
their morning routine matches up with my morning routine

the roads are nearly vacant
on Mount Pleasant Street I take the full lane
often I ride in the center NO MAN'S LAND on Mount Pleasant Street
seldom do I ride all the way to the right

the bicycle goes unseen by the people opening their car doors
cars are pulling into parking spaces and cars are pulling out of parking spaces
white vans are making erratic U-Turns so that they can get their morning coffee or whatever from the 7-11
it is the same chaos each morning

again the Spidey senses start tingling
I can feel it... I glance back... a Metro Bus is heading down Mount Pleasant Street
I am not sure if Keneau Reeves or Sandra Bollock is driving it
but I can feel its SPEED

I fade to the right
watching for activity from the parked cars
watching for pedestrian activity in between the parked cars
like a train passing through the train station the bus moves past me an an absurd speed
then just ahead the bus fades to the right to pick up some passengers
I fade back to the left to go around the vehicle that is obstructing two lanes

rolling forward Mount Pleasant fades into Adams Morgan
at Pigeon Park the light is green... I maintain my momentum
16th Street Traffic has the Red
Columbia Road Traffic has the Green
I have a merge area with a Yield sign

there is a gap large enough that it is logical that I proceed forward and merge in with this traffic
sure enough
when I take this space the cars behind me accelerate forward
I sharpen my elbows and take my space
the cars can be competitive for the space
so often illogically so

it is amazing that I can spend more time typing up a meaningless rant about a bike ride
the typing of the rant taking longer than the ride itself

on Columbia Road I move faster than the bikes on the right
the bike in the Sharrow and the Bike Lane move along
I pass them on their left with an audible warning if I pass close
there is one rider who I pass each day that gets a little more of a hello

he works at the Phillips Collection as a custodian
he rides with a blue hoodie over his head... keeping his ears warm on the cold morning
his hands are covered by the sleeves stretched over them
we exchange hellos
trying to make it to work on time I keep my pace he keeps his 

there is the usual bullshit
another white van doing that standard white van bullshit
not a U-Turning White Van
but an obnoxiously fast white van pulling past me and then pulling in front of me to get a space
assholes in white vans... idiots in white vans
idiots and assholes in white vans

again...
cars are competitive with me
it they make anything that resembles a stop at the stop signs and red lights I can flow through faster and more fluidly
yes... I am modifying the law
but so are they
I am not saying they should roll through the Stop Signs... which so many do
but I accept that people will move at a rate faster than the Speed Limit

at the intersection of Columbia and Conneticutt Avenue there is a stack of cars in the queue
I move to the front of the queue by splitting lanes
at the front of the line is a DC Police vehicle
the light is red, but there are no cars within view in either direction
the pedestrain crosswalk reads 25... rather than wait 25 seconds
after stopping I proceed through

it is a risk... but I would think that this officer has bigger fish to fry
and really
as said before...
my actions on the bike are closer to the pedestrian than the car
so... just as the pedestrian will JAYWALK... I will JAYBIKE!

so... I rolled through the light and then pointed down the hill
anxious that the officer would chase
yet... I believe that my actions were rational and within the limits of the law
as I am on a bike... not in a car
and well
they need to better understand things

it may fall under the notion...
until the law protects me... the law does not apply to me

or better yet
CONTROL THE CAR CHAOS... and the bicycles and pedestrians will follow suit
but to issue tickets to people on bike or people on foot when the cars rule the streets like metal clad bullies
well... that is just illogical

to hold the bicycle up to THE LETTER OF THE LAW
is unfair
cars are driving sloppy all over the city
speeding... talking on cell phones... rolling through stop signs and stop lines
not giving anyone else the right to safety or space

well...
there were no flashing blue and red lights in my shadow
there was no audible alert telling me to pull over
I rolled down the hill
car traffic caught up to me
cars swarmed around me aggressively

fast cars swooping across multiple lanes
forcing me to slow and allow them to take the space in front of me
only to get to the base of the hill where cars were queued at the light
I progressed to the right

hitting the light just as it turned green
I got the jump on traffic
again... taking the full lane
moving at speed

expressing that SUBMISSIVE CYCLING ENABLES AGGRESSIVE DRIVING
I held my ground
not allowing the swarm of aggressive drivers to pass within my lane
not allowing them to put me at risk

sure enough...
almost as if to make a point
several drivers pass partially in my lane
when the two lanes to my left were flowing such that there was no need to proceed so close to me

the speeding car traffic to my left dipped under Dupont Circle while I peeled off to the right

the final blocks much like the blocks before
fast moving cars in a hurry to get to their destination
many of which moving at an absurdly fast rate expecting me to clear the path as if they are the King of Siam

but no...
I hold my ground
the road is narrow due to construction
there is one lane
I take the full lane

again progressing forward when it is free and clear
slowing at Red Lights as if they are Yield Signs
going was free and clear
getting away from the car congestion behind me
putting space between me and the cars that seem threatening to me

ah...
I made it
at work
another day... another 15-20 minute commute
looking forward to a longer ride after work where I can clear my head and my legs
body still sore from the MoCo Epic 65 Mile off road event the weekend prior

enough on this
no need to proof
just PUBLISH AND POST



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