I am a dolt. Justin sent me this guest post weeks ago and I never posted it. Because: see first sentence. And then, doltishly, I asked this morning for a guest post when I already had one sitting in my inbox. Of which Justin was kind enough to remind me. So, tonight, while I'm stuck in class (we're covering the following topics: ninja weapons, needlepoint in Jane Austen novels, 17th century Ukrainian cookery of potato dishes, and non-Euclidean geometry. I really should have looked at the syllabus before signing up) , I invite you to to enjoy this guest post from DC's premier Bikeshare data analzyer and all-around good guy. One million thank yous in his general direction.
Some days, my daily bike commute blends into the background of life, becoming simply the way I get from place to place. On a few bad days, my commute can make me frustrated at the selfish ways other road users can act. But most days? My bike commute usually is the absolute highlight of my day.
My bike commute is the single most variable time in my weekday routine. Every day is something different. During those short 3.2 miles in the morning, and then joyriding back in the afternoon, this city shows me all kinds of sights, sounds, and spectacles – from urban wildlife, potholes, delivery trucks, hail, rain, dazzling sunshine, cherry blossoms, turning leaves, birds of prey, sunsets, snow, other bicyclists, joggers, buses, dogs, protests, presidential motorcades, and street musicians, to name a few.
Today was one of the good days. It was colder than normal, but not too bad. I started out, as usual, swinging onto Kentucky Ave. SE towards Lincoln Park. Kentucky is a quiet, residential street that’s great for biking. My favorite block is the even-quieter 100 block of Kentucky, where on summer evenings the little kids and dogs all play together on the sidewalk and the parents sip wine in the front yards.
The bike lanes around Lincoln Park are great, and make it really pleasant to ride around the park. I passed the Bikeshare station, which was surprisingly not empty of bikes today. Normally it’s empty by the time I roll by at 8:45, and I’ve even seen people waiting there for the re-balancing truck.
At the northwest corner of Lincoln Park, I glided to a stop at a red behind a couple on bikes, who spoke for a bit before giving each other a quick “have a good day honey” smooch, and rode off along Mass. when the light changed. It made me smile – a couple who bike commutes together…
Mercifully, no one honked us cyclists in the bike lane at the light, waiting for the green left arrow. This always makes me happier. Honking in the morning can really be a bummer if you’re not encased in glass and steel. It’s like, hey, does honking ever really help you get to work any earlier? Does honking activate some magical power to make the obstruction before you disappear? Not usually. Most honking is just you transforming your frustration into a loud noise that does nothing to help the situation. But does make me cringe. Kind of like the comments sections on newspaper sites. Anyway, no one honked, which does happen sometimes because there’s this ambiguous left turn thing at this intersection. Here’s a brilliant idea about honking.
The ride down East Capitol was free and easy. Other riders shoaled me as I waited at red lights, but what’s new. The sun was shining, and it felt like spring. And I had coffee, ahhh.
|Thermoses and cupholders for all!|
|Mini-circus at the Supreme Court|
Around the Supreme Court and the Capitol, there was a minor circus happening over the Affordable Care Act hearing. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself how lucky I am to ride past such amazing, beautiful sites each and every day. Heck, people come from miles away to see Washington, and I get to ride by it every day. And it all kind of makes me proud – you know, the Capitol, heart of democracy, and all that. I’m happy that people can protest stuff, regardless of the cause.
|What I am lucky enough to ride by every day.|
Riding up and over the Capitol, and down to 3rd St. NW I passed another rider with a real, honest to goodness #TFTS pin attached to his black Timbuk2 bag. For real! First time I’ve caught one in the wild! I caught up with him and chatted for a bit; he told me he was one of the folks who got his delivered by Brian in full tuxedo. He turned left to cross the Mall before I could catch his name, and I continued down Penn.
Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself how lucky I am to be able to ride on nice bike infrastructure, like the lanes and cycletracks on E. Capitol and Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Paint and bollards really go a long way to making me feel safe and welcome on city streets, and I usually go out of my way to ride on them. It also made me wish for the rest of the bollards back on Pennsylvania soon.
I got to the office, parked inside for free, and plunked down at my desk, caffeinated and happy.