Bike Commuting in DC
0 comment Thursday, September 25, 2014 |
I'm in DC this week going on interviews and figuring out where I'm going to live and where I'm going to store stuff when I move out in October. On that; yes, I am going to leave Denver, at least for a while, to live in DC with my girlfriend and past guest blogger, Karen Beach.
I have ridden numerous times in the DC Metro area, but today marked my first full day of genuine bike commuting. I had previously shipped out my Alan cyclocross bike to ride, but upon assembling it yesterday, I noticed a four or five hour slow leak in the front tire, and since it's tubular, it's not an easy fix. While that's fine for racing, I needed something a bit more reliable, so I borrowed Karen's Bianchi Milano. Also important to note, I was going to be dropping off resumes to all the congresspeople to which I had some sort of connection. This means going into one of the House office building, and that means wearing a suit.
First stop, Kinkos, so I headed downhill along the famous Rock Creek Parkway bike path, maintained by the National Parks Service. While it's not quite Cherry Creek bike path, it's better than 95% of bike paths, and takes you on a winding route down to the Patomac River, and then onto the National Mall. It was nice and cool, but wearing a suit jacket, it was still pretty warm under the coat, a problem I solved later by cinching it to my pack. I did stop in Earl Blumenauer's office, unfortunately they are not hiring, though the Chief of Staff sent a nice note thanking me for showing up and for working in bike advocacy, "no, thank you, Earl Blumenauer, for representing our admittedly niche interests".
Next was a pull uphill to visit d. (DDOT a.k.a. District Department of Transportation) to meet with a friend of a friend of a friend who might have an idea of some positions open in the wide world of transit. It was not too hard of a ride, but the whole time I was trying to ride in the shade of noontime buildings so as not to get too sweaty. It didn't work, I pretty much soaked the back of my shirt. I attribute this to the humidity of DC, which even in the crisp fall is something like 40%. This will probably be something I will experiment with as next summer rolls around, as it will be quite a change from Denver's 15% humidity, and my marketing firm attire (rolled up pants & polo shirt).
My contact at DDOT recommended I meet with the bike infrastructure guy who was a few miles away at Car Free Day festivities. Another downhill coast, easy, and some of the streets even had generous bike lanes. The festivities included a bike parking corral from WABA, and I witnessed something BikeDenver would never do, the guy manning the booth turned down a tip! It shows what a bike nerd I am, because I was also jealous of their racking system, which can be transported by bike. I also got to check out the SmartBike system, a civic initiative through DDOT. I kind of dig the hot roddy style of the bikes, 26" rear wheel, 20" front. I still don't think it's theft-proof enough, and I think it will catch up with them, but I give them a ton of credit for rolling a system out before anyone else.
My last pull was due West towards the setting sun, and Georgetown University to see one of my new favorite personalities, T. Boone Pickens. I've seen Boone before at The Big Tent during the DNC, but he's a compelling guy, and what he's selling right now, I'm buying.
The last part of the day's commute was North on Wisconsin, a pretty continuous uphill 3% grade climb. The cars were not too aggressive, and aside from more sweating, it was an uneventful ride back to Cleveland Park. All told, I think I covered about 20 miles today, and I can see myslef doing this for a while.
A couple other high points, cyclists, while vehicles, enjoy special priveleges near the more "secure" buildings of DC. I was able to cut off a few blocks by riding along the national mall, and later cutting in front of the Treasury and then the White House. Talk about VIP treatment! I have a picture, but can't get it off my phone, so here's what that looked like: