Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear Washington DC Tourists,

1) STOP BLOCKING THE SIDEWALK. Hasn't anyone ever taught you how not to walk in clumps?

2) Along the same lines, the Washington Monument is visible from virtually every single spot on the National Mall. It's really not necessary to stop and take a picture of it from the middle of the sidewalk.

3) The next time I catch a group of you blocking the turnstiles to the Metro trains while I'm trying to get through with my bike and my train is coming, I promise I will throw things at you.

4) Could you kindly not stop and ask me for a brochure right as the light is turning green and I'm about to cross Constitution Avenue with a group of 15 cyclists at rush hour? Maybe you could take a look at and call the phone number we have typed in 100-point font on the 15 wheel insert advertisements...

Dear Washington DC Locals,

1) STOP WITH THE FUCKING BIKE BELL ALREADY. Yes, the sidewalks are shared pedestrian/cycling paths, and yes, bike bells are handy things, but that doesn't mean you need to go whizzing through at 50 mph on your road bike while clanging a bell and screaming "ON YOUR LEFT!!!!!" to everyone in sight.

2) Could you at least attempt to not knock softballs right into my groups of tourists? Those things hurt, even if we are wearing helmets.

3) Stop blocking my tours. You're not that important, even though you have a suit on.

4) On that same note, stop sneering and rolling your eyes at tourists. You do realize that tourism is this city's biggest and by far most profitable industry, right?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And for this week...

On my shit list:

The family of 9 from Belleville, IL. Specifically, the one who yelled at us for switching their tour time to an evening tour when the heat index was 109 during the day. Even more specifically, the guy in the family who said "What, is the Obama administration now trying to regulate when we can take bike tours?" Who was the same guy who passed an Indian family on the mall and yelled "Welcome to America!"

It disgusts me how rude and ignorant people (especially Americans) can be sometimes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


And one more entry for the day.

I have to say, as much as I really, really, really can't stand some (many) kids, there is nothing more charming in this world than a well-mannered child. And the few that are out there are forcing me to change my primary adjective describing children as a whole from "sticky" to "kinda cute."

Last night, it was a scorching 90+ degrees, even as it got dark. One dad on the tour was pulling two of his kids along in a Burley, and it was pretty cramped quarters for them. Now, normally kids whine and cry and complain about the Burleys, especially when it's hot and getting late--and really, who can blame them? But as we were pulling up to Jefferson, I heard the two little kids (aged about 4 and 6) yelling "Go Daddy, go! Go Daddy, go!" as he maneuvered his way through the tight spaces and concrete barriers. They were cheering their dad on rather than complaining about being jostled around. My heart melted just a little bit.

It got even better when the little boy couldn't stop grinning at me at the end of the tour. He kept reminding me of his name and saying "Thanks for the bike!" And his two older brothers, aged about 10 and 12, were trying to take each other out on their bikes until I told them to cut it out. And they listened. Without complaint. It was amazing. So, to whoever this family was from Palo Alto, thanks for raising great kids.

There was another girl from another family (I think they were from LA), probably about 12, who was apologizing for her dad being on his phone "24 hours a day" because he kept calling and texting people at each stop. I asked her if he had a job that kept him on the phone a lot, and she said "Yes...but he's standing here in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, and he's texting someone!" Insightful kid. I told her to remember that for when she gets older.

You know it's too hot to give tours when...

1) You come back from a double tour shift and are so incredibly out of it that one of your managers thinks you have heatstroke.

2) You come home and take off your work uniform only to discover that you have heat rash (again) on your chest.

3) One of your bosses has suggested that guides get trained for what to do when customers pass out.

4) One guide in particular has had 3 people with heat exhaustion on his tours.

5) Your Canadian/New England customers are melting into the sidewalk.

6) The bike seats become too hot to touch after being out in the sun for 5 minutes.

7) The water that you hand out to each customer is hot enough to quickly thaw a chicken breast (or maybe to poach an egg) after being out in the sun for 5 minutes.

8) It's so humid that you have to unstick your legs from each other before getting back on the bike.

9) Tour members start to sway and get woozy after standing outside of the Lincoln Memorial for about 2 minutes (there's no shade there).

10) You see a crowd of people outside the American Indian Museum rubbing their faces and hands all over a mysterious giant block of ice on the sidewalk. They have no idea and they do not care where it came from or why it's there or who touched it last.

11) Your Clif Bars have melted. Yes, melted.

12) It's 103 degrees with 50% or more humidity and DC has issued a heat advisory....

13)...and, with humidity, it's hotter here than it is in Phoenix, Arizona.

Well, duh.