Ride In 3/1: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Nuns

Good morning, America. That's a tv show, but it's also a salutation that might or might not have been said on the set of Ugly Betty, another tv show. Regardless of those things, it was a good morning and I do happen to be in America, so it might be apt to use in opening this blog. They (I don't know who) say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb (Presumably they mean covered in mint jelly).I think that might even be in the Bible. If today's weather was leonine (Leonine Brezhnev was a former Soviet leader), then perhaps we need to rethink our collective view on lions or maybe we need to take to task the Biblical fundamentalists and their nonsensical aphorisms. All of which is to say that it was a beautiful morning for bicycle riding and I'm glad that I was able to partake in one. If I had my way, I would have skipped work entirely and just kept "commuting," but I had to blog from somewhere and I figured the office was as good of a place to do it as any.
I think that the most depressing commute on a day like this would be one in a car that takes from a garage to a cul-de-sac to an arterial to a highway to highway traffic to an off ramp to an arterial to an office park. I'd suggest to those people that have to make commutes like that to seek solace in the Bible, but all that's in there is wrongheaded sayings about jungle cats and weather. I just loving being outside. Always have. Even when I was a little kid and even when my parents took me out in the rain to make sure I wasn't a gremlin. I find this to be one of the real values of bike commuting.
To celebrate the day, I decided to alter my route. Typically, I ride down East Capitol (a street that runs from the Capitol east until it reaches the eastern apex of the once-diamond [shape, not pressurized carbon or baseball field] that is the District of Columbia, after which it turns into Central Avenue and then W Central Avenue then E Central Avenue then Mayo Road and Central Ave E and then May Road again and then Beverly Avenue and finally Grand View Avenue and then it looks like this. You might want to stop before then), but today I elected to ride down C Street NE, which parallels East Capitol but is roughly 3 blocks north of it. It also has a bike lane. It's a perfectly lovely street and I should ride on it more frequently. The bike lane on C Street terminates at Stanton Park, which I perambulated (or whatever the cycling equivalent is), and then found myself on Maryland Avenue which merges into Constitution, which doesn't have a bike lane, but does have plenty of car traffic. I used to make the Constitution to Penn Avenue merge, but then I thought that riding through the Capitol would be easier, which it is, so I don't do this any more. I actually bailed to the sidewalk (SCOFFLAW) for two blocks and then cut across back into the cycletrack where Penn and Constitution split once more. All of that seems picayune.
On Penn Avenue, a driver decided that it would be awesome to make a u-turn across the cycletrack. Or maybe not awesome, just convenient at the expense of any bicyclists safety. I did my usual thing, which is to slow down (but keep moving) and use the few seconds it would take for me to roll right past her car to shoot her a scowly death stare. It had the same effect as normal, which is to say, no effect at all. I think she had a "animal friendly" license plate. Proof that cyclists are not animals. Anyway, from now on, I'm riding with a cat in my front basket. Like at a sad lady spin class (h/t Official Wife).
Not nearly as many bicyclists out than I expected, but I have unreasonable expectations. I expect every morning commute to be like a mix of the grand tour and a tweed ride with a splash of Utrecht rush hour. In some ways, it sort of is, but not in terms of the volume of cyclists (To calculate the volume of cyclists, multiply l x w x h). Not to say that it wasn't at least somewhat crowded for a DC morning, but it still seemed sparse. If anyone has any idea, based on reading the previous sentences, as to whether there were a lot of bicyclists out or not, please let me know. I've confused myself.
Almost got into a crash with another bicyclist on 15th. Here's what happened. I was riding northbound, he southbound. A man, with his dog, was crossing the street and was in the crosswalk within the cycletrack. The southbound cyclist, moved to his left and into 15th street. I remained in the right-hand lane of the cycletrack. And then we did the awkward, "are you gonna move, should I move, should we both move, should we just stop?" sort of thing and I ended up staying in my lane and he ended up cutting back across in front of me. We narrowly avoided a collision. I said "sorry dude." To be honest, I'm not really sure to what extent any of this was my fault, but at least nothing happened. I'd suggest that his moving into 15th street rather than just slowing for the dog and guy was the source of these issues, but I suppose I also could have just moved over. I don't know. A bike-on-bike crash would be the worst. I mean, relatively speaking. A lumber truck would be objectively worse.
Fun times on R Street. Saw speaker girl (she rides her bike and plays music from a little speaker. I see her on R street a lot. DC is a small enough town that there's no way we're not within 2 degrees of knowing each other) and I rode behind and then in front of a woman who has a really friendly relationship with the crossing guard at New Hampshire. I counted maybe 7 bicyclists riding down New Hampshire while I waited at the light.
Wound up behind another guy on the other side of Dupont, but he dropped off before Mass. Plenty of other cyclists on Massachusetts and even one going the same way as me. Today had the impression of a lot of bicyclists out without it seeming crowded. So, that settles my confusion from a few paragraphs ago.
Get to leave work early today and I'm up to something bike-related this afternoon, so that's going to be fun. Details to follow.
Oh, and one last thing. Here's a press release I got. Consider yourselves informed. Iit was on WashCycle and really, that's where you should be getting all of your information about 'real' DC bike stuff, [seriously, read WashCycle. I can honestly tell you it's the first thing I read in the morning. Indispensable.], but the event seems like a cool one and I think it's probably worth checking out and maybe even taking part in. If anyone wants to put together a losing team...



MARCH 10, 2012; 2PM - MIDNIGHT

Crystal City, VA — The Crystal City Business Improvement District, in association with Vornado/Charles E. SmithDandies & Quaintrelles (D&Q), BNA and Sciathan Productions, is proud to announce that registration is now open for the inaugural Crystal City Diamond Derby, taking place on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The event will transform the parking garage at 1850 Crystal Drive in Crystal City into a glitzy, urban cycling arena for the competitive cyclist, amateur biker and everyone in between. With plenty of free activities for spectators, the Diamond Derby is sure to please!

Competitive cyclists can test their skills in obstacle courses with the goal of winning awards and prize money, casual cyclists can bike to the event in style and spectators can enjoy the action free of charge (please see the full schedule below). The Diamond Lounge will be the hub of spectator activity, featuring a big screen displaying the on-course action, a full bar and live music throughout the day. Cyclists and spectators can also get a breath of fresh air as they head outdoors for a midway featuring food, vendors and a wide-open sprint lane for cyclists. 

What:The Inaugural Crystal City Diamond Derby.
Where:18th and Crystal Drive (1850) Crystal Drive in Crystal City, VA.
When:Saturday, March 10, 2012 from 2pm to midnight.
Registration:Registration and additional information is available via the event website. Although this event is free and open to the public, there is a registration fee to participate in the cycling competitions.
Who:Competitive cyclists, casual cyclists and spectators.
Event Phone:Cyclists and spectators who have questions should call (703) 412-9430.
Media:Media who have questions should contact Jordan Stinnett at jstinnett@scottcircle.com or w:(202) 207-3662; c: (239) 938-4960.


Event opens.

D&Q River Ride begins.
Join D&Q for this casual nine-mile bicycle ride along the Potomac River, beginning on the National Mall at 12th Street and Jefferson Drive in Southwest DC and ending at the Diamond Derby just in time for open course time. Experience the Capital Region’s river vistas on some of our less traveled routes across the Potomac. True to D&Q's signature events, including the Seersucker Social and Tweed Ride, this fashion-themed foray invites cyclists to don contemporary, edgy apparel. Registration for the ride is free. All participants will be required to sign a waiver.

Kids’ events.
Bike polo competition.
River Ride participants arrive at the Crystal City Diamond Derby.

Open Course Noncompetitive Ride.
Noncompetitive cyclists will have the opportunity to sample the thrills and hijinks of the racing course. This ride is open to anyone with a bicycle, brakes and helmet. A signed waiver and release will be required.

4:30-9:30pm (Races)

Diamond Derby Open Class Competition (Scavenger Hunt) 
Individual riders will compete in 20-minute heats, dodging obstacles and collecting as many laps and diamond-shaped prizes as they can! The field will be open to 200 riders. Prizes will be awarded to the top 10 women, men and children competing. A $17 ticket ensures participants’ entrance into one 20-minute heat.

Diamond Derby Team Competition (Team Entry Ticket - Four Riders) 
High-spirited relay rounds will pit registered teams against one another in all-out sprints for swag and glory! Teams will compete head-to-head with top teams advancing to the finals. Maximum field is 12 teams of four riders. Bonus prizes will be awarded to the best costumes! A $60 ticket ensures entry for one team (up to four participants).

4X Comps Individual Competition 
4X Comps pits the hard-core amateurs and the wily vets against the cycling elite in head-to-head four-lap heats around the Gran Premio course. Top finishers in each 4-lap heat will continue to advance until the grand finale! Daredevils and speed demons need apply! Maximum participants in this event are 120 riders. Cyclists must pay a $17 ticket fee to enter into the 4X competition.

Awards ceremony.

Diamond Derby Ball.
Entrance to the Diamond Derby Ball is free and open to the public. Enjoy food, drinks and music!

About the Crystal City Business Improvement District
The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is a public-private partnership established in April 2006 to promote the vibrant Crystal City business, retail, restaurant and residential community. The BID is committed to showcasing the area as a world-class destination for visitors, employees and residents. Crystal City is ACTIVE, ARTFUL, ACCESSIBLE, and GREEN. For more information, visit www.crystalcity.org.


  1. I've been debating attending this little CC shindig for a couple of weeks now...my worry is that I'm not hip(ster?) enough. I mean, I don't own a single article of tweed clothing or suspenders or anything like that...but maybe in this scenario, showing up in normal clothes would make ME the hip outsider.

  2. The cycle track on Penn was U-turn city today!! Maybe it was something about the nice weather that caused people to break the rules. I don't know.

  3. I was wondering where all the Loudoun County cyclists were, too. Scads of walkers on the W&OD this morning, but I passed only two other cyclists. Well, three if you count the one who was approaching as I left the trail for surface streets, but I technically didn't pass him.

  4. "but all that's in there is wrongheaded sayings about jungle cats and weather." Awesome!

  5. I have to go to NY for a bachelorette party on the day of this bike event and I might never forgive the bride-to-be for this scheduling conflict that she could have in no way foreseen. That sounds awesome.