A combination of not having to bring anything into work (I did not eat my soup from yesterday, but instead had a Starbucks blueberry scone and some Reese's peanut butter cups. Kids: don't do this) and the weather being temperate helped me decide to ride to work in my work clothes, which consist partly of jeans since it's Friday. I also took the Haul- there's only one way that saddle is going to soften.
There's a fairly significant breeze today and I felt like I was a taking the brunt of it, especially on Fairfax Drive. It was like parasailing, but in a not fun way.
Get this: it's possible, even likely, that one can travel down Wilson Boulevard from Ballston to Rosslyn in the same overall amount of time as someone on a Vespa. I know this because it happened. I wasn't even scofflawing. I'm surprised that more people here don't ride motor scooters (aside from the ridiculous name. Just say motor scooter aloud and try not to laugh). I have a few theories why, but you can read them on my other blog: dclackofscooterusage.blogspot.com
And now it's time for some super -pecific advice about riding a relatively short stretch of road and negotiating its trickiness. The road is Tunlaw Road, NW. My concern is stop signs. The problem is being safe. My suggestions are as follows:
- At the intersection of 37th and Tunlaw, coming up 37th. I recommend riding on the right up to the stop sign and stopping directly next to it. Look at the oncoming traffic. If there is a car next to you (on your left), start riding when that driver goes. Let the driver get in front of you and merge behind their car in the center of the traffic lane. Move back to the right after you get through the intersection. If there is no car next to you, wait until the driver at the stop sign across 37th goes. Make sure the driver coming down Tunlaw is turning right and not going straight. When the car from 37th is in the middle of the intersection, start riding. Be sure to make eye contact with the driver (if there is one) now stopped at 37th street. Use your left hand to signal that you are heading left up Tunlaw. This shouldn't be totally necessary, since 37th is one way, but it'll let the driver across the intersection from you know that you'll be turning across his/her path. This should hopefully stop him/her from trying to get across the intersection before you start your turn.
- On Tunlaw at Benton Street. There is a stop sign here. At this point you are traveling up hill. I recommend that (if possible) you take the lane and wait/roll through the stop sign from the center of the travel lane. The reason I recommend this is because on-street parking begins on Tunlaw after Benton. This means that you will need to move over to the left (or you will bike into parked cars) eventually and it's safer to do it at the stop sign than afterwards.This is because drivers accelerate from the stop sign and the road also narrows here (on account of the parked cars) and since you're going uphill, you'll be traveling too slowly to merge in an optimal way.
- At the stop light at Calvert Street. If you don't want to take the lane, stay to the right but (if there's no pedestrian) get your bike into the cross walk. You want to be out in front of car right turning cars so they don't try to fish hook around you. Also, there are parked cars on the other side of the intersection, so being in front gives you a little more space to merge over into the travel lane if need be. I recommend lining yourself up so your path is exactly straight (slightly to the inside of the parked cars on the other side of the intersection)- this means pinching from the far right a little bit.
- Tunlaw and 39th St. Ride to the right. I don't think there's any need to ride in the middle of the travel lane here. However, after this intersection, you might want to start biking in the center of the travel lane to increase your visibility to cars turning from and turning onto Fulton Street. If you ride too far to the right, someone turning from Tunlaw to Fulton might be more tempted to try to make the turn.
- At 42nd St. Ride to the ride. Be careful here because it's a four way stop and cars are pulling out of the driveway as well as up from 42nd St.