The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Archive for March, 2011

D.C. Third in Percentage of Women Bike Commuters

Posted by thearrow on March 31, 2011

Bravo D.C.! Now you can understand why I’m raving about biking to work. Better said, I’m the one who now understands why I’m doing this. I’m just lucky to live here.

I found the info at The national bike map below is the work of Kory Northrop, a master’s student in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Oregon. Hats off, Kory! Great job.

As Tanya Snyder wrote on the DC Streets Blog,

“The male-female ratio is no trivial factoid. Women are considered an “indicator species” for cycling. When the conditions are right, female cyclists multiply. When urban biking feels like a game of Pole Position, the ladies tend to find other modes.”

However, going back to the Greater Greater Washington piece, I found these impressions of other women bikers worrisome:

“Basically, drivers seem to be more deferential to people riding bikes if they’re women, riding upright, and wearing street clothes.”

First, I’m not comfortable in street clothes on the bike and, with 13 miles each way, you can forget about me looking feminine. I look like the road warrior I need to be. Riding upright means you’re not on a road bike, so you’re perceived as less competitive than the boys, but I’m okay with deference to women bikers because they seem more fragile.

But not so fragile as to put themselves at risk, as indicated in this other biker’s impressions:

Dottie, a Chicago cyclist, “also observed that an important element for getting this deference is either not wearing a helmet or wearing a brightly colored feminine-looking helmet with hearts or flowers.”

Say whaaat? So, by doing something that puts them at risk of brain damage–not wearing a helmet–women become safer because drivers will protect them? Now that’s the kind of fragility no woman should try for.

Otherwise, I have no problem with flowers on the helmet or some other quirky, fun way to stand out. I just prefer my “don’t f*** with me” face I mentioned here when in traffic, even though I gave up on biking on Connecticut Avenue a long time ago for the simple reason that I’d rather not die of a heart attack at my age :).

Later edit: In response to Dottie’s concern that I misrepresented what she wrote, let me be clear:

I know she didn’t say that not wearing a helmet makes women safer. I only said that her impression was that drivers seem to have more deference to women if they don’t wear a helmet. So it wasn’t her blog post I had a problem with (absolutely not!), but this twisted attitude towards women bikers that seems to encourage unsafe practices.


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Ballet on the Bike

Posted by thearrow on March 29, 2011

On a BMX bike. Not your typical bike-to-work commute 🙂 Or mine.

Later edit: I can post a video of myself slogging up the Crescent Trail with everyone else whizzing by me, but something tells me that won’t be as inspiring.

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Posted by thearrow on March 29, 2011

I’d like to come up with a better explanation for why I’m not posting more regularly but, really, the truth is, I’m just not in the mood for it. The good news is that I have a lot of drafts so I haven’t run out of things to say. The less-than-good news is that, you got it, I have a bout of laziness. I can’t even say I’m struggling with it :).

In other good news, though, we’re moving to a bigger apartment soon, so I’m hoping to get very inspired once we have more space and I can insulate myself from the TV. I already have these wild dreams of me studying, reading, and writing for hours…

Posted in dream | 2 Comments »

Et In Curacao Ego

Posted by thearrow on March 18, 2011

Later edit: Here’s the complete photo album, for those who want more:

That’s where we were for a few very short days last week and where my mind still is. Steve went to a conference and I happily tagged along. More about it (and more pics) later, but for now I just wanted to post a few words and images so that you can have an idea of what the place looks like.

The city is Willemstad, the capital of the island, which is one of the five or six Caribbean islands that make up the Netherlands Antilles. Everybody speaks Dutch and/or English and Spanish (or all three) and Papiamentu, a mix of those three and the languages of the West African people that were brought over as slaves. It’s fascinating. I love the fact that the place is so vibrantly multicultural and has such a rich history, although it’s true that all this was based on exploitation and colonialism. Willemstad dates back from the 17th century and hosts, among other things, a 360-year old synagogue. The buildings in the first pic are old warehouses, now restored.

Posted in fun | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Gone for a Little Bit

Posted by thearrow on March 8, 2011

This actually refers to me, not Gadhafi. I did want to write about the latest terrible developments there but life got in the way and now I’ll be gone for a week. Kristen, I owe you a response; hope to get to it next week.

One thing I have to say, though. That the United States and the West in general don’t see the urgency for intervening promptly with military force to rid Libya of Gadhafi and is caught in all sorts of sophisms about possible negative consequences of doing this, after having backed him up for decades,  is unconscionable. I’m completely baffled as to why the U.N. and other powerful international organizations simply don’t have cojones when it comes to military intervention in situations that everyone in this world can agree are completely justified. Do the U.S. and U.N. powers that be sleep better that there are now one million Libyans in need of humanitarian aid rather than having gone after Gadhafi and stomp on him like you do on a venomous snake?

Just asking.

Cheers everyone! I’ll be back.

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