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.