Ride In 2/15

Spring temperatures only lasted a day and it was back to the full winter ensemble today. But it was sunny, though windy, and since I stay late at work on Tuesdays, I tend to take a longer ride to work because I try to work only the number of hours mandated by my employer and no more. Today I decided that I would head down Wilson/Clarendon and then down 15th to Fairfax and then up Lynn through Rosslyn. I don't think I'm going to do that again, at least not any time soon, because I find riding down Clarendon to be kind of depressing. Sure there's a bike lane, but there's also a lot of stop lights and turning cars and I think I spend more time with my feet dropped than actually pedaling. I have a similar problem on Fairfax, but I think that my timing of the lights is better and I'm rewarded at the end by biking through a sedate residential neighborhood rather than a stretch where someone might at the last second decide to make a sharp right across a bike lane into a Starbucks. One with inadequate (but free) parking no less. (Why does that Starbucks even need a lot anyway? It's like, what, two spaces? Just park on the street! Somebody tell Shoup.)

Almost got hit by a truck on Lynn Street past 19th (where they're putting the CaBi station!). The bike lane is between the right turn lane and another traffic lane. Truck was trying to pull out from in front of the building where I just learned Rosetta Stone is headquartered (to the best of my knowledge, it was not ex-Mayor Fenty driving) to get into the travel lane. Just didn't see me coming and I didn't see him start to pull out. I think I said, meekly "Please don't hit me. Don't hit me" as I unclipped my left foot and swerved left. Since the cars in the travel lane weren't moving on account of the stop light, I wasn't too concerned abut crossing into another car's path. It wasn't the closest call I've ever had, but it's something worth acknowledging.
Lynn Street around the 66 entrances is a weird place for cyclists, since the bike lane extends to Lee Highway and then stops, at which point you have to get on the sidewalk and around the lamppost (take the inside). Then it's more sidewalk riding, crossing the 66 offramp and then past the bike/ped intersection of doom where the Custis meets Mount Vernon meets Key Bridge meets giant lamppost meets uneven sidewalk meets not enough space for any user. Once you get past that, you then get to cross the GW Parkway traffic coming onto the Key Bridge. Today, a woman driving a Mercedes was more interested in her cell phone than yielding to pedestrians and cyclists. I sarcastically waved, which I regret because it made me look as petty as I actually am. She didn't see me. I think that bicyclists will start stopping fully at stop signs around the same time that motorists always yield at crosswalks. That's not meant to be a quid pro quo or a statement on the relatively legality or safety of those practices, but just an observation.
I biked over the bridge and down M to Wisconsin and then underneath the horrible Whitehurst Expressway (I disagree with this guy) and then onto the Capital Crescent Trail.
Even though riding the CCT adds about three miles to my trip, it's pretty fun. I like to count the number of cyclists I pass coming in the opposite direction (I'm doing what could be referred to as a reverse commute, since I'm heading up from downtown). Today, I counted 33 between the entrance and where I go up the stairs around Manning Pl, NW, which isn't bad for February. In the summer, at the peak of bicycle commuting "season", I've counted more than 100. Using this scientific methodology, I conclude that cycling is about a third as popular in the winter (Who needs fancy counters?). Even though the trail is a "mixed use" trail, it's pretty much just a bike highway, at least during the morning and evening rush hours. As an aside, I think it'd be cool if the local tv morning news covered bike traffic the same way they did car traffic, but there wouldn't be as much to say. I guess they could report ice patches and downed trees or something. The helicopter might make more problems than it's worth, though.
I counted 11 BMWs from Manning Place to work. I think if I expanded my count to all finely made German-engineered luxury sedans on the same stretch, it would have been more than the total number of cyclists I saw on my whole trip. Relatedly, I surmise that this area might have more Saabs per square mile than people. Who knows?

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