EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › Cycling › Monumental bike commute
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Monumental bike commute

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Most of my bike commute to/from work is pretty mundane, but the first few miles from downtown Washington DC towards home in the suburbs includes quite a few well known landmarks.

Area around the office:

Copy of 30jun2011picnicbike 006.jpg

 

Home of Leatherneck Number One is nearby:

Copy of 30jun2011picnicbike 003.jpg

 

Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium is also in the neighborhood:

Copy of BIKING 2011 002.jpg

 

Sometimes a bike is as fast as a car during rush hour around the Capitol:

BIKING 2011 003.jpg

 

The Jefferson Memorial is one of my favorites:

BIKING 2011 006.jpg

 

The Pentagon is along the Virginia side of the Potomac River:

BIKING 2011 011.jpg

 

Fine feathered friend on the Potomac riverbank with Washington Monument in background:

 

BIKING 2011 015.jpg

 

The white building is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  The buildings behind to the left are part of the notorious Watergate complex.  Local's tip:  the Kennedy Center has free concerts every day of the year at 6pm by eclectic, various artists, sometimes well known, but always good quality and it's a beautiful building to freely stroll around.

BIKING 2011 016.jpg

 

Three in one,  R-L:  Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Dome:

BIKING 2011 017.jpg

 

Georgetown University looms over one of the prettiest roads in town, the George Washington Parkway:

BIKING 2011 019.jpg

 

What's the word for a biking gaper?

Copy of 30jun2011picnicbike 028.jpg

 

 

post #2 of 14

Very nice.  I'm headed to your neck of the woods tomorrow.  Hopefully, it will not be too hot!

 

Mike

post #3 of 14

Cool commute. Way to stay in shape for ski season. I will be coming home in October this year and bringing the 11month old. LMK if you get out to UT again any time soon in summer or winter time. 

post #4 of 14
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

 

What's the word for a biking gaper?

 

 

 



"Fred"

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

10-Fred-Flintstone-on-Bike.png

BTW, temps 7/18-20 low to mid 90s, 7/21-23 100-103 degrees!

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post


Most of my bike commute to/from work is pretty mundane, but the first few miles from downtown Washington DC towards home in the suburbs includes quite a few well known landmarks.



Area around the office:



Copy of 30jun2011picnicbike 006.jpg



 



Sadly it's been a tough day at the office for me today at the Washington Navy Yard. I work near where this morning's deadly shootings took place. Hopefully, they get a handle on the situation soon.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Most of my bike commute to/from work is pretty mundane, but the first few miles from downtown Washington DC towards home in the suburbs includes quite a few well known landmarks.

Area around the office:

Copy of 30jun2011picnicbike 006.jpg

 

Sadly it's been a tough day at the office for me today at the Washington Navy Yard. I work near where this morning's deadly shootings took place. Hopefully, they get a handle on the situation soon.

Time to clean out my car.... For more random searches


Sent from my iPhone. There may be horrible grammar and misspelling involved
post #8 of 14

Nice pics, James!

 

I, too, commute in DC, though my commute runs past fewer monuments. Back in 2012, as I was recovering from my adductor injury, I penned a piece for the "Tales From The Sharrows" blog, a DC cycling-centric blog, describing my commute at the time. An excerpt:

 

Quote:
My daily commute isn't much to speak of: Dupont to Georgetown/Burleith, approximately two miles of mildly rolling pavement. It's something that, for many years, I took for granted.

However, since injuring myself over President's Day weekend, the mere act of commuting on my bike has gained a new level of importance in my life. For 9 weeks, I literally couldn't ride - no medical clearance to do so, and a very high risk if I did try and ride. For a rider like me, who uses bike time as a necessary workday transition time/stress reducer/demon excision conduit, it was as if I was confined to a torture chamber, playing endless reruns of "Barney the Dinosaur."

I had a ton of time to obsess over my bikes. I completely disassembled one of them, swapping out components and giving the whole mess a thorough cleaning and touching up the inevitable paint chips that come from urban riding. It's not that this bike was in dire need of a new chain, new (to it) shifters and derailleur, and new cables, but I had a lot of time to fill, and this was as close an interaction as I could get with my bike without actually riding it.

Once I was cleared to commute again, I found that my reduced riding speed (fitness fades when injury recovery involves a lot of rest) meant that I noticed more as I rode. Let me take you on a tour:

I pass 109 houses and 7 apartment buildings on this one-way commute, as well as two cemeteries, a library, two schools and two parks. Each house has a story, and even after riding this commute for the past 9 years, taking an injury-induced break has rekindled my interest in their stories and occupants.

Starting out, I pass FDR's old house on R Street. It's currently a residence for an ambassador, so I often see the caretakers watering their attempt at a garden in their tiny front lawn. The caretakers always smile and wave as I pass.

I often see a few commuting cyclists going the wrong way down the westbound R Street bicycle lane. Can't say I condone their behavior (not enough room for two-way traffic, even on the best of days, and there's a parallel, eastbound lane on Q Street), though I can understand why they don't like riding through Sheridan Circle....

...which is my next destination. It's often a traffic snarl in the mornings, but I've noticed that drivers are increasingly accustomed to and aware of the presence of cyclists on this stretch of road. "Just make eye contact," I say to myself, "and be sure to signal where you're going." It tends to work almost every time, getting me a berth in the commuter shuffle. Only the occasional "type-A-must-text-or-call-now" driver breaks that momentum, but they are increasingly rare, much to my appreciation.

Popping out of the circle, I cross the "Bison Bridge" on Q Street into Georgetown. There's often a queue of riders for the D2 and D6 buses, folks nervously waiting for their chariot to arrive. There's a young woman walking her poodle, chatting on her cell phone to what I can only presume is a relative (somewhat loud and argumentative in the way only a parent-child argument can unfold). There's the happiest walker in the world, who is always smiling an walking a jaunty step in time with his music (which plays on a little pocket radio).

Climbing the hill past Dumbarton House and Oak Hill Cemetery (this is a lot harder than it was back in February, lemme tell 'ya), I almost always see fellow bike commuters: a middle-aged man on a mountain bike who is always wearing black workout clothes and a metallic red skateboard helmet; and a middle-aged woman who is *always* in the drops on her vintage road bike, pushing a fairly hard gear but looking unflappable. We exchange our simple, knowing glances.

At this point in my commute, passing the cemeteries, I tend to slow down and look at the gravestones. Many are quite old, and some are more well-tended than others. It makes me wonder about their stories: who were they, what did they do in their time, and do their relatives and descendants still visit? If anything, these final resting places have a beautiful view over Rock Creek Park.

Closing in on Dumbarton Oaks, there are more dog walkers and joggers. The spring flowers are starting to lose their petals, and the residents of the houses with these flowers are on a slow march to swap them out for new blooming things. One of the employees of the Oaks' library rides a similar route to mine, and I see her on her festively decorated bike. She says hello and asks how my recovery is going (yes, there is a camaraderie amongst the commuters - we do, in fact, watch out for each other, which is reassuring).

This stretch of R Street is a narrow stretch of road and gets a lot of car traffic in both directions. Some drivers pass exceedingly close, but most are courteous and give a decent berth. I think this can be attributed to the presence of CaBi [ed: Capital Bikeshare, our very successful public bike sharing system], more than anything else, as a lot of CaBi riders use this road connecting from Wisconsin Avenue to Dupont and other points east. Before CaBi, I'd usually have a daily poor interaction with a driver or two; since CaBi's arrival, that number has dropped to one per week, if that often. So.... go, CaBi (memo to self: must renew my membership)!

I cross Wisconsin Avenue, past the gorgeously renovated Georgetown Public Library and toward the double-punch of the Duke Ellington School for the Arts and the Washington International School. Students are making their way to campus, crossing the street in small groups, often oblivious to traffic. Thus, I take extra care. The DCPD officers who work as crossing guards on 36th Street are always genial and wave me through my left-right turn onto Reservoir Road, shuffling me into the mix with the parents and children making their way to school.

I then realize why I'm glad that Reservoir Road is only a short stretch of my ride: the traffic is thick, the drivers a bit less amused with having to share the full lane with a cyclist. I signal my intentions, the drivers usually comply, and I make my way into my work's driveway.

My evening commute is much the same, albeit with a slightly different routing after crossing the bridge back into the Dupont area. Never-ending utility work has replaced once-smooth pavement with patchy, rough surfaces and the occasional metal plate. I often find myself shuffling into a traffic line containing at least one Metrobus, one GUTS bus, and two taxis. I take the lane and nobody seems to mind.

Then there's the 22nd Street-Florida Avenue conundrum. This used to be a fairly easy stretch to ride: slow, but it flowed. And then somebody decided to install an additional traffic light at Phelps Place, mere feet from another light at 21st Street, that being a few more feet from the lights at Connecticut Avenue. These lights could be synchronized to enhance traffic flow (that was my original hope when they were installed a few years ago), but the result has been thick and predictable gridlock during prime commuting hours. I've seen ambulances stuck in this traffic many a time, so thick is the clot of cars and trucks.

And us cyclists? We have to fend for ourselves. There often isn't enough space to ride anywhere, be it between cars or along the curb. Some riders resort to the sidewalk - not an ideal solution, but one that's more-or-less workable as long as the cyclists yield to pedestrians, who often sympathize with their two-wheeled comrades. This situation can - and should - be improved. Perhaps removing one of the traffic lights is in order?

So that's my tale from the sharrows. It's a four mile ride, round trip, that is a little 21-minute slice out of my day, and I cherish it quite a bit - even more so after the forced hiatus.

 

I do ride in much of the same area, James, when I'm headed to and from Nationals games...

 

 

 

....or to and from the Friday night music at The Yards Park (a lovely space for summer picnicking).

 

 

On the way back from Nationals Park or The Yards, I'll often ride by the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument:

 

 

 

AppleMark

 

On my way to the games/picnics, I'll sometimes go out of my way on the Mount Vernon trail, which has its own monuments...

 

AppleMark

 

....and, in Gravelly Point, one of the best planespotting venues on the planet:

 

AppleMark

 

Sometimes, though, it's nice to enjoy the setting sun by a fountain, such as here along the Georgetown waterfront:

 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Love those night pics Rudy. You sir are a cyclist, I am a Fred:-) This is my eighth summer as the slowest biker in town. You sound like an expert in mixing with traffic on regular streets. I do some of that near M Street SW, but mostly ride the Mt. Vernon, Custis and W&OD trails for my commute. These multi-use paths can be tight and turny in places and probably better suited for slow movers like me. Each year the number of bike commuters continues to rise around Washington DC and I'm amazed there aren't more accidents, but I guess there is safety in numbers. BTW, I enjoyed a past report you wrote on a massive ONE DAY ride on the GAP and C&O trails. My neighbor has done the entire trip from DC to Pittsburgh on several occasions, but over the better part of a week.
post #10 of 14
It's been many years since I lived in the Washington DC area. That whole region is so filled with awesome cycling, which I miss, along with miserable summers (which I very much don't miss).

The Potomac Pedalers (the DC-area cycling club) has (or at least had?) a January 1st ride -- 1 to 33 laps of a 3.5 mile loop past the famous memorials (Jefferson, Lincoln, etc.) on Hains Point. (I think that's what it's called?) Rest stops every 3.5 miles for your convenience. icon14.gif

I did one lap one year; that was the only time I bothered to ride within the city limits. It's great to see the pictures from within the city limits.

Thanks for the memories!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

So it's been five years since my original post in this thread of a batch of bike commute photos.  I have retired, but picked up a part time job that is now located not far from the old one.  The job motivates me to get on the bike when weather is nice or is it the bike that motivates me to go to the job??

 

I now work on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling as a contractor supporting the USAF, JBAB is on the left side of this photo.  This view is looking southwest down the Anacostia River where it meets the Potomac River in Wash DC.  The old USCG location at Buzzards Point it to right:

 

 

This is a view (partially obscured) of the new US Coast Guard Headquarters also in Anacostia on the site of the former St. Elizabeth's Mental Hospital.  Believe it's been open since late 2013 and eventually the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security will also be on this site.  They say the entire project represents the largest construction project in the DC area since the Pentagon was built in 1943!  The building is terraced on a hillside overlooking the city and features a huge amount of "green" roof with 400k sq ft of plants.

 

 

View of Nationals Baseball Stadium from Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge.  The heart of the city and US Capitol lies behind the stadium.  This part of southwest Washington is BOOMING.  And I'm not even talking about the new USCG/DHS campus.  I counted at least eight large construction cranes around the stadium and another eight about a mile away along the Potomac River waterfront.

 

 

They are building a huge multi-use development along the SW waterfront in DC called The Wharf with residential, office, and retail space, and Yacht Club. 

 

 

An old school fish market has been here for longer than I have been alive.  It is really squeezed in by the construction and traffic is a mess.  Dangerous area for bikers!

 

Thomas Jefferson patiently waits nearby for construction to be completed.

 

We've had a ton of rain this spring and far below normal temps.  The Potomac is running high.

Lincoln Memorial to right.

This out in the burbs closer to my home in Northern VA.  When I'm not biking to work I often use the subway.  My bike commute takes me about 80 mins one way, ~14 miles.  I putter around on an old slow hybrid and usually only bike one direction per day and use mass transit for the other.  Believe it or not, mass transit is slower because I have to make several bus/train connections to get to my destination.  Driving myself in a single occupancy car, which I am not adverse to doing from time to time, takes 35 mins.  Sounds good, but because alternatives aren't great it's really a sad state of affairs and why traffic is worsening in DC metro area.

 

 

Gee, I guess I have several of these bike commute photo threads kicking around, here's another one from 2014, where I rode over near the White House:  http://www.epicski.com/t/128255/iconic-wash-dc-evening-bike-commute-pictures

post #12 of 14

Great pics as always!

 

Reminded me of the weekend trip I took several years ago with my daughter.  We drove up with our bikes in order to enjoy the cherry trees.

 

 

 

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
You caught nice blooms on that visit! I was down there on Easter Weekend 2016 for peak blooms, Mar 26 to be exact. They blossomed a little early. Went on successful ski trip to Utah a few days later seeing you. Is that your red minivan in first photo? I have one very similar, even similar sticker placements on back door:-)
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

You caught nice blooms on that visit! I was down there on Easter Weekend 2016 for peak blooms, Mar 26 to be exact. They blossomed a little early. Went on successful ski trip to Utah a few days later seeing you. Is that your red minivan in first photo? I have one very similar, even similar sticker placements on back door:-)


We had a very good time.  Catching the cherry trees in full bloom is like catching a powder storm.  Either have to be really lucky or have a flexible schedule.  I'd seen them before but usually a little early or a little late.

 

Yep, that's the minivan I drive to Massanutten and Lake Placid.  Took an hour to dig it out after Storm Jonas, Jan. 22-23, 2016.  One of the rare times that I've stayed in a unit that is a 5-min walk from the ski lodge.  But I knew that driving after the storm got going was not going to a good idea.

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cycling
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › Cycling › Monumental bike commute