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Commuter Stories(10 posts)

Commuter Stories1EyedJack
Mar 28, 2001 9:23 PM
Howdy all.

Something similar might've been done before, but how about postin' some bike commuting tales to liven things up.

I'll start with a short one:

Recently on my 5.5 mile short shot in to work on Chicago's west side me and my '87 Fisher MTB-turned-mutant-road-beast saw some guy wearing a bandana shouting and shoving another up against a car. As we got closer I noticed the other had his hands restrained behind his back and the car looked vaguely un-civilian. It took us a few seconds to realize we were witnessing our first ever undercover bust. I just put my head down, said a prayer (not something I normally do), and sprinted on by. Viva Chicago!

By the way, my bike's name is Michael. My girlfriend supports my semi-neurotic behavior (In fact, she gave Michael his name), so I'm not too worried about myself.
I'd be afraid to recycle my old stories here...Greg Taylor
Mar 29, 2001 6:49 AM
...about doing the commuter-thing here in Washington DC.

-- Like wandering into the path of the Presidential motorcade twice in one day (I KNOW that there is a Secret Service file somewhere with a picture of me and my bike in it...).

-- Or blundering into the flaming debris fallout zone during a fireworks display on the Mall. This was part of the recent inaugural celebration -- remember the awful Ricky Martin concert? The fireworks were the finale...I was cutting across the Washington Monument grounds when the Park Service cut loose. I was about 20 yards from they had placed the mortars that were used to hurl the fireworks in the air. I nearly turned myself inside-out when they went off. After scooping out my shorts, I quickly realized that I had the best seat in the house, so I stopped to watch the show. After about 5 minutes big chunks of flaming crap came floating down like volcanic ash. I got a couple of burns before I wised up and moved off...

The more you ride, the more you see!
re: Commuter Storiespmf
Mar 29, 2001 6:52 AM
I ride to work in DC. Its about 16 miles each way from Vienna, VA to DC. Perhaps my best story is this:

I was riding down the access road next to Constitution Ave on my way in one morning around 8:00 am. I crossed 18-th street and had to stop at a stoplight in order to cross Constitution. There were 4 joggers also on the corner, getting there about the same time as I did. They looked like the typical joggers that are all over the place in the morning on the mall. Two of them were real big/tall fit looking guys. Suddenly, these big guys were standing real close to me. Too close to me. One of them put his hand on my bike saddle. I looked up at him and saw a wire protruding from his ear. Could only mean one thing: secret service agents. I looked back, and right behind, about 3 feet away was Bill Clinton all pink and sweaty (the SS agents were not sweating). Traffic was cruising on by and I don't think anyone noticed him. No helicopters circling or limos following. I was tempted to ask the guy something smart-ass like "gee, will he be here tomorrow too?", but I resisted. The light changed, I rode off one way and they ran off the other.

Other cool things include seeing the Olympic torch (what the hell is that guy running around with a flaming stick for?) and a mother duck being followed by her 8-10 ducklings. She walked right out on Constitution Ave during rush hour and all the cars stopped in both directions, letting her cross.

Unfortunately, most mornings and evenings are spent trying not to get run over.
Oh wow...that's a good one!Greg Taylor
Mar 29, 2001 7:06 AM
That's a cool story! If you see a guy in that part of town riding a jade green Bianchi with yellow bar tape and carrying a red messenger bag, stop and say "hi" because that's me!
re: Commuter Storiesjunebride
Mar 29, 2001 8:04 AM
one of the strangest things i've seen on the commute... while on the bike/ped path in seattle (going thru mercer island) i saw up ahead what looked like a husky pulling a carriage. that seemed somewhat interesting in and of itself. but as i biked closer i realized it was a miniature horse, not even 3 feet tall, pulling a tiny horse-carriage, with two people sitting in it!

this was a d*mn funny sight. i keep hoping to see that tiny horse out there on the bike path again.
True - honestmuncher
Mar 29, 2001 8:08 AM
There was a guy in Westminster (London) a couple of months ago driving - yes really - a sofa. Full on tartan cloth, standard lamp poking up at back, the full works. Plates front and back, lights in the end of the arm-rests etc - absolutley true. Nearly rode into the Thames - never seen anything like it....
True - honestVelvet Gentleman
Mar 30, 2001 2:33 AM
I can verify that. I've seen him going about, and then I saw a feature about him on TV; he's also made a four poster bed, that he drives lying down, and some over odd driving furniture. Apparently the sofa will do 90 mph... road legal as well.
only in DC...Duane Gran
Mar 30, 2001 4:12 AM
It seems that there are a lot of people on this forum who also live in the DC area, so they will empathize with my observation.

There are certain things you only see in DC that make it special. Here is an example:

Although I wasn't exactly commuting, one Saturday as I was riding back home I decided to swing by the National Mall (big green lawn area between Capitol and Washington Monument for those who don't know) to see what was happening that day. Normally in the summer you can see a good protest or gathering. On this particular day I saw a group of Tibeten monks (about 30 of them) gathered around in a circle performing some form of chant/prayer. To my surprise, among them was the Dali Lama (sp?).

I was floored and stood there for a good five minutes watching. I love living in DC.
Was That An Off-Broadway Production Of "Hello Dali"? (nm)Greg Taylor
Mar 30, 2001 6:14 AM
WTO riotsTypeOne
Mar 30, 2001 11:39 AM
Most of the time, my commute is spent trying to keep from getting killed in downtown Seattle. I don't run into Presidential motorcades out here, but I thought the World Trade Organization protests in November 1999 were interesting.
I worked downtown on the day the protests formally began, and the area surrounding the courthouse, jail and other government facilities became an armed camp with all the nervous police running around. By mid-day, the news reports showed riot police spraying tear gas into crowds several blocks away. I lock my bike up in the county parking garage, which was closed when I went to it that evening at 5 PM. Signs on the door said "Law Enforcement Personnel Only" or something, but I figured hey--you've got my bike in there. So I found a side door that opened with my county-issued key, and walked to the bike racks. I was immediately accosted by a police sergeant who demanded to know what I was doing in there, etc. He and about 100 other cops were preparing to take to the streets in riot gear, which made them look like a battalion of Darth Vaders. It was very intimidating. The officer let me get my bike and leave, and I wondered why he was so spooked. Well, it could have been the bike pump and water bottle in my hand and the black balaclava I was wearing that made me look suspicously like some of the more violent protestors.
My ride home on sidestreets was uneventful, while cars and buses were snarled in traffic due to the disruption. All hell broke loose downtown that night, leading the city to "close down" downtown and force people out until 8 AM the next day. I rode to work just before 8 the next morning -- technically violating the curfew -- and went through the heart of the riot areas from the day before. Ghost town. Broken glass, spray paint, overturned newspaper boxes, trash, boarded up Starbucks, closed businesses. I saw no one but police officers on the streets of what was normally a busy avenue. But I didn't find any souvenir rubber bullets or tear gas cannisters. (Sorry ebay buyers.)It was strange to be on a bike and see things few others did--close enough to ground zero but quick enough to avoid being arrested.