If it can be called a sport. I guess it can. And it directly relates to driving. Except your life is more up for grabs than if you’re in a car. My friends that cycle with me will agree - there’s something to riding in traffic. Here in Washington, DC we’ve got quite a bit in the way of traffic. I can think of (almost) no greater rush than riding with and around traffic on 14th and Pennsylvania at rush hour on any given weekday. It’s like the first time a Hino delivery truck pulls in front of you. You saw it coming from 200 feet back and have already leaned a quick left then back right to avoid collision - unconciously unclipping from the pedal and clipping back in - and raising your fist in the air - you realize that you are in fact alive and alert. It’s as if all the cars are just big dumb animals. You spot their errors before they’ve made them and you’ve already begun reacting.
Cars lined up behind you as far as you can see at a stop light. Before the light turns green, you’ve already clipped in and are crossing the intersection - aware of every car within 500 feet. The light turns and with an effort that distorts the grin that’s pasted to your face, you leave the pack of cars that are just realizing there’s a green light in front of them. As you top-out at 30mph and slow down for the next light, the cars catch up and once again you anticipate the light and when the pack of traffic can no longer move because of congestion, you’ve already dodged into the empty oncoming traffic lane and have diverted back to a turn lane, pumping with all your might to make the light - not because you’re in a hurry, but because you want to keep the state of alertness and adrenaline rush that you think about between rides.
Is there anything of yours we can take as a momento of this visit?
Who can have a decent ride without a music bed? And it’s got to be techno. Not that wanna-be Madonna pop crap either. Couple of weeks ago I’m riding down 18th Street past some building I should know and directly over a steaming manhole cover. As I ride across it I realize it’s REALLY steaming. Like a blowhole of 300 degree steam at 200psi shooting up my leg and into my face. Normally, this wouldn’t be a real big deal - I’m going - oh wait I can’t see the speedometer. Can’t see the GPS. Can’t see - oh shit - sunglasses fogged up. At last check I was riding briskly behind a city bus with another one in tow. Yank the glasses down and peer over them just in time to see the bus stopping. Brakes. Is there anything of yours we can take as a momento of this visit? Take California. Lean left around the bus lean left again joining up with traffic leaving a light on Constitution.
Yeah it’s good. ‘Till you get locked in your clips and fall over at a brisk 1mph in front of the Marine Corps Memorial at noon on a Saturday. That’s just grand. You’re too embarrassed to even reply much less look at the woman asking if you’re okay from across the grass. Get up. Get up now. Ride away, just ride away. Nobody really saw that. The tour bus full of camera-flashing “We’re from Orlando”’s, armed National Guard guys walking everywhere and that guy with too-short jogging shorts missed that.
Steve walks warrily down the street with the brim pulled way down low.