Monday, August 30, 2010

Not bad for a hot day.

This was a nice, slow, easy 9 mile ride, with a stop at BicycleSPACE on the way to the trail, and a stop at Duffy's afterwards for a cold beer & some sliders. I love late summer days.
Pretty cruiser-style bicycle.

Another retro-inspired bicycle.

One of many murals along the MBT.

This is a video I took of the Metropolitan Branch Trail portion of my ride today. I didn't have time to do any fancy editing and I took out the audio because it was just me babbling along with a friend of mine.  I put it up so you can get a feel for what the trail is like. I think it's pretty nice. It has an "industrial" feel to it, which is odd for a "typical" bike trail. Very nice to be reminded that you are still in a city, but a city where bikes belong too.  I like the benches and the murals that are painted along it as well. In fact, you can see three guys working on one of them halfway through the video. This was a chance for me to explore a part of the city I rarely ride to, and I enjoyed it.

(sorry for the tiny version. it was taking forever to load!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

You can never have too many accessories.

The weather was beautiful last week for biking around the city. Not too hot, not too humid. Loved it!

This week in bicycle news: BicycleSPACE, an "urban concept store" (I have no idea what that means, either), is now open in Mt. Vernon Square; these bike thieves were caught on video (link courtesy of Prince of Petworth); bike racks as an art concept downtown.

Speaking of bike theft, what do you guys do to prevent your (t)rusty steeds from being snatched? What kind of locks do you use? What would you do if you found your ride stolen? Would you support a city-wide registration system if it meant it increased the chances of you getting your stolen/lost bike back?

I attended Columbia Heights Day/DC State Fair yesterday and had a fairly good time. The only thing I could complain about was the overabundance of campaigners, to the point they obscured the rest of the booths. If I hadn't known it was a community festival, I would have thought I'd wandered into some sort of 9th level of hell where every single candidate was gathered to personally slap their stickers over every inch of me, and I was slowly tortured by thousands and thousands of paper-cuts from pamphlet-wielding "supporters".

Stil, I got to support the DC Rollergirls by buying a nifty t-shirt, bought a "I survived Snowmageddon" t-shirt at another booth, sampled Pleasant Pops (mmm, peaches n' ginger!), and tried Sweetflow frozen yogurt for the first time. Overall, a pleasant way to pass the day. Still, I wish there had been a dunking booth...

My accessories for Betty arrived yesterday (just in time to show them off at the state fair!). I was disappointed that the vendor sent the wrong color though. The liner and cup holder are supposed to be a PINK zebra print. Oh well. And I need to take my Betty over to the local shop to see if they can install my rear "skull" LED light. The fender might need to be drilled. And I think the stereo speakers I bought are a bust. It has a nasty tendency to smoke and stink if the input is jiggled in the slightest (not a good thing on a bicycle). I hope it's just bad wiring, and something I can fix when I have time (for those that are curious, it is the Nirve MP3 Stereo Speaker/Bag). I'll do a full review of the items I ordered after I've had time to play with test them out fully.

One more week until I'm outta here to relax in the OBX! I think I can make it...

A photo-dump, for your pleasure:

Betty's new accessories. The liner was supposed to be a PINK zebra print. See the airplane and cup holder?

Magic Hat. I wonder if they got paid for this advertising? I know car owners do it. Why not bicycles?

Columbia Heights Day.

I have no idea what is going on with this sign. Did they purposely put it under the parking sign? How did the parking sign get mangled?

This where a row of bike racks used to be. Did they get removed because of the new installation at the Columbia Heights metro?

Scoot rack or bike rack?


I like this mural.

Neat concept! The sign under it states that the air compressor is broken and the owner would appreciate donations to help fix it. I wrote down the email address but I think I lost it...

Abandoned bicycle, tagged by DDOT before they take it away.

What kind of plant is this?

I really like the "treebox" garden here. You can't see everything in this picture, but it looks like a tiny fairy wonderland.

This is the house with the treebox gardens. The gardens go all they way up to the front door.

Remember to ride safe, and be kind to each other.

Monday, August 23, 2010

But I could order from them if I lived in the Federated States of Micronesia...

During my little online shopping spree yesterday, I attempted to order an item off of a website that purported to sell cruiser bicycles and accessories (I won't name them). I excitedly found an item that I had been looking all over for, and quickly hit the "Buy Now" button.

I was highly chagrined to find out that once I got to the page to fill out my shipping address, "D.C." or "District of Columbia" or even "Washington, D.C." was not among the "state" options.

I sent customer service an email pointing out their error and asking if they could fix it.

This is what I received in reply:

We are aware that for some reason our system does not list it as an option, however we have been unable to remedy the situation.  Please reply to this email with your phone number so we can help you process an order over the phone.
Thank you,

> Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2010 19:04:03 -0600
> To: info@XXXXXXXXX
> Subject: Message from customer on the XXXXXXXXX website
> inquiry: Hi. I tried to order some accessories off your website, but unfortunately you've neglected to include "District of Columbia" or "D.C" as an option under states. I know that we're not considered a "real" state, but we do exist. Could this be fixed?
> Thanks.
> name: Kate C.

Hurumph. "Unable to remedy the situation?" Yeah, I think that about sums up DC's status.

P.S. No, I did not give them my number to place the order over the phone. There are plenty of other fish on the Internet that acknowledge the District of Columbia as a valid address.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Burning Money...

I was innocently browsing the World Wide Web, looking for a pannier that would look nice on Betty...that's all. Just looking.

Somehow (I'm still not sure exactly what happened) I ended up purchasing over $100 worth of accessories including but not limited to: a skull L.E.D. light, a fuzzy pink zebra cup holder, MP3 speakers, and a cute handlebar-mounted airplane. AN AIRPLANE. FOR MY BICYCLE. Who needs a an airplane on their bicycle? Apparently, I do.

Did I manage to get my pannier bag? NO.

What is wrong with me? Jeeze.

However, I do feel proud of the things I did NOT purchase: a canopy, a handlebar-mounted umbrella stand, and a ridiculous horn.

(I'm still holding out for a flask holster, though...)

Speaking of accessories it will soon be time to "winterize" my Jamie.  Jamie, my Jamis Codasport, was my very first bicycle in DC. He's seen me through many seasons & riding conditions. Now that Betty has moved in, he's been sitting in the corner, all alone. I plan on using him as my "winter" bike when the conditions are not too good for Betty. However, he's going to need some work. I'll probably drop him off at Bicycle Stations for a tune-up and to have some full fenders and a rear rack added to him. I'll get that done in September.

Tomorrow, I'm going to meet up with a friend for a nice long bike ride, probably along the Mt. Vernon trail. Photos to follow.

In the meantime, here's a random photo dump to tide you over until then:

Blue Electra!

Bike rack or Scooter rack?

The owner of this bicycle must be pretty confident to leave both their seat stem bag (easily stolen) and helmet (at perfect dog-piss height) on the bike.

DC Afer Five

Pink handlebar tape

Giant Connect Four!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bike signal update...

So I decided to use the 16th St./NH Ave bike signals again since I had to make a late night run to Rite Aide. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe they aren't so bad after all, since I never really needed to use NH Ave before....because it needs to be two-way, for christ's sake!

Yeah. They didn't work.

I was on NH Ave. heading SW to turn onto U St. (westbound). I put my bike's tires *exactly* where the "place bike here" stencil indicated. Right smack-dab in the middle of the chevrons!

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Eventually The Boy gave up and darted the light. But I  had faith. Maybe, just maybe, the bike signal would change from the hellish red to a wonderful green glow?

No. No it did not. Not after three (3)...count em' THREE vehicle signal changes.

C'mon. I'm riding a 50lbs cruiser here. It *had* to register. But it didn't.

So eventually I just had to risk it like every other cycling schmuck.

I'm just going to chalk it up to DDOT trying to tweak things. There's gotta be a break-in period, right?

In the meantime, I'll just be following the standard signals...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hill and Go Seek

Prince of Petworth just posted a press-release for "Hill and Go Seek", which is basically a scavenger hunt on bicycles. This looks like fun, and it would be a chance to explore a part of DC I don't get to very often. I used to work on Capitol Hill, but its been years since I've been over there and I've heard that it has vastly improved.  And it is all for a good cause. What can be better than having fun for a good cause?

This also happens to fall on the same day as the DC State Fair. I see a day filled with biking, contests and fun in my near future!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sad bicycle, seeking owner. FOUND!

Note: The owner got in contact with me today and will be retrieving her bike (whose name is Stella, by the way. HA!). She was out of town and hadn't had a chance to pick it up yet. Yay, so glad this bike won't be pining away for it's owner anymore.

Do any of you happen to know to who(m?) this bicycle belongs to? It's been locked up at the bike rack in front of Duffy's Irish Pub (2106 Vermont Ave. NW) for over a week. If the owner isn't found in the next few days, it's going to be declared abandoned and taken in for safekeeping by MPD. I have a feeling it either belongs to a 930 club patron that got a little too tipsy and forgot where they locked their bike (930 people: the bike racks at Duffy's are for *Duffy's* patrons, not you), or something happened to them (horrible accident and/or coma).

It looks like a vintage Schwinn bicycle, rust red in color with a white wire basket in the front and a Honolulu bike tag in the rear.

"I feel so sad :( "

1966 Honolulu Tag: 22035

"Mend Your Fuelish Ways"

If you happen to know the owner of this bike, please contact me at girlonabikedc AT gmail DOT com. The owner will need to provide proof of ownership, of course (most helpful being the key to the U-lock).

Put your Bike in My Box

There's been lots of talk about the new "bike box" and dedicated bicycle signals that were installed at the intersection of 16th & U St. NW/New Hampshire Ave this past week. You can read about it from DCist. What I find interesting about their thoughts about it is this odd tid-bit:

The intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and 16th and U Streets NW, one of the city's busiest, has always been one of the more difficult traffic situations for Washingtonian cyclists to traverse.

Really? That intersection? I've always thought it was pretty straightforward. The problem is not its "difficulty" in navigating it; the problem is one of inconvenience. New Hampshire Ave. NW is a one-way at that location. Why? I have no idea. It has never made sense to me. The avenue is wide enough to *more* than accommodate two-way traffic, and it's only for a few blocks. I'm guessing an over zealous neighborhood association is responsible for it. Anyway, it means that traffic travels only in a northbound direction at the intersection on New Hampshire Ave. However, both 16th St. and U St. are two way streets. The problem of traveling southbound is easily solved by simply staying on 16th St. Yes, you might have to go out of your way a few blocks depending on where you were heading to. But it's just a few blocks. Inconvenience vs. difficulty. See? Anyway, cyclists often would just go the wrong way on New Hampshire in order to cut over to Dupont Circle quicker. No biggie. As I said it's a pretty wide avenue and not that heavily traveled by vehicles. But this is why a contraflow lane has been installed on that section of New Hampshire. Apparently "salmoning" cyclists have posed such a threat that they now require a lane to themselves. Sweet. (Again, why they didn't just make the avenue two-way, I have no idea. DC's slogan: Why make something SIMPLER, when you can spend lots of money to make it MORE CONFUSING!)

Here's my thoughts on the contraflow lanes we have in DC; as far as I know, we have two: one on 15th St. NW and now one on New Hampshire Ave. NW. Both of these streets are one way. Both are extremely wide. Both have surrounding streets with perfectly fine bike lanes that flow in the correct direction. I do not get why we need the contraflow lanes. I am very wary of any cycling infrastructure that increases unpredictability and encourages cyclists to do the opposite of what they are supposed to do otherwise. Drivers and cyclists that are unfamiliar with contraflow lanes are startled to find cyclists going the "wrong way" on a street. Drivers are not expecting cyclists to be coming at them from the 'wrong' direction when they turn onto 15th St. NW. Every time I've ridden the contraflow lane on 15th St., theres a bike salmon attempting to play chicken with me in the lane despite the ample open lanes heading in the opposite direction (the one they are traveling in) I just assume that they are going with their natural instinct to use the roadway in the usual customary manner; i.e. WITH the direction of traffic, not against it, and in the designated bike lane. In their eyes, they probably assume I'm the idiot because I'm going southbound on a northbound one-way street.  Many cyclists really don't understand the contraflow lane. I know I didn't at first. Still, I have used it on occasion and I hope that as more of these lanes are installed, people will become more familiar with the concept.

Along with the new contraflow lane at New Hampshire Avenue is the installation of DC's first "cycling signal" system. These are separate signal lights with cute little bike icons in them that have sensors embedded in the road (under the so-called "bike box"). When a cyclists comes to a stop on one of these sensors, it will trigger the light. You can watch a video about it from DDOT:

See? That's not confusing AT ALL. Just simply place your bike on the chevrons before the stop bar, and then wait for the light, and then make sure you are in the bike box and wait for the OTHER light...oh eff it.  Given cyclist's tendency to ignore traffic regulations whenever it doesn't suit them, I am quite sure this is a wasted effort. What really worries me is that they painted double yellow lines on New Hampshire. I think this is supposed to reiterate that vehicular traffic flows one way, and that cyclists flow the other. However all this is going to do is confuse drivers who may not realize that New Hampshire is a one way street and will attempt to squeeze into the tiny bike lane thinking its meant for them. Don't believe that some motorists are THAT dumb? Take a look at the new traffic pattern at 14th St. NW/Park Rd. NW/Kenyon St. NW. In case you haven't been in that area recently, if you are traveling westbound on Park Rd NW and assume that you can simply cross 14th St. NW and continue on your merry way on Park Rd. like you always did before you WOULD BE WRONG. Because now, thanks to the ingenious city planners, you can ONLY turn right (going north on 14th). No big deal though, because you can just take a left at the next cross street, right? NO. NO YOU CANNOT. Because the next cross street is one-way going EASTBOUND, back the way you came. YOU CANNOT GET THERE FROM HERE. I think it is all part of some horrible conspiracy by Jim Graham to trap people in Columbia Heights FOREVER, driving around in circles until they are forced to find refuge in Target. I was sitting in the little circle park by the intersection, enjoying some FroYo, and counted no less than 8 drivers in the space of an hour attempt to cross over the double yellow, jump the little island median, and attempt to make a left or simply go straight at the intersection, causing the DDOT crossing guards to go into an apoplectic rage. I guarantee that most of those drivers weren't doing it to beat the system, but rather because they were either used to the old way, or simply couldn't fathom not being able to continue on the same street they were already on. It didn't help that there is no signage whatsoever to alert drivers on Park Rd. that they are about to enter the 9th circle of driving hell, and that they MUST turn right, no matter how stupid it is. There is a temporary "no left" sign, but that's it. It's idiotic, and I don't even drive it!

(Still, did you notice that the DDOT guy appears to be riding one of the new Capital Bikeshare bikes?)

Last weekend I had the opportunity to try the new system out. Unfortunately, it seems that this system is really only useful for people who want to travel on New Hampshire. If you are traveling on U or 16th, you're still pretty much screwed. I rarely ever use that portion of New Hampshire. My route required me to go south on 16th, and make a left on U St. NW. My natural instinct was to get in the left lane and wait for traffic to clear to make my left turn. However, in order to take advantage of the bike signals, I had to stay in the right lane, cross 16th St over to the New Hampshire portion, then turn around to get into the bike box so I could activate the bike light in order to cross 16th St and then onto U St. NW. Also, I couldn't find the dang sensor. This was still as "difficult" (i.e. inconvenient) as ever. Then again, it's just as difficult for motorists as well. The intersection sucks (MAKE NEW HAMPSHIRE A TWO WAY!)

Haha, reading this over I realize it sounds like I'm whining about the new bike-friendly infrastructure that's being installed in the city. I'm not. I am really thrilled about it. It's just that I get the feeling that much of it is put in for the sake of having it, rather than for any useful reason. Still, its great that cyclists are finally getting a fair shake when it comes to infrastructure planning.


Today I joined Capital Bikeshare. Capital Bikeshare is like Zipcar for bicycles. If you join now, you get to be a founding member. I joined because I like to be the first (i.e. BEST) at anything, rather than for any actual use I will get out of it. I have my own stable of bikes, and if I happen to be out and about and suddenly have a "need" for a bicycle, it's probably because my bicycle got me out and about in the first place, so I'll just use that. But you never know. There have been times when I've been downtown and would have liked to have the use of a bicycle when I didn't have one with me. It's rare, but it happens. Now I don't have to worry about it.

What I am worried about is actually using the program. You practically have to sign over your first-born child in case of accident, damage or theft. If you possess the bike more than 24 hours, it will be considered a theft and you'll be charged for the cost of the bicycle, which is a whopping $1,000. My own bikes aren't even worth that much, and there have been times when I've been too inebriated to bike and left it locked up overnight in front of some random bar[1] causing me to wake up the next morning in a hungover panic because my bike isn't in my apartment where it SHOULD be and OH MY GOD WHAT DID I DO LAST NIGHT??? If one of my own bikes get stolen, I'll be pissed, but I won't go broke over it. I'm quite ready to accept that should my precious two-wheeler ever be taken from me, I will be okay. The Capital Bikeshare program doesn't seem to have that same philosophy. Still, its a good cause and I'm happy to support it.

Speaking of stolen bikes, it amazes me how many people profess to love their bicycles, yet don't bother to take basic steps to avoid getting them stolen in the first place and to assist in the recovery of their bicycle. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Learn to accept the fact that your bike might get stolen. It sucks, but it happens. It's just an object. Life goes on.
  • Invest in a good lock or two. I recommend Kryptonite locks. If you have quick releases, consider carrying an extra small lock to lock your wheel to the frame if your main lock isn't big enough. Remember though, there is no such thing as a theft-proof lock. 
  • Make sure you lock your bicycle to something secure, preferably an embedded bike rack. If it can be dismantled, lifted, cut, moved or unscrewed, it's not secure! Things that are not good to lock a bike to: street signs, chain link fences, un-embedded "bike racks", trees, poles in which the bike can simply be lifted over. Also, always lock it through the FRAME, not the wheel, seat post or any other part of your bicycle that can be removed. 
  • ALWAYS lock your bike when you leave it unattended, even if its "just for a second".
  • Whenever possible, store your bicycle inside. This is not always practical, of course. If you do keep it outside, try to keep it as close to where you can keep an eye on it (i.e. your porch, rather than the fence by the street)
  • If you store it in a garage or storage room, make sure you still lock it to a secure object. Many bicycles are stolen out of garages and storage areas because thieves know that people don't bother to lock them up, they are rarely monitored, and they are hidden out of view of the public while they do their dirty thieving.
  • In DC, any building that provides car parking is also required to provide bicycle parking. Check with parking garage attendants to find out their policy and where the bike racks are.
  • Take a photo of your bicycle. Write the SERIAL NUMBER, MAKE, MODEL & SIZE on that photograph. Store it in a secure place. This is to assist in recovering your bike if it is ever stolen. You would be surprised at how many people don't do this very simple task. Your chances of ever getting your bike back are virtually ZERO if you cannot provide a serial number on it. Should the police be lucky enough to find it, they will have no way to return it to you if they can't match it up to your report.
  • Although it is no longer mandatory to register your bicycle with MPD, consider registering it with the National Bike Registry. You can even do this after it's stolen. NBR is one of the tools that law enforcement, including MPD, uses when recovering abandoned/stolen bicycles. You even get a handy wallet card with your bike's info on it in case the worst ever happens.
It should go without saying, but please don't buy bikes off the street. Chances are 99.9% good that the bike is stolen. If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is stolen. And yes, you are responsible if you are in possession of a stolen bicycle. Receiving stolen property is a misdemeanor in this town. If the seller can't provide a plausible story as to how they came to "own" the bike, leave it alone.

Well, I think that's enough ranting/preaching for now. This weekend is supposed to be beautiful weather-wise, so I'm hoping to get some good long rides in. By the way, did you know that DC in August is HOT, and that rain is WET? I didn't either until the flood of bloggers who felt the need to state the obvious over and over. Yes, it was hot last week. Yes, that was a pretty nasty storm(s). It's summer, people. ITS HOT AND RAINY. DEAL.)

I just got my camera mount for my Electra, and I've been practicing using it to take videos and pictures. It's pretty handy. I'm clumsy, so anything that reduces my need to fumble with a gadget is a good thing.

I shot a video of part of my commute [2] the other day just to see how well the camera mount worked. It's boring and bumpy, but I'm still gonna post it anyway. HA! Enjoy this lovely, shaky and badly edited movie, set to music that I randomly chose.

Until next time, be kind and ride safe!

1. Speaking of, a bicycle has been left locked to the bike rack in front of Duffy's Irish Pub (2106 Vermont St. NW) for over a week now. It's a beautiful bike. It looks to be a vintage Schwinn, with a Honolulu bicycle tag in the rear. If any of you know of someone who may have gotten a bit drunked up and forgot where they left their bike, it might be theirs! My guess is they went to the 930 club and couldn't figure out where they locked up their bike. If it's not claimed in the next couple of days, the owner of Duffy's is going to have it declared abandoned and it will end up in my living room be recovered by MPD and taken to the station for safekeeping, which basically means it will never get back to its owner. I have photos and will post them up soon.

2. TWICE this week, I managed to capture two crime scenes completely randomly on my commute. One was the homicide (shooting) in Adams Morgan, and the other was a 'suspicious' death on 15th St. NW. WEIRD. Nothing interesting happened in the 4.5 seconds it took me to ride by each them though, so I didn't bother to keep the videos.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An update coming soon, I promise!

Hello all my readers that one person that is stalking me,

I do have a real blog post coming up soon, but I've been busy riding and doing other stuff to be able to write it up properly. So allow me to give you a preview:

  • New contraflow lane and "bike boxes" being installed at 16th & New Hampshire/U St. NW
  • Cyclists and their (willful) ignorance of the law
  • Ideas for combating said ignorance
  • Some random pictures of stuff
  • "Barnes" dance (wtf?)
  • Stolen bikes and how to increase your chances of recovering your beloved two-wheeler.
In the meantime, here's a link to DDOT's flickr account regarding the new bike lane stuff.

Also, seems to go NOWHERE. Harumph.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's all part of my Bike Agenda to take over the world...

I couldn't believe my eyes today when I thought I spied a meter maid Parking Enforcement Professional on a bicycle. I quickly snapped this blurry photo:

(click to enlarge)
I know the picture isn't very clear, but I didn't want to be obvious about photographing her, so she wouldn't think I was trying to get her in trouble or anything. A few minutes later I caught up with her down the street, and confirmed that yes, they have parking enforcement officers on bikes now. I think this is terrific. It drives me crazy to see DPW vehicles double parked or stopped in bike lanes so they could issue citations to motorists. And it's always great seeing our local government come up with new (useful) ideas that involve using bicycles. YAY!

Here's a few more photos I snapped of the bike:

DPW Bicycle

(click to enlarge)

I managed to snap a few photos of the new "bike lane" on 14th St. NW north of Columbia Rd. There's still no cyclist icon painted in yet, so I'm not completely sure if this is a bona fide bike lane, or just a curb lane.

14th St. NW looking northbound from Columbia Rd.
14th St. NW northbound just past Park Rd.

They certainly look like bike lanes, and cars are double-parking in them like they are bike lanes, so I'm going to assume they are bike lanes.

In other news, apparently DC, along with Portland, NYC, and any other city that promotes bicycling use, is threatening to become a U.N. Outpost! (cue scary music...)

According to the Denver Post, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes warns of a vast U. N. conspiracy to promote some sort of Bike Agenda to....well, I'm not really sure what his point is. He is a tea party member, however.
"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?' But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty," Maes said.

Umm, what?
Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

Yes, yes it is. "They" want to lull you into a false sense of security smugness, right before they...wait, what? I have no idea either.
(via DCist)

Today was hot and muggy. I don't know why people act surprised at the weather. It's August. In DC. C'mon people! It's supposed to be hot and muggy and sticky and ewwww. I went through four bottles of water today. Speaking of, I have a few brilliant ideas for local businesses:

  • Offer free water/iced-tea refills to cyclists who bring in their bottles. Thank goodness I'm familiar with some local establishments because they happily refilled my bottle today. They were a lifesaver! With so much focus on being eco-friendly and sourcing ingredients locally, why not help your cycling patrons out? You can even sell them a branded bike bottle to use for the refills. I cannot stand buying plastic water bottles that get thrown out after one use. C'mon DC! If we can cut-down/eliminate the use of plastic bags, we can do the same for single-use water bottles. (I'm not saying punish/tax users of single-use bottles, but encourage the use of reusable bottles through incentive.)
  • Bike valets! I know WABA already uses a bike valet service for many of their events (I've used it twice for the past two Bike DC events), but I would love to see this practice increase. Of course, it would require space to store the bikes. Still, in my perfect world, valet's would park/guard my bike for me while I hop off to enjoy my ridiculously over-priced dinner at one of DC's finer dining establishments. (Also,  Matt Damon would be my date), while motorists were left to endlessly circle the block for a parking spot growing ever more hungry and inconvenienced.
  • Dedicated bicycle parking. If you have a parking garage, why not set some space aside for bicycles? (Wait, you mean you didn't know you actually are required to?) And I mean real bike parking. Not a cheap-o rack that you hide away so it is difficult (and dangerous) to access, and is actually an inconvenience rather than a bona fide effort to accommodate cyclists (Yes, Council Member Graham, I am looking at you and the pathetic attempt at bike parking for DC USA Mall.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some brains to wash. I've always wanted to be part of some vast right-wing bicycle conspiracy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nifty PSA's from WABA

WABA has produced some helpful Public Service Announcements for motorists. Do you think this would help?

This drives me crazy, and is why I always caution cyclists never to ride alongside a vehicle when approaching an intersection, even if you are 100% positive that the vehicle is going straight. People change their minds and most motorists don't use turn signals anymore. If you can't see what the vehicle is about to do, you are in a bad position.

I would really like WABA to make a short PSA about right turns on red when there is a cyclist in the lane. Namely, YOU CAN'T. The other night I was coming home, and I was stopped in the bike lane at a red light before the stop line (in other words, where I am SUPPOSED to be). The vehicle behind me wanted to make a right turn and kept honking and honking at me to move (even going so far as to shout "move your ass out of the way or I'll run you over"). Threats to do bodily harm aside, that vehicle had no right to force me out of the way to make a right turn on red. Just as if there was motor vehicle ahead of you in the lane, you cannot go around that vehicle to make a right turn. Not only is it asinine, it's illegal and dangerous. So don't do it to a cyclist.

(And yes, I moved. He DID threaten my life, and I took it seriously. Given that it was 2am on a deserted road on a Saturday night (i.e. he was probably drunk), I wasn't going to take the chance. Sometimes you need to pick your battles).

The act below was the cause of my last accident and ended up with me losing 3 days of sick leave due to injury (damn, I wish I had Afflec at the time) to my arm. I was really lucky that nothing was broken, especially my head.

I especially like the dopey expression on the cyclist's face after being almost injured in both of these videos.

So what do you think? Will anyone learn anything from these videos?

Where's my sweater?

Whereas last week's temperature may have been "melt your face off", today's was "brrr. hot chocolate time!". What the eff? Actually it was nice to be outside without the oppressive heat. I hope this continues for the next few days.

No time for a coherent post today (I got some riding to do!), so I leave you with this photo dump instead.

Found this bike that was apparently abandoned in the street. Poor bike.


Chillin' in the garage because of the rain.
P.O.R.C, a new food truck venture.
It's still daylight, and people are lining up for U Street Music Hall.
I have no idea what the punch line is.
Um, no thanks.
DC is one of the few places that I know of where residents actually know what their "state" flag is (yes, I understand the irony of a "state" flag for DC)

mmm, BBQ.

The contraflow bike lane on 15th St. NW

Blurry photo of "bike salmon" cycling the wrong way in the contraflow lane.
Masonic Building

ahhhh, scary.......
Oh, it's a motorcycle.