Ride Home 8/29

This was the first time I've taken my bike from my office to the new house and I'm not entirely satisfied with my route. Massachusetts was fine, but it was also 3:30 and accordingly a little less hectic than the typical rush hour. Q street was ok, but there are too many lights and I just don't think that going right past Dupont is going to be a good long-term solution. The Kleinway, the hallmark piece of bike infrastructure in DC, is way ruddier and bumpier than it ought to be. I was surprisingly displeased. The area by the White House had some security tape, the part of the 15th street cycletrack by the Treasury was occupied by pedestrians, forced to walk there because some chain link fences blocked the sidewalk. It was only at Pennsylvania Avenue when things seemed demonstrably better.
Capitol Hill is, indeed, a hill. I rode up the Constitution side, but maybe the other side is less slopey.
From East Capitol down, it was a pretty good ride. A lot of bikes out. Also, a lot of people in uniforms with badges, which leads to my greater compliance with traffic laws. Though, based on the riding style of other cyclists, the uniformed people don't exactly enforce traffic laws.
I rode back from the house to our current place (we're not moving in officially until mid-September) down East Capitol and up Pennsylvania. It was around 6:30 and there were just tons and tons of bicyclists out. Working on the periphery of the city, I don't think I ever really gotten to see the extent to which the bike facilities and, more impressively, Capital Bikeshare are employed by commuters. Seeing this is quite heartening- especially because it means more and greater fodder for the blog bicycling is really taking root as a significant and meaningful means of transportation.
On Pennsylvania Avenue, I rode past Tommy Wells. Shout-out ensued. When I told the Official Wife, she first was like "cool" and then she was like "wait, you know what our councilmember looks like? We just bought the house last week." So, yeah.
15th still a mess on the way back, salmoned a bit to avoid the more oblivious of the pedestrians. Rode in front of the White House and out to Pennsylvania Avenue on the other side. I someone with a really cool saddle bag affixed to a nice Brooks saddle on what appeared to be a Surly LHT. I rode by and glanced back and it was MG from Chasing Mailboxes. I (sorrily) interrupted her conversation to congratulate her on PBP, introduced myself "Brian, Tales From the Sharrows" mumble-mouthed as usual and maybe fumbled through some other pleasantries that I can't remember. Anyway, I don't know if this counts as an official "meeting" or more like a bike-by accosting, but it was cool to run into a second local bike celebrity in one night.
Didn't run into any other local bike luminaries for the rest of the ride. It would be pretty wonderful for DDOT to pick up the Penn Avenue lanes on the other side of the White House and take them to Washington Circle, but I don't think that's going to happen. The Circle, as always, was harrowing, but there were lots of bicyclists going through so I think that had a somewhat calming effect on traffic. I rode 3/4 of the way around to New Hampshire and had to merge to the far right in front of a pink taxi in a way that in retrospect seemed a bit unsafe. Drivers coming down Penn from Georgetown really, really don't seem to be looking out for bike traffic in the circle even though they're supposed to be the ones yielding.
New Hampshire over the TR Bridge, up the MVT to the Custis to the usual way home up Wilson and Fairfax. Fewer bicyclists in Arlington, but it was later, so I'll cut them some slack. Plus, I think the evening bike traffic in Arlington is much more trail-based than on-street, though we'll soon have bike/ped counters to find out whether than assertion is in any way true.


  1. Welcome to the Hill! I think you'll find that riding up the Constitution side is the preferable option...traffic is much much lighter and there's more room for cars to pass...plus it's easier to access the Penn. bike lanes from that side. I'd really love it they added a bike lane, as Const. could easily lose a lane without adversely affecting traffic, but I think it's NPS jurisdiction, so I'm actually surprised they haven't banned bikes altogether and given the route over to Tourmobile. I personally love to play "dodge the road hazard" with the popup gates as I ride down the hill in the mornings...I wait until the last possible second before swerving, which at 30mph is quite the thrill.

  2. Hi!!! It was so great to briefly meet you yesterday and thanks so much for the kind words about PBP. Still riding the high from our magnificent ride! Next time, we chat!!

  3. @MG Absolutely. What you guys did was truly amazing, especially from the perspective of someone who takes it 7 miles at a time. I'm hoping for a longer write-up on your blog once you've had more of a chance to digest the whole thing. And given the relative smallness of the #bikeDC community, I'm sure we'll run into each other again and quite soon.

  4. @MM Thanks!I'm apt to agree about Constitution, although I noticed (via twitter) that it was close today for some sort of security whatnot. I rode up yesterday and it seemed that the car traffic wasn't entirely surprised by my being there, which is somewhat heartening. I don't know what to do about the pop-up gates other than to hope that they don't pop up, but you're totally right about the speed. Quite fast going down, which is great, except for maybe the stop light at the bottom of the hill. Maybe when they re-do Mass (?) by Union Station it'll be marginally better to go that way...?

  5. I prefer to use G, 9th, E and Mass over Penn Ave from the White House to Capitol Hill. Less hilly and more bike lanes.