Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bicycle Traffic Report

I regularly have the radio on at work in the background, usually NPR, occasionally sports talk radio. A feature common to all types of stations is the rush hour traffic report. I've never driven to work more than a handful of times a year in DC, and that's usually been on weekends. So selfishly I find these reports annoying. If nothing else, they take away from time that could otherwise be devoted to more informative or entertaining programming.

Never mind the fact that, barring major accidents, they just announce the same bottlenecks and backups over and over and over day after day. For all I know, they've been running the same report recorded two years ago every day. Being a DC traffic reporter reminds me of jokes about how hard it must be to work as a weatherman in San Diego. Weather today? Sunny and 78. Weather tomorrow. Sunny and 78. Weather the next day. 78 and... Traffic in the DC area today? 95 south slow from 14th St Bridge all the way to Occoquan. Tomorrow: 95 south slow from 14th St Bridge all the way to Occoquan. Next day: 95 south... Well, you get the point.

Since I hear these traffic reports so often, I like to imagine what what a bicycle traffic report would be like as I ride home. I think it would go something like this:
Radio Program Anchor Joe: And now for the latest bicycle traffic report we turn to our very own Roland McCogs. Roland.
Roland: Thanks. Well, we've got a few reports of roving groups of tourists on and around the Mall walking five abreast blocking the entire path near the Washington Monument, so you're looking at a slow ride from Constitution Avenue down to the Jefferson Memorial.  
The Mount Vernon Trail is a smooth ride. That rider with a flat near the 14th Street Bridge we reported earlier has courteously moved his bike to the the side of the trail for repairs. You might encounter a minor delay of if you or another rider asks to check and make sure the affected rider has everything he needs to get going again. Delays are five seconds or less.  
Capital Crescent Trail is heavy near the trailhead in Georgetown, but conditions improve as you get closer to Chevy Chase. Beware the joggers with their headphones in, though, who can't hear your bell as you approach to pass. There seem to be quite a few out today.
The sun is bright, but there aren't any sunshine delays heading west on the Custis Trail through Arlington, since the Custis is pleasant and shaded unlike those wide, but still congested, interstate highways.
Should be a nice ride home, everyone. Remember to keep your smug smile on the inside as you speed past the motorists stuck in traffic on the bridge.
Back to you, Joe.
Joe: Thanks, Roland.
It's kind of a fun to pretend anyway...

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