Ride Home 12/22

This will be my last commute in 2011. It might not be my final post, as I'll have some time off and will invariably fritter it away in the manner that I always do, namely reading bike stuff on the interwebs. Accordingly, I might have some opinions on some of that bike stuff and I might foist those on you. No promises. I won't foist on you some sort of 2011 Year In Review with a top ten countdown of my favorite commutes. There are so many things I won't foist.
Ironically, tonight's ride was to pick up the car, which I then drove home. But before then was a fairly wonderful bicycle ride thanks to the Bikeshare.
I have an opinion conspiracy theory about the Gray administration and DC bike lanes and I've been known to foist it, but I haven't bloggingly foisted it, so here goes (If you've had a beer with me ever, this is something I'm sure you've heard because when I start drinking I get all crazy with my bike theories and local politics. Crazy. I live a wild life): they're not anti-bike, or even anti-bike lane, but early on, I suspect, it was decided that a choice was to be made: more bike lanes or more Bikeshare and more Bikeshare won. So, we got 25 (ish) stations this fall and we'll get another 50 next year, but we're not getting 10 miles of lanes each year. And, frankly, while no trade-off is good, I'm not too torn up about this one. If we were to put a positive spin on it, I'd say it's a somewhat savvy move- a sop to the twits by adding more stations while not upsetting drivers with confusing white paint where there previously wasn't any. And Bikeshare still remains "novel" and "innovative" whereas "bike lanes" became a stand-in for gentrification and Fenty and too rapid change and divisiveness and we cannot have that in ONE CITY. I'd also take the trade (which is just something I've conjectured and isn't or hasn't been explicitly acknowledged anywhere by anyone) because, ultimately, a more robust and more diffuse bikesharing system is much better than the haphazard expansion of a bike network by a block or two at a time with little focus on connectivity or the Bicycle Master Plan. In any case, more people on bikes is better. The debatable thing is whether more Bikeshare or more bike lanes is the better path to it (An aside: only one of them captures a lot of revenue from tourists). I don't know. Musing over.
This was the bike I rode to work this morning. Still at the station when I left. I'm guessing today was a pretty low volume day in upper NW.

Pretty easy to Rosslyn. There was a disabled car on the bridge. Land Rover. Maybe she should have driven a Bridge Rover. It was only 3 and a half minutes shorter a trip than the reverse, uphill one that I took this morning. It's hard to make a CaBi go fast downhill. It sort of just maxes out and then you coast. Maybe it's better that way.
It was a fairly quiet ride on the Mount Vernon Trail as well. Except that the trail is probably Cat 6 heaven. And maybe Cat 5 heaven, since it didn't look like most of those guys were coming from work and were pretty much just racing. Which is fine, I guess. No one did anything especially wreckless or assholish by me, so I was pretty happy.
You can see how low the city is from the banks on the other side of the Potomac. It's like the Washington Monument is a fountain pen and the outlying buildings are its spilt ink. Except the ink is off-white.
It was around Gravelly Point when I realized that a guy was riding behind me. And I kept my pace and didn't really worry about it, but when he passed and I saw that he was wearing the compression leg warmers of a superbiker, I decided that I would give chase. Because why not? I don't normally endorse racing (because I am slow) and I really don't endorse wheelsucking, but it sure is fun to hang on the back wheel of some superbiker when you're riding a Bikeshare bike. Maybe he wasn't trying to drop me and maybe he didn't even know I was there, but I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up. I had the legs to pass him, too, on the uphill ramp by the airport, but that would have been really anti-social (read: dickish).
I lost track of my time and docked as soon as I could in Crystal City, not knowing if I'd make it to my intended station before the thirty minutes. I guess I would have, but I don't know. Crystal Drive is one way south of 23rd and I didn't know that. This is greatly inconvenient for bicyclists and I demand immediate action. Because I have that kind of pull. I rode on the sidewalk and really hated it, mostly because of the number of parking garages that empty out onto the sidewalks.
And that was pretty much it for the ride. I picked up the car, ran some errands and was stuck in traffic for a good part of the drive home. Awesome. Driving is fine, I guess, but car commuting isn't very fun, especially when we're not talking about unbikeable distances. Highways, also, in case you haven't noticed, are rather ugly, so there's an aesthetic argument for commuting by bike as well.
Once again, a million thanks to all of you. Each day I try to think of new ways to keep you entertained, but then I give up on that and just write the posts. And you read them anyway. Because you're generous in spirit and interested in bicycling and bored at work and/or home. Have a great end of year.


  1. I am not generous in spirit, bike-humbug n'at, but I do enjoy your blog posts. Merry Christmas!

  2. I agree with you on the Cat 6 phenomenon on MVT. I've been pulled in, and often make judgements and decisions based on gear and getup and whatnot. Thanks for the info-opin-tainment this year!

  3. Most of Crystal Drive is actually scheduled to be converted into a two-way road next year, beyond the section that is already two-way. Work will be done on the north section and 12th St. first, near Long Bridge Park. After that section is finished, work will proceed on extending two-way traffic on Crystal Drive down to 27th St.