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Gear Prudence: If you could add, change, or delete one D.C. law or regulation to make cycling better, what would it be? For me, it would be legalizing the Idaho Stop (or treating stop signs like yield signs when no cars are there). —Which Highly Anticipated Theoretical Improvement Fascinates?
Dear WHATIF: There’s little doubt in GP’s mind that a stop-as-yield law would help, but since that would mostly just codify widespread existing practice, its impact would be limited. It would help people who bike now, but would it really persuade more people to ride? If you really want D.C. to dramatically improve things for bicyclists, you need to be much bolder.
The best way to help cycling isn’t to directly help it at all, but rather to institute congestion pricing—charging people a fee to drive in certain parts of the city—and use the money to fund better transit. What prevents most people from getting around by bike is the lack of dedicated safe space for cycling. The reason there’s no space for bikes is the absolute dominance of cars (moving and parked) on our roads. Challenging that primacy and shifting people traveling long distances to efficient transit is a prerequisite for better biking. As pricing reduces car trips, road space can be easily reallocated. With more room and less worries about getting run over, you would see an immediate dramatic uptick in short-distance bicycling. —GP
Gear Prudence: Like most people, I like pizza. Like some people, I ride a bike. But I’ve never biked home a whole pizza. It seems doable, but can I do it without any special equipment and without getting hot melted cheese all over my bike and/or the street? —Man Attempts Riding Gooey Hot Entree Right Into The Apartment
Dear MARGHERITA: You could probably balance the pie on the handlebars, and if you don’t go too fast and don’t mind having only one hand on the brakes, you’d probably make it home with pizza, bike, and rider intact. This strategy limits your ability to react to various hazards (bumps, negligent drivers, voracious and ambitious rats), increases the likelihood of pepperoni-smelling bar tape, and only requires balance and bravado rather than additional equipment.
If you determine that this method is too risky, you don’t need to invest in a hot bag (like the pros use) unless you’re going a long way and want to ensure your pizza remains piping hot. A rack or basket and some bungee cords should be enough to secure your slices, assuming the cardboard is sufficiently stout and the tension not too tight. If the pizza is especially greasy, give the rack a quick wipe after you get home. Science has yet to prove if mozzarella juice is an effective chain lubricant, so you can just toss the paper towels afterward. —GP