Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sunset riding.

I don't normally post much about my daily commutes because they are boring. My commute to and from work is only about a mile & a half. Nothing much happens. A commute post would pretty much read like this:

"I rode straight for a little while, then I stopped at a light & then I made a left & then a right and stopped for a few more lights and then I was at work. Oh, and there's always that guy that insists on riding the wrong way on Harvard. I don't know why he does that. It's irritating. The end."

If you like reading about interesting commutes, you should check out Tales from The Sharrows. Every commute sounds like an epic ride :-)

I decided to shake things up tonight and go out for a sunset ride. I really wish I had remembered to bring my camera with me, it was beautiful out. The weather was perfect. It was so nice to walk outside and not feel like I walked into someone's armpit.

I began my ride by using the 15th St. cycle-track. I can never decide what's the best way to reach it. I really wish DDOT would hurry up and finish the extension up to Euclid. I either have to ride down 16th St. (which is suicidal at times, and stressful at others) and then go the wrong way down V St. OR I ride the wrong way down 15th St. (which makes me feel like a dick) and chance the horrendous crossing at 15th/W/New Hampshire. Either way is a poor choice.

The cycletrack was full of cyclists tonight. It's always interesting to note the different kinds of cyclists & bikes. I wish the track was in better condition though. There is stippling of the pavement about every 10 feet in the southbound direction, which makes for a bumpy & uncomfortable ride. I also noticed there are no turn arrows at K St. & I St. This is a problem because right-turning vehicles are not always looking for cyclists coming up on their right.

Don't even get me started on the Kamikaze pedestrians (eyes locked onto their phones, earbuds in ears, oblivious to everything around them). Speaking of pedestrians, I really wish they wouldn't jump like I had tasered them when I ding my bell. I try to do it far enough behind that it shouldn't be a startling sound. And yet this one woman jumped 10 feet in the air when I dinged. I promise I wasn't trying to run you over lady, I was letting you know where I was!

I wonder if the vehicle barricade at the entrance to Lafayette square is broken. There has been yellow tape draped across the barricades for months now. I sometimes wonder if its a passive aggressive move by the USSS to force cyclists to use the sidewalk rather than the road to get to Penn Ave (and the other side of the cycletrack).....

I decided to use the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, because I love looking at the U.S. Capitol at the end. One major design flaw with these lanes: the pedestrian islands. Twice, I had to warn pedestrians that I was coming through because they were standing directly in my path, and both times I was forced into vehicular traffic because they didn't move. They weren't wrong either. They were right where they are supposed to be. Problem is, so was I. Two objects cannot occupy the same space, no matter how hard DDOT tries. There has to be some sort of solution to this. Maybe signage on the islands warning pedestrians to watch for oncoming cyclists? I dunno. I feel like a dick plowing through them (even with my dinging)....but that's where the bike lane goes, and I had the right of way. Oh well.

I then turned onto the National Mall, and rode along it towards the Washington Monument. I was hoping the Carousel was still open, but it had shut down for the evening. It's my favorite part of the Mall. There were lots of softball teams playing on the Mall, which I'm always leery of. There's simply not enough room. I'm afraid of being pelted in the head by an errant softball. Aren't there softball fields they can play in? It's just my own irrational fear though.

I rode past the Washington Monument and decided to head over to Haines Point for a lap around the park. I love riding around there and watching the different boats on the river. I saw several sailboats and a few yachts. Plenty of people out fishing too. I wonder if you need a permit to fish there? I don't know. I would love to have a picnic there sometime. Also, ducks. Lots of ducks. I love them. I wanted to take one home and let him live in my bathtub. The Boy wouldn't approve of that, though.

After Haines Point, I wanted to ride over the 14th St. bridge to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. I really wish I had my camera. I love lakes & rivers. I grew up on the shores of one of the Great Lakes (Ontario), and along a river. I miss it.

I would have ridden further, but it was getting dark and I was starving. I took 15th street back home, and it was pretty uneventful.

And that's my bike adventure for today :-)


  1. There *WAS* a solution to the pedestrian island problem along Pennsylvania Ave. AAA complained loudly because it "took away vehicle lanes", and DDOT buckled under the pressure.

  2. I didn't realize that the 15th St cycle track on the east side of Meridian Hill was not two way and rode it the wrong way the other week. Ooops.

    I do ride Penn Ave a lot and find that the pedestrians that get trapped in the middle are the ones that insist on crossing even when they are not supposed to. Motorist get really irate with cyclists in this city, but there is a pervasive culture of willful disregard for proper use of crosswalks among pedestrians that makes me quite ranty. I notice it while walking, or when on my bike or motorcycle or in the car and it enrages me all the time. If you do not have the walk person, you are not supposed to go... it is fairly simple. The flashing "don't walk" means finish crossing not "dart out as fast as you can and try to make it across." And to the pedestrians that insist on using the traffic signal as their indicator when it doesn't match the crosswalk one-- there is a reason for that!! I could go on, but I think I have ranted enough already :-)

  3. Finally, someone else has noticed and mentioned the yellow caution tape across the barricades at Lafayette. I absolutely think it's a passive aggressive "solution" to keep cyclists from coming through on the street. The thing is, aren't they forcing cyclists to make an illegal move by hopping the curb and riding on the sidewalk? Any idea who should be contacted to inquire about this yellow tape?

  4. Loved your summary of your regular commute, and I love Hains Point, too! Oh, and I am also so glad you are getting so much support for the upcoming hearing. Go Girl on a Bike!