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Gear Prudence: My friend has a theory that the most unsafe time to bike to work is the morning after a Pigskins loss. He thinks drivers are cranky and distracted by sports talk radio dissecting the team’s latest failure and more likely to honk at cyclists or have road rage. I’ve never noticed this before, but do you think this is a real phenomenon? —Distressed About Nearby Sports Negativity, You Drive Erratically, Ragefully
Dear DANSNYDER: There’s no doubt that Washingtonians love their football team, or that the collective regional mood vacillates with the highs and, more often, lows that accompany the fortunes of the squad, so the theory isn’t implausible. But I don’t know if a poor performance so obviously translates into angrier road behavior, especially towards bicyclists. Presumably, after loss eight or so, “road rage” morphs into something closer to “road despair,” manifesting in slower speeds, brought on by a reticence to get to an office populated by fans of more successful teams. Plus, even if this phenomenon were real, it’d be a mere 150 theoretical bike commutes marred by losses since 1999, a scant percentage of rides overall if you bike daily. So don’t sweat it. And remember, to many fans of the local football team, road rage is not offensive at all; it’s actually a sign of honor and respect. —GP
Gear Prudence: The holidays are coming up and I’d love to get my partner some bike stuff. But she’s so particular, and I’m a non-biker, so I don’t know where to start. I’ve tried to get her bike accessories before (even with recommendations from people at the shop), and each time I can tell she’s disappointed and that it’s not exactly what she wants. Do you have any advice on something I can get her that she won’t immediately want to return? —Seeking Answers, Not Trying Alone
Dear SANTA: I respect your desire not to just hand her some cash and say, “Here, buy some bike stuff.” While effective, that’s not a very fulfilling present. Though I can also understand not wanting to be met with fake smiles and dubious claims of gratitude when she opens a not-quite-exactly-right bike-themed gift. You could ask your partner in advance for some ideas, but don’t be surprised if you nod off as she goes into great detail about how this particular bottom bracket (whatever that is) is sooooo much better than the one she already has. Maybe it’s best to stay clear of the bike presents. Certainly your partner has other interests (if not, try to cultivate some; all bike and no play makes Jane a dull girl), and those might be more scrutable gift-wise. If you must do bike gifts, work around the margins. Think favorite pre-ride breakfasts or preferred post-ride drink. Or Simple Green. Everyone could use more Simple Green. —GP