Upon re-reading, yesterday's morning post seemed kind of like a bummer. Who wants to read about bummers? Bums? Surfer dudes? People like for articles on Hummers who mistakenly hit the b key? I certainly don't and I certainly don't like writing posts where all I do is complain about everything. I'll save my complaining for real life, thank you very much.
So, no complaints today, mostly because everything was pretty great. It was nice out, clear and brisk and there really didn't seem to be too many people on the road that gave me anything to complain about. Except for one guy, but I'll keep that to myself, in the spirit of not complaining. Fun fact: The Spirit of Not Complaining was Charles Lindbergh's other plane. Its engine didn't work and its wings fell off, but Mr. Lindbergh kept it to himself so as to not seem a hypocrite. Fun facts about the spirit of St. Louis (not the city, but the guy!): he was sort of jerk, but not nearly as much of a jerk as his brother Charles. This has been your daily over-simplification of 13th century Angevin royal history! (I'm working on a 365 day pull-away calendar)
To enliven my otherwise banal commute, I decided to make it less banal by taking a new route. I'm vastly more exploratory in the morning than I am in the evening, when I pretty much want to point my bike in the direction of the beer in my refrigerator. Fun fact: Charles Lindbergh flew to France to slightly delay his having to start his work day! I rode East Capitol to Penn, but then rode up 11th. Rather than turn left on R, I continued straight into terra incognita, at least as far as my bike commute is concerned. Rather than take R west and then ride Mass in direct line to work, I figured I would go up (north) and over (west) somewhere roughly parallel to my workplace and that this would mostly work out. And it mostly did!
11th is quite a popular bike route and many people were riding their way downhill as I slogged my way up it. The incline isn't too terrible and certainly gentler than 15th. I only had to stop to check my phone once and this was before turning left on Kenyon to make my way back over to 14th and then to Park. I think this route took me past roughly 27 high schools, but I can't be totally sure as I wasn't paying that much attention. Kenyon was a mess with car traffic and so was park. It's a pretty dense neighborhood, but it's the kind of density (single family row homes) that suggest the ownership of cars, and I guess a lot of people decided to use those cars to ride into work. I was the only bicyclist on Kenyon, but I encountered another one on the other side of 16th. I think at that point I was officially in Mount Pleasant, but I'm not really an expert on DC neighborhood geography. I'd suggest for a future Mayor that we mandate all buildings in a given neighborhood to painted the same exterior color. That would definitely clear things up and a be a huge boon to local paint purveyors.
There are no bike lanes on Park, at least not until it splits with Klingle.Then a bike lane appears, but only sort of since it's faded and needs to be restriped. This didn't prove to be great solace as drivers sped past me on the winding curves down into the park. Also, I almost wiped out thanks to some loose gravel. But at least there's bike lanes. Sort of.
And then I realized why I don't commute this way. It's because Rock Creek Park is a giant ravine and if you ride down into it, you have to ride back out. I mentioned Tilden yesterday, but no one saw fit to warn me, so thanks. It's a long, sort of brutal climb about of the park, which might make for a fun weekend activity (if you're into that sort of thing), but is really not what I'm looking for in a commute. I don't know if these numbers mean anything objectively, but it gains 275 feet in .6 miles from the bottom of the hill to Connecticut Avenue. Nonetheless, I went all Rutherford B. Hayes on it and was pleased with my effort. Huzzah for self-satisfaction.
Past Connecticut, there are more bike lanes on Tilden, which stop at Reno and then it was Van Ness to Nebraska and then to work. In Ward Circle, the thing I would complain about it were I complaining about stuff happened, but I'm not going to go into details.
In short, mixing up the route to work was pretty fun. It might have taken a little longer than usual, but not by much. It's still a reminder that east-west and west-east bike connections in DC are pretty lacking, especially if you don't like having to climb out of the park in the morning. As a rare diversion, it was fine, but I'm not sure I would want to do that every day. I've heard Porter Street is pretty bad too.
Looking forward to this afternoon's ride back home, though I might not get a chance to blog about it until tomorrow. You've been warned. I recommend using your "reading TFTS time" to complete in the first annual "Charles Lindbergh Flies Back in Time to Help St. Louis in the Seventh Crusade" diorama contest. A picture of the winner's diorama will be posted on this site. Fame/infamy awaits.
Also, some housekeeping: buy buttons/karaoke to support WABA. And please volunteer to work the bike valet on Saturday. As always, thanks for reading.