4/26/11

Ride in 4/26

Just a beautiful morning. I feel lucky that I live and work in a place that's generally conducive to commuting by bike because not every place is. Like on a submarine. Or in sprawly exurbs besotted with super-highways and no infrastructure for the movement of people by any other means than car.
I think that there should be a punch buggy style game for when you see an Xtracycle. This game should be widely disseminated so it's not as if I'm just punching random people in the arm while I yell "long tail!"
I decided that I would ride down Wilson, down 15th and 14th and then over Queen to shadow Arlington Boulevard (the two-lane road that parallels Route 50 from roughly Rolfe Street to N Meade Street), mostly just to see what riding on that road would be like. Because you know, in 2013 when the whole Arlington Boulevard construction might be finished, it could become a very popular route for those riding on the bike path (that will also be finished, maybe, by 2013). Just trying to give future bike commuters an early heads up. The road was fine, pretty wide and pretty flat. It could use some sharrows, but I guess they have two years to sort that out. It serves as a pretty efficient cut through for anyone looking to get over to the Courthouse area from the cemetery. Don't tell zombies.
I rode down and over the Memorial Bridge and then took the pretty sharp left to go over "fake" Memorial Bridge, which isn't a bridge at all, but has fooled me more times than I'd like to admit.

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Doesn't that look a lot like this?

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On the Rock Creek trail, I noticed this in front of the Watergate.
I didn't really see the construction. Neither I, nor than 6 or 7 people riding in the other direction bothered to dismount. I mean, I dismounted to turn around and take the picture. Anyone seen this before or is this new?
Instead of heading up the Capital Crescent, I decided that I would ride into downtown for no apparent reason. I guess I just wanted to see what biking downtown during a morning rush hour would be like. I went from Washington Circle up New Hampshire and then down L to the 15th Street cycletrack, aka the Kleinway. I was overall impressed with the number of people riding downtown. All sorts, too. CaBis, racing bikes, front baskets on old three-speeds, the ubiquitous Trek hybrid. And all kinds of weird riding pattens. I saw sidewalk riders (illegal), people riding on the left side of traffic, people riding on the far right and the weave down the center stripe. I think that the hopefully-someday-soon cycle tracks on L and M will help things. I wouldn't say that the cyclists self-organized in any real way and there didn't seem to be any attempt to ride together as a bunch. I was pretty impressed by the motorists as well. I didn't notice any bike-related honking, too close passing or any of the other things I would have expected from a downtown ride. I don't want to jinx it and I know that we still have a long way to go, but I think DC is a real bike town.
Going up 15th was a little slower than I expected. Not because of heavy bike traffic (most people were heading in the other direction anyway), but mainly because of the light patten. There was only so far I could ride before hitting a red and waiting for either cross traffic or cars turning left from 15th. Again, no acrimony. Maybe it's something in the water. A few places where pedestrians stepped out into the lane, but what can you do? Front-mounted cow catcher? If Rivendell doesn't make this yet, then there's a gap in the market.
The Kleinway ends at V street and then it was uphill for a nasty little stretch and a right-side bike lane all of the way to Irving Street. I didn't realize that I had gone too far until 15th merged into 16th street. I turned around in front of Lincoln Multicultural Middle School, where there was polling. A representative from the Biddle Campaign asked if I was voted today. I said I was from Arlington. I'm not really "from" Arlington, but I live there. I didn't further clarify, but instead went down 16th to Columbia Road which was really heavily trafficked. Some sketchy bike behavior from my fellow cyclists over there. I try not to squeeze between buses and the curb, but maybe that's just my aversion to getting crushed or knocked over by someone trying to get on or off a bus. I'm surprised there's not a bike lane on Columbia Road between 16th and 18th. At least I didn't see one.
From there on it was westward on Calvert, up Cleveland, which has a parking arrangement that makes creates a de facto climbing lane and then via Garfield eventually to Massachusetts. Based on 37 campaign signs I saw outside of the St. Sophia Cathedral, I think Biddle is over-relying on the Orthodox vote. This might not be a winning strategy.
Just a pleasant ride the whole way through. Taking a circuitous route breaks up the monotony of the normal ride and I highly encourage it.

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