Ride In 9/27

I want to first thank everyone who has commented concerning cross-town routes. I've very much enjoyed your suggestions and I look forward to testing them out in due time. I'm especially looking forward to riding Pennsylvania between the White House and Washington Circle, though I'd rather not continue onto M and into Georgetown because, having looked at that traffic coming from the opposite direction, I'm not sure I have the patience/wherewithal/caffeination to deal with that in the morning.
Saw my first two Lincoln Park CaBi users this morning. Both of them were kitted out in full bike gear, which suggests to me that they're daily point-to-point Bikeshare commuters, which I think is an interesting. I tend to think of CaBis as post-Metro bikes when it's too far to walk or for quick errands, but it's abundantly clear that many, many people use them for the entirety of their bike commutes.
I didn't screw up my Constitution Avenue route this morning, though I question whether it's really any better than taking East Capitol, which has a bike lane. I filtered alongside a long row of stopped cars, which was fine, but seemed unnecessarily cramped. I've been taking Constitution all to avoid having to make the left turn from 1st St, NE since in my few previous attempts the light has seemed interminable.
To describe today as muggy is to undersell how truly horrible it was. The weather is just oppressive and for the end of September, downright terrible. I suspect that it also kept people off bikes since Penn Ave was empty, except for some guy I saw riding a Surly in the opposite direction. Lots of jaywalkers on that street too, but the bike lane is generally wide enough to provide ample room to accommodate them. Ease of use for pedestrians is one of those things you sacrifice when you design your city streets as if they were daily hosting military processions. Which happens only maybe every other day.
Speaking of pedestrians, a chain link fence in front of Treasury blocks the sidewalk and forces them to walk in the cycletrack. Does anyone know why this is? Does anyone have any pull with the Secret Service to make this fence go away? Is this some sort of stimulus program that I just don't know about? Do I need to stand in front as say "Mr. Geithner- tear down this fence!" instantly becoming a hero to all DC bike commuting Reagan nostalgics? (It is unclear is this subset actually exists).
At 15th and K, a woman on a beige cruiser crossed from the square, looked at me and rode her bike behind mine saying something like "I'll let you go first. You look fast." I can assure her that is not the case, but thanks anyway. Remember that ACS data from yesterday about bike commuters? This part specifically:
Of the 9,288 people in D.C. who biked to work in 2010, according to American Community Survey estimates, 6,303 were men compared to 2,985 women. In other words, women made up just over 32% of D.C.'s bike commuting population. But women, despite a lower inclination for biking to work, showed themselves to be the leaders in public transportation. Women make up just over 55% of those who take public transportation to work in the District, 62,775 of the 113,648 total who do so.
I'd be shocked if that 32% isn't way higher for 2011. Easily 50% of the bicyclists I saw today were women. Also, if anyone tells you that people of color don't ride bikes in this town, that person is a liar or ignorant or both. Oh.
Roadie-type guy behind me on R Street. He looked like he wanted to pass, but a rather large truck carrying a rather large piece of construction equipment limited both his options and my speed, in that I didn't want to ride in the "no zone" next to a rather large truck. No amount of white paint is going to help if the driver turns right. So, eventually we pass the truck (and some lady rollerblading) and at the intersection with Connecticut, dude rolls in front of me than circles back around since we're at a red light and just sort of looks at me before planting himself a few feet in front of my front wheel. What's up with that? He turned off somewhere at Massachusetts and I didn't have the pleasure of slogging up the hill with him.
Khalil Gibran, according to the statue's lack of punctuation, is best described as a poet philosopher not a poet, philosopher.
I've got to be bolder riding up Mass. I keep putting myself in a bad place by riding too close to the curb and accordingly drivers are passing too closely. And (crazily) all of this too-close-passing seems to be perpetrated by drivers with Maryland plates (!!!). (The parentheticals indicate sarcasm because in case you don't know, Maryland drivers have a reputation for being terrible at driving) Anyway, still feeling out the new route so this will get better over time. Took about the same amount of time to get in as yesterday (actually, a little faster- by almost a minute), so that's good.


  1. The alternative for taking Mass is to turn right up 28th and follow it up to R, cross Wisconsin, and turn up 37th.

    It's a long, gradual uphill with tons of 4-way stops, but the traffic is relatively sparse.

  2. I usually take E Capitol and then ride through the Capitol Grounds to pick up PA Ave and avoid Constitution and 1st NE.

    A couple of ways to do it: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?660-Capitol-Hill-to-Dupont-Circle&p=3369#post3369

    Main thing is just to go slow and try not to bother pedestrians, and the Capitol Police are pretty tolerant.

  3. @Jacques That would be very similar to my old route from Wisconsin forward. I don't know if I've ever been on 28th, but I'll assume it's like every other little Georgetown street. I think I'd prefer to skip the 4 way stops in favor of the long ride up Mass.

  4. @JD I don't mind riding Constitution rather than the Capitol grounds. It's just getting there that I'm trying to perfect. The past couple of days I've sort of run the red at the intersection with Penn and that's more or less worked out, though it's not a long term solution.

  5. From East Cap I cut right on 2nd NE and then left on Constitution...I swear it takes half the time as waiting at 1st...but I live just south of Lincoln Park, so East Cap is a better fit for me than riding Const. all the way down. The few times I've ridden through the Cap grounds have been easy enough, but I tend to avoid it on the principle that the street is the best place for bikes.

  6. I think I'll try 2nd NE tomorrow. Has anyone ever taken it up to the MBT at L or M (I don't know which) and then ridden R all the way across? I wonder if that'd be faster than Pennsylvania and 15th.

  7. I've totally bought into the myth that the MBT is roughly equivalent to those highways in Mexico that don't have any traffic because to drive on them is asking to be waylaid by bandits...but I have to hit the Brentwood DMV this weekend to get my motorcycle endorsement and I think driving would be silly, but I'm still convinced I have a 100% chance of getting a brick thrown at me or something if I ride the MBT up there.

  8. I was curious about the fence on 15th street by the Treasury building as well. A poster on thewashcycle.com says the fence was put up because a cornice on the treasury building was damaged by the earthquake.

    There a few more comments on the topic here:

    I'm not sure which is more of a threat -- the damaged cornice or the mix of peds and cyclists on a heavily used section of bike lanes. I often end up out in the roadway there on my way home because of all of the peds.